“She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness” (Proverbs 31:26, KJV).
Today we see the role of teacher that a woman is to assume. Did you know that a woman is a teacher? 🙂
The New Testament is very clear (1 Timothy 2:12) that a woman is not to be a teacher who assumes a role of leadership over men. However, we see that Priscilla joined her husband Aquila in explaining truth to a new believer named Apollos (Acts 18:24-26). We also see that women were to faithfully teach other women specifically how to do good (Titus 2:3-5).
The most obvious way that a woman can be a teacher is to her own children. The book of Proverbs commands children to not forsake the teaching of their mothers (Proverbs 1:8). Deuteronomy expands on the method that a mother and father should use in their teaching:
“Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates” (Deuteronomy 6:7-9).
Our verse in Proverbs 31 tells us that when this mother opened her mouth, she spoke with wisdom and kindness.
Q: Where is wisdom found?
A: In God’s Word.
“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness” (2 Peter 1:3).
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise” (Psalm 111:10).
“For the LORD gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding” (Proverbs 2:6).
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” (Proverbs 9:10).
Proverbs 31:26 says that “in her tongue is the law of kindness.” The word “law” here is the Hebrew word “torah,” which commonly refers to the first five books of the Bible, the law of Moses. Psalm 119 shows us the respect King David had for the Torah, God’s Law. 2 Timothy 3:15 says that the “holy Scriptures” are “able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.”
I decided to read through part of “the Torah” this week, trying to see how often God’s laws were “kind.” In all honesty, “kindness” is not the first topic that comes to my mind when I think of the lists of laws in Exodus or Numbers, for instance. I think of laws about food, about who can marry who, about sacrifices, and more. But kindness?
I started at Exodus 20, where Moses was given the ten commandments. Exodus 21 starts right in with miscellaneous laws.
“If you buy a Hebrew servant, he is to serve you for six years. But in the seventh year, he shall go free, without paying anything” (Exodus 21:2).
That seems very kind!
“If he comes alone, he is to go free alone; but if he has a wife when he comes, she is to go with him. If his master gives him a wife and she bears him sons or daughters, the woman and her children shall belong to her master, and only the man shall go free. But if the servant declares, ‘I love my master and my wife and children and do not want to go free,’ then his master must take him before the judges. He shall take him to the door or the doorpost and pierce his ear with an awl. Then he will be his servant for life” (Exodus 21:3-6).
That seems very kind!
“Anyone who strikes a man and kills him shall surely be put to death. However, if he does not do it intentionally, but God lets it happen, he is to flee to a place I will designate” (Exodus 12:12-13).
That seems very kind!
“If men quarrel and one hits the other with a stone or with his fist and he does not die but is confined to bed, the one who struck the blow will not be held responsible if the other gets up and walks around outside with his staff; however, he must pay the injured man for the loss of his time and see that he is completely healed” (Exodus 12:18-19).
That seems very kind!
“If a man uncovers a pit or digs one and fails to cover it and an ox or a donkey falls into it, the owner of the pit must pay for the loss; he must pay its owner, and the dead animal will be his” (Exodus 12:33-34).
That seems very kind!
In fact, the laws set up by God to protect the rights of people continue on for pages in the book of Exodus! And, just as Jesus says,
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:30-31).
The mother of Proverbs 31 has realized that all of God’s laws are wrapped up in this: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” This is truly the law of kindness! She wisely teaches her children how to love others. She teaches them how to deny self and rather give of themselves to others. She teaches them that if they accidentally hit someone with a staff, they need to take care of the injured person until he is completely healed. She teaches them to be sure to cover any pits that they dig, so that no people or animals fall into it. She teaches them to be kind to their servants. And on and on and on.
“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2).
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (Ephesians 4:29).
Of course, she teaches these kind laws when she sits and when she walks, when she lies down and when she gets up. She posts kind verses on the walls of her home and in her car, so that God’s kind laws are always before their eyes.
She has meditated so much on God’s kind laws that they come tumbling out of her mouth without too much thought, “for out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:34).
So is a woman supposed to be a teacher? Absolutely! As a “priest of God” (see 1 Peter 1:9), God’s woman faithfully gives God’s instructions to others, as a messenger of God Himself.
“True instruction was in his mouth and nothing false was found on his lips. He walked with me in peace and uprightness, and turned many from sin. For the lips of a priest ought to preserve knowledge, and from his mouth men should seek instruction—because he is the messenger of the LORD Almighty” (Malachi 2:6-7).
ASSIGNMENT: Read Psalm 119 and the book of James, noting the effect God’s kind law has on our behavior.
(All Scripture references are from the NIV, unless otherwise noted.)
Due to a recent move we have started attending a new church where our co-ed Sunday school class is taught every other week by a woman. My husband and I are a little uncomfortable with this but are getting conflicting views on it from the Christian community. What are your thoughts on this? I don’t know if it makes a difference but we are of the Baptist denomination.
By the way we are using your Foundations 3 Bible study in our home-school and love it, thanks for all the hard work!
Blessings in Christ,
This is a tough issue, not because the Bible is unclear but because so many good friends of mine take strong stands on both sides of this issue.
I am in the camp that strongly disagrees with a woman teaching men about spiritual things. I don’t want to be argumentative with others, but to me, if I simply read my Bible as it’s written, taking it literally, then this issue is solved.
“A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. But women will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety” (1 Timothy 2:11-15, NIV).
“Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church” (1 Corinthians 14:34-35, NIV).
There’s a book on my shelf that really dives into this topic, and I appreciate it. The author is a seventh-day adventist (and I’m a Baptist), but his writing in this book stays very close to Scripture.
Women in the Church, by Samuele Bacchiocchi
A website that looks pretty similar (and much shorter!) is
I hope this helps!
Brenda Wildernes says
I really want to understand how to have the law of kindness because I want to be what the Lord wants me to be
Lydia Rugh says
I really love how you delve into the Torah to search out the law of kindness. Amazing. Now I am in pursuit to discover more about the law of kindness in the Torah. Thank you for sharing your study.
I’m so glad!
Kerry-Ann McPherson says
Thanks for taking the time to share this Anne. I was really blessed.