A good church





Who can find a good church?

-a study of Proverbs 31 by Erik Wold


In this study we shall look at the wife in Proverbs 31:10-31. We shall see that she is a type of the church. The woman throughout the Old Testament is a type of the church of Israel. In the New Testament the relationship between husband and wife is described as the relationship between Christ and the church. Eph. 5:31-33.  In the text below the words her and she are exchanged with the word church. This will intensify the text so that we may see the verses in light of the church in the New Testament. “The church of noble character”(NIV translation) is therefore a good example to us in this chapter.

(10)  Who can find a virtuous church? For the worth of the church is far above rubies.

The quality of the local church may vary. In the New Testament we find churches which are very different. In the church of Corinth there was everything from incest to disorder, and in the midst of the conflicts the people brought each other to trial. They also seem to be introverted and little generous. Paul preached the Gospel without compensation, while the brethren in a Macedonian church gave him support and help. While the letters to the church in Corinth are full of warnings and reprimand, the letter to the Philippians is of a different nature. The church in Philippi seems to be almost perfect.  At any rate, Paul writes that the friends (brethren) in Philippi stood by him at all times and always supported him. What is your church like? Are you taking part in turning your church into the likes of the church in Corinth full of gossip and conflicts, or is your church like the church in Philippi; engaged in missionary work and strong in the Lord.

Paul came often across churches on his travels. Some were simple; without a building or possessions (The Acts 16:13). Others hadn’t heard the full Gospel (The Acts 19:2), and some churches were located in remote places (The Acts 28:13-14). On the other hand, the headquarters in Antioch was well equipped with both prophets and teachers. (The Acts 13:1).


The parable about the pearl in St. Matthew 13:45-46 tells of a man seeking good pearls. He found a costly pearl and bought it. Most Bible interpreters believe that this parable is about Jesus and the church. The church is worth more than pearls.


In Greek the word church (ecclesia) means the chosen.  It is a feminine word.

In Second John he writes to a lady who is elected.  “The Elder, To the elect lady and her children, whom I love in truth,”  2.John 1:1.

In other words, the church (ecclesia) is mentioned as a lady. It is possible that John is actually addressing a church and not a certain lady.


Jesus was laid in a crib; he preached at a pulpit; he was buried in a grave; all which were borrowed. He didn’t possess any earthly goods. Yet he bought the church with his own blood (First Peter 1:18-19).  Therefore, the church belongs to Jesus.


(11)  The heart of the husband of the church safely trusts the church; So he will have no lack of gain.

(12)  The church does him good and not evil All the days of the life of the church.

(13)  The church seeks wool and flax, And willingly works with the hands of the church.

God trusts his church. He is relying on his children to preach the Gospel of Jesus.

The perfect church is increasing despite problems and tribulations (The Acts 6:7).

The church shall please the Lord and not be pleasers of men (Eph. 6:6).

The church is faithful until death (Rev. 2:10).

She is active. She selects/seek 31:13, she brings 31:14, she gets up 31:15, she gives/provides 31:15, she considers 31:16, she buys 31:16, she make profit 31:16 she plants 31:16,she stretches out 31:19,she opens 31:20, she extends 31:20, she reaches out 31:20, she supplies 31:24.

Here the church is a PRODUCER. Later she becomes an IMPORTER 31:14, a VISIONARY 3:16 and an EXPORTER 31:24. She makes sure that there are enough raw materials to be creative. She works with the raw materials and becomes a producer. The church must be able to produce. What I mean is that the church must bring up servants, evangelists and other capacities that are needed in the church.  And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues.” 1Cor 12:8. These services and gifts must develop in the church.

Paul greets and commends the workers of the church. Rom. 16.  The prophet Jeremiah was told by the Lord to go to the potter’s house to hear the word of God. Jer.18:1-6. He didn’t go to the universities or the faculties but to the potter who was working. Here Jeremiah received the message from the Lord.

Working willingly. The delight is in the law of the Lord. Psalm 1:2.


(14)  The church is like the merchant ships, The church brings the food of the church from afar.

(15)  The church also rises while it is yet night, And provides food for the household of the church, And a portion for the maidservants of the church.

(16)  The church considers a field and buys it; From the profits of the church, the church plants a vineyard.

“My ship is loaded with……” is a well known game for children in Norway. We played with different words to find new things that we had in “our ship”. This ship is loaded with blessings. The church is equipped with all that is needed in life. Paul often writes of what should be present in the church. Read 1.Cor. chapter 12 and 13.

The church IMPORTS her goods from far off places. It is important that the bread, the bread of life, comes from the heavenly and that the church doesn’t rely on her own performance.  Jesus said:  “I am the bread of life”. John 6:48-50. “I am the bread which comes down from heaven”.  The church is always in danger of becoming too occupied with things of the world so she forgets to receive its power and provisions from heaven. But the “church of noble character” gets its bread from afar.

She is efficient and the church shows sign of order and system. Everything is prepared by the elders and the work can start early in the morning. This has great priority and everybody knows what to do.  Those who belong to the church get their nourishment there. She gives them spiritual food so they may become holy and able to work for the Lord. It is important that the members of the church can function and make use of their talents, visions and gifts. Read Paul’s warnings to the elders in 1.Timothy and in his letter to Titus.

She works not only for the present, but she has plans, visions and dreams for the future. She wants to move on. She thinks ahead and conquers new areas in the spiritual world.  She doesn’t have empty dreams or shallow visions which many are led by these days. What she thinks about she gets. The results will be visible after she first has received them spiritually.

The earnings of the church are not used in vain. She didn’t waste her money, but invested it in a vineyard. This is what the church today also should do. The church shall not invest money in luxury or collect money to their own organisation, but instead invest in something that will grow and bear fruits. The church shall win souls and not earthly prosperity. Several of the parables of Jesus were about the vineyard. Matt 21:28-30 Luk 13:6-9 Joh 15:1-8


(17)  The church girds the church with strength, And strengthens the arms of the church.

(18)  The church perceives that the merchandise of the church is good, And the lamp of the church does not go out by night.

(19)  The church stretches out the hands of the church to the distaff, And the hand of the church holds the spindle.

(20)  The church extends the hand of the church to the poor, Yes, the church reaches out the hands of the church to the needy.

Girds with strength, we find nearly the same words in Eph 6:14 and 1Pet 1:13. Truth and strength is what holds our clothes up.

Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, Heb 12:12. Our hands shall be lifted against heaven. Read how the hands of Moses were hanging down during the fight against Amalek. Ex 17:8-13.

The church perceives or feels the situation of the church. Like a businessman who feels the state of the marked, the perfect church feels in her spirit that everything is well. The Lord blesses the work of the church and that’s why everything works out to be good for the church.

In Act 20:7-11 Paul preached in a hall with many lamps. He didn’t stop preaching at midnight but continued to exhort brothers and sisters until the sunrise. High activity is a sign of good health in the church. I can remember a time of revival in my own church. When we came to church to work there early in the morning we met other brothers and sisters on their way home after a night in the church. Recently we also visited a church in south of India with high activity. They were having a prayer meeting 24h a day. The church was always open.

Mission is one of the pillars of the perfect church. She does not forget the poor and needy. The first church in the New Testament is a prototype for us. They shared everything and gave out to the needy people. And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all, as every man had need. Acts 2:44-45. The earlier mentioned Macedonian church is also a prototype for us regarding mission and support for poor people. They gave beyond their ability in the support for Paul and the poor churches in the area. Fil 4:15-16 2Cor 8:1-5.


(21)  The church is not afraid of snow for the household of the church, For all the household of the church is clothed with scarlet.

(22)  The church makes tapestry for the church; The church clothing is fine linen and purple.

She doesn’t fear for temptations, coldness or difficulties. The church has a protection that avoids the cold weather to enter. Many churches today live in fear. Some places the church fear persecutions and ungodly laws from the government. In other places it might be economic problems or agitations in the congregation. But the perfect church in this chapter knows that she is by the scarlet, so she doesn’t need to fear for the strong winter.

Some translations say that she is clothed with scarlet wool. The blood covers her house. The blood of Jesus protects against all dangers. Remark that its nothing that keep you warm as cloth of wool. This wool is produced by herself verse 13 and nothing of this is bought from outside. Remember that if you want wool you need a sheep or a lamb. For us the blood of the Lamb of God protects us and gives us victory in our daily life.


(23)  The husband of the church is known in the gates, When he sits among the elders of the land.

(24)  The church makes linen garments and sells them, And supplies sashes for the merchants.

(25)  Strength and honor are the clothing of the church; The church shall rejoice in time to come.

We have seen that the church is a PRODUCER and an IMPORTER. Here we see that the church is also an EXPORTER. She sells the linen and deliver it to the merchants. This means that see sends goods out. The good church sends out evangelists, apostles, prophets and missionaries. The word apostle means a person who is sent out.

She sells belts that she has made. In Eph 6:14 Paul talk about the belt of truth. In Act 21:10-11 we find some interesting verses: And as we stayed many days, a certain prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. When he had come to us, he took Paul's belt, bound his own hands and feet, and said, "Thus says the Holy Spirit, 'So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man who owns this belt, and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles”. The prophetic belt comes from the church.

Strength and honour are to nice words. With these two words the church are dressed up. She has then power not only in good times, but also in bad times.

Many churches today fears the future. Often the preacher speech about how difficult the times is and how difficult the future will be. But the good and perfect church only laughs at the future. When Jesus talked about the end time he said: Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near."  Luk 21:28. She has stability, power and strength. She looks at the bright future, even if she doesn’t know the future. Read also about how he laugh when the gentiles rise against his anointed. Psalm 2:1-8.


(26)  The church opens her mouth with wisdom, And on the tongue of the church is the law of kindness.

(27)  The church watches over the ways of the household of the church, And does not eat the bread of idleness.

The church speaks wisdom. However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. 1Cor 2:6. You can read more about how the wisdom speaks in Proverbs chapter 8.

Its easy for a church to speak in jealousy. But here we see that kindness is on her tongue. Rom 15:30 2Cor 13:11. We can read through the whole Acts of the Apostles that Paul and the other apostles beseech the brothers and sisters. Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears. Act 20:31. The tongue is a dangerous weapon. James warns us in this matter. James 3:1-12.

The leaders of the church evaluate continuously the situation and the status of the church. The church is ready to do actions on necessary places.  It is not the situation in all the churches in the neighbourhood that she watches, but she watches over the ways of the household of the church. Before you can judge others you need to have order in your own house. Matt 7:1-5.

Does not eat the bread of idleness. This is a good example for us. Many churches are full of looseness and idleness. But God doesn’t want his church to look like a man going on anaesthetic drugs. God want us to be zealous and eager in the way we serve the Lord. not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord Rom 12:11.


(28)  The children of the church rise up and call the church blessed; The husband of the church also, and he praises the church:

(29)  "Many daughters have done well, But you excel them all."

(30)  Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, But a church who fears the LORD, that church shall be praised.

(31)  Give the church of the fruit of the hands of the church, And let the own works of the church praise the church in the gates.

The souls who are born in the church and God himself in heaven praises the church. This must be the nicest testimony a church can receive.

In the same way as the woman’s glamour will disappear as the years passes, the church building will also be marked by the ravages of time. Nice halls with carpets, marble floors and paintings on the walls will loose its value over time, but the spiritual fruits from the church will last forever. And those who turn many to righteousness Like the stars forever and ever. Dan 12:3.

The church is respected in the neighbourhood an in the city where she belongs. Not because of the words that she speak, but because of all the deeds. We read about the first church in Acts Yet none of the rest dared join them, but the people esteemed them highly. Acts 5:13

These 22 last verses in the Proverbs teach us how the church shall be In our small “rewriting” of the scripture we find the word church more than 40 times. We can find the truth that can help us in our daily life with God. We have found many good sides of the wife/church in these verses, but I’m sure that if you search you might even find more good things in these verses.






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