The Virtuous Woman: Living With Purpose

Written by  //  August 6, 2014  //  FAITH  //

By Rev. Shirley Daniels

Many women in modern society strive to be “Every Woman”. Most times we find ourselves walking in many roles such as leadership, team player, wife and mom – in that order. But my question is, “Is that the order designed by God?”  I DARE to say that a single woman can walk in leadership as her first priority. But for those of us who are married, our priorities rank differently with our leadership skills intertwined. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with women in leadership roles. But in my spiritual opinion, the best leadership role for a married woman is the role of “Woman of the House”.  One way to restore our families and values is for women to return to flowing in the spirit of “Woman of the House”, not necessarily having to operate as the “Head of Household”.  Women are powerful! We play the spectacular role of molding and shaping society. It is in the holy writ, Proverbs 31, where we find a wonderful view of what makes a woman so powerful. Although, this scripture text speaks directly about married women, I believe it can apply to all women, whether single or married.

Proverbs 31:10-31

In Proverbs 31:10-31, the writer describes the defining assets of the woman. We must understand that virtuous in the context of this scripture, as defined in Hebrew, means valor, in the sense of moral excellence, pure. In other words, she’s righteous, vigilant, watchful, attentive, alert, observant, a warrior for her household.  Her strength is in the God she trusts.  Her source of wealth is her physical, emotional, mental and spiritual strength. Those characteristics portrayed in this passage of scripture can apply to women of all walks of life.

The first magnified characteristic of the virtuous woman is righteousness. By righteousness, I mean more than doing what is right.  Most often doing the right thing is deeply entrenched in emotions which could lead to inconsistency in actions. Righteousness first precludes that one is filled with the Holy Spirit.  It is the Holy Spirit and the Word of God that determines a virtuous woman’s actions. The Fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control) is what manifests in her deeds and allows her to respond to the poor and needy (vs. 20) with the appropriate acts.  Because of her righteousness, a virtuous woman gains the trust of many, which grants her the opportunity to cause others in her care and surrounding her to prosper, having no lack of gain (vs. 11).

Servant’s Mentality

A virtuous woman also understands that her mental strength is in having a servant’s mentality, which enriches all those around her. As a servant, the virtuous woman is not a doormat; nor is she unequal to her partner.  On the contrary, she is equally yoked with her mate emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually. She speaks life with her words and actions to those in her care. Her gifts add value not only to herself but to those around her.  However, with her servant mentality, a virtuous woman must also learn to serve herself. Taking time to enrich her life with devotion, study, exercise, and even a hobby is essential.

If there were words to totally sum up the “Virtuous Woman” we could revert to the initial Hebrew definition of virtuous – valor. A virtuous woman is courageous, brave, fearless, bold and gallant. Most often these words have a masculine connotation. Verses 13-29 of the Proverbs 31 text aligns with these defining characteristics of a virtuous woman. A virtuous woman is a risk- taker who benefits all in her circle. She seizes the opportunity to go beyond her human limitations and venture into endeavors that will set her apart from all others (vs. 29). Her deeds serve the greater good, but bring her a reward of praise in the gates. Therefore, it is my belief that a virtuous woman’s strength and purpose is to be a servant. So I encourage us as women to serve with confidence in who we are, but in humility. And know, we shall all reap the great reward if we faint not.


Rev. Shirley Rev. Shirley Daniels is the wife of Rev. Walter E. Daniels, pastor of St. Mark AME Church in Atlanta, GA. The two share the parentage of eight children and are the loving grandparents of many.

Rev. Shirley is a 25-year veteran educator for the Fulton County Board of Education. She currently teaches 4th grade at Oakley Elementary in Union City, GA.

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