At first, my book suggestions for the Modern Proverbs 31 woman were only going to include books written by Elisabeth Elliot and Catherine Marshall – but then this would have been the world’s shortest blog post. These two women unknowingly helped shape my faith through their writing, which is a major reason I want to be an author one day too. Both have sadly passed on now (Elisabeth as of last year) but their words about God and our faith are just as powerful if not more, today than they were the day they wrote them.
So, I scanned by bookshelf and luckily for you, added a little variety to this list. I still stand by the fact that you should read everything with their name on it, but glad I expanded my top 10 because there are excellent books out there. Oh, and sorry, but you won’t find any Lean In here. While it may contain good points on how to get ahead in your career, I don’t find it very biblically based.
10 Book Suggestions for the Moderns Proverbs 31 Woman
Let Me Be a Woman by Elisabeth Elliot
A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.
Quick background: Elisabeth was the wife of missionary Jim Elliot, who was killed by the Auca Indians in Ecuador. The Aucus were an unreached tribe that many were afraid to make contact with because anyone who did was killed. Although Jim and four other missionaries had an initial friendly contact with the Aucus, they were speared to death shortly after.
Later, Elisabeth and her young daughter went back to live with the very Indians that killed her husband. Through faith and love they saw many of the Auca’s come to know the Lord.
Let Me Be a Woman is is a gem of a book and can be summed up with the words: God specifically made me a woman with specific purposes in mind.
The Proverbs woman was a woman of character who brought good to her husband. Due to a string of tragedies, Elisabeth Elliot ended up marrying three different men in her time, but through her stories her respect and love for each of them shines through.
Let Me Be a Woman also address the hypocrisies we see in our culture today about how a woman should act and think. When you’re done with it you will be darn proud to be a woman, and grateful that God made you one. It is a book ANY woman can benefit from – whether single, married, or even widowed.
13 She selects wool and flax
and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from afar.
I feel like I’m cheating here in that my next recommendation is an e-Book but hey, that’s the world we live in. The Proverbs woman was probably the queen of DIY’s long before DIY became a thing – but more out of necessity than a hobby. I doubt her goal was to get more followers on Pinterest.
However, there is something about making a homemade beauty product, cooking a meal, or creating a craft that makes us feel feminine. I know because the DIY’s on my blog keep growing in popularity, and I’m even roping in friends to join in the fun.
For those that would like to “select their wool and flax” with me, check out this e-Book or head to my “Homemade” page and let me know how your projects turn out.
And don’t forget to invite a few friends over! (I’m looking at you my fellow introverts).
A Life that Says Welcome by Karen Ehman
15 She gets up while it is still night;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her female servants.
If there is one word that most comes to mind when I think of the Proverbs 31 woman it’s “hospitable.” It’s a word that I’m not only trying to incorporate into my vocabulary, but my actions too. I admit, it’s a skill and graciousness that doesn’t’ come naturally to me. I am very private, and even selfish sometimes with my time and energy. But God is working on my heart and I’m excited to practice it more in my life.
A Life that Says Welcome gives great advice on decorating on a budget, easy but great-tasting meals, and even cleaning tips.
For Women Only (In the Workplace) by Shaunti Feldhahn
16 She considers a field and buys it;
out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff
and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
and supplies the merchants with sashes.
One of my favorite aspects of the Proverbs 31 woman is not only was she an excellent homemaker, but she was a business owner too! She’s smart, savvy, strong, and knows how to turn a profit. She’s also a hard worker – whether in her home or outside it. What a great example for us woman to have in this world we live in today.
However, with that comes some tricky canals to navigate. How do we prove ourselves in the rat race without, well, becoming a rat? I have read For Woman Only several times because it is just that good. I think some very modern woman may be offended by a few of the examples, but part of becoming a “successful woman” is learning to address our weaknesses and shortcomings too. Men and women were created with different strengths and this is just a fact of life. If you can put aside some of your modern offenses, I think you’ll learn as much about making it in the workplace (and working with men) as I did.
Silver Boxes: he Gift of Encouragement by Florence Littauer
20 She opens her arms to the poor
and extends her hands to the needy.
Ephesians 4:9 tells us that we are called to speak positive words to build each other up, not tear down. When I think about the Proverbs woman I envision her handing out food to the poor in her town with words of encouragement, asking about specific family members and knowing just how to lift someone’s day. But how often do we hand out the opposite instead? After a long day are you “full of encouragement” for your friends, roommate, or husband? Or after a long and exhausting day are you short with them? I know I’ve been guilty of it.
Each word we say to each other should edify the person listening. Let that sink in. I’m still letting it sink in! How can we change our speech to bring blessing to people, instead of cursing. Pick up this book – you will not regret it. (Or you will for a minute while you feel convicted, and then feel spurred on to do something about it!)
Discipline: The Glad Surrender by Elisabeth Elliot
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed;
she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
In order to completely be at peace, we must completely trust God with our lives. Otherwise, there is so much to worry about in this world isn’t it? Getting and keeping a job, feeling secure in a world where terrorism and violence seem to be a daily occurrence, being able to afford housing and food. The Proverbs woman didn’t feel scared for her family because she worked hard to make sure they had clothes and their other essential needs met (that’s called discipline!). But she also trusted in the Lord to ultimately provide these things. (That’s called surrender!) How beautiful when these two things work together: us planting and God sowing. When we allow God control of EVERY area of our life we won’t have reason to fear for our household either.
Adventures in Prayer by Catherine Marshall
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
Catherine Marshall was the wife of a Senate Chaplain, Peter Marshall. She was smart, strong, and had a faith in God I am continually impressed by. She also fully encompassed everything it means to be a woman.
Now, Catherine’s first husband Peter Marshall was well-known in his own right as Senate Chaplain. However, after his unexpected death in his 40’s, the world only came to know about him after Catherine had his sermons published in a book called “A Man Called Peter.” While his death was tragic, from it God used Catherine and her husband to greatly affect people’s faith in countries they never even heard of. He was “respected” in large part because of his wife.
What I love most about Catherine’s books is the continual display of the Holy Spirit. Before reading her books I didn’t give Him much thought honestly; but after I have come to finally see his as the fully as part of the Trinity. Catherine (filled with the Holy Spirit I’m sure) also had an incredible gift of prayer that she touches upon in each of her books. Adventures in Prayer is a short book, but is divided into different types of prayer we all need in our lives: relinquishment, requests, waiting. It is pure gold in my opinion.
Prayer truly can be an adventure if we surrender to God.
Personality Plus by Florence Littauer
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
I love these verses of the Proverbs 31 chapter because it really shows her personality; she is strong and dignified, but can also laugh at herself.
Learning about our personalities is huge these days, but Florence divides them up in a slightly less known way: Choleric, Melancholy, Sanguine, and Phlegmatic. This book is not only informative but dare I say fun to read as we learn more about what makes us tick, and how to better relate to other personalities in a Biblical manner.
Beyond Ourselves by Catherine Marshall
26 She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
Hmm I’m cheating, I’m back to Catherine Marshall. But she was just that amazing.
Whatever questions you have about life and faith are addressed if not answered in this book. I don’t want to give too much away but if you have questions about how to surrender fully to God, how to get prayer answered, or how to find real joy – read this book.
It is as amazing for a non-believer with questions to a faithful Christian walking with the Lord. Her work was truly inspired by the Holy Spirit.
I cannot even say enough good things about this book except that it is life-changing. If you only pick up one of these book recommendations, let it be this one. I promise you will understand why after you read it.
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Last, but certainly not least, it is no secret the Proverbs 31 woman was a modern Martha Stewart. Although this book briefly mentions Buddhism though (the woman is from China) it is still worth overlooking those parts because of the very practical (and magical) advice on how to keep your home or apartment “tidied up” for good!
This book is quickly growing in popularity as more people are excited to rid themselves of items that clutter their life, and instead only keep items that bring them joy.
So that’s my 10, please check out at least one of these amazing books. Sometimes it’s easy to feel discouraged by the Proverbs 31 woman because she seemed to be perfect but above all let’s remind ourselves what really made her praiseworthy:
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.