find a good church?
study of Proverbs 31 by Erik Wold
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.
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.
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).
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.
Greek the word church (ecclesia) means the chosen. It is a feminine
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.
other words, the church (ecclesia) is mentioned as a lady. It is
possible that John is actually addressing a church and not a certain
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
(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.
trusts his church. He is relying on his children to preach the Gospel of
perfect church is increasing despite problems and tribulations (The Acts
church shall please the Lord and not be pleasers of men (Eph. 6:6).
church is faithful until death (Rev. 2:10).
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.
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.
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
The church is like the merchant ships, The church brings the food of the
church from afar.
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
The church considers a field and buys it; From the profits of the
church, the church plants a vineyard.
“My ship is loaded with……”
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.
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.
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.
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
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
The church girds the church with strength, And strengthens the arms of
The church perceives that the merchandise of the church is good, And the
lamp of the church does not go out by night.
The church stretches out the hands of the church to the distaff, And the
hand of the church holds the spindle.
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,
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.
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.
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.
The church is not afraid of snow for the household of the church, For
all the household of the church is clothed with scarlet.
The church makes tapestry for the church; The church clothing is fine
linen and purple.
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
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
The husband of the church is known in the gates, When he sits among the
elders of the land.
The church makes linen garments and sells them, And supplies sashes for
Strength and honor are the clothing of the church; The church shall
rejoice in time to come.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
The church opens her mouth with wisdom, And on the tongue of the church
is the law of kindness.
The church watches over the ways of the household of the church, And
does not eat the bread of idleness.
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.
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
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.
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
The children of the church rise up and call the church blessed; The
husband of the church also, and he praises the church:
"Many daughters have done well, But you excel them all."
Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, But a church who fears the
LORD, that church shall be praised.
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.
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.
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.
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