The idea of being a Godly Woman might sound intimidating. Actually, every woman can be a Godly woman. But what does that mean and what are the 11 characteristics of Godly women in the Bible? We will break down what it means to be Godly and look at examples of Godly women in the Bible, seeing what they have in common with each other and with us.
What Defines a Godly Woman?
First, we need to look at what “Godly” means. The Cambridge Bible defines “Godly” as “Obeying and respecting God.” Dictionary.com says this, “the quality or practice of conforming to the laws and wishes of God; devoutness and moral uprightness:To be wise is to live in godliness, reflecting the nature of the kingdom of God in the course of everyday life.“
Definitions.net defines “Godly” this way, “pious; reverencing God, and his character and laws; obedient to the commands of God from love for, and reverence of, his character; conformed to God’s law; devout; righteous; as, a godly life.”
The word comes from God + ly and actually means Godlike. Christians are instructed in the Epistles to be ‘like’ Jesus. Jesus told us to follow His examples in many things like foot-washing, loving one another, and obedience to the Father.
Hopefully, that gives you reassurance to know that, since your desire is to be conformed to Jesus’ image and to obey God’s commandments with reverence, you are a Godly woman. Yes, there are other characteristics which may or may not be part of your life and we will look at those.
This one statement sums up being a godly woman or person – reflecting the nature of the kingdom of God in the course of everyday life.
Courageous Women in the Bible
Let’s start with Esther. Esther was a Hebrew woman living in Shushan, a region of what was then Persia. The Jews had been allowed to start rebuilding the temple by one ruler and then the next, Darius, put a stop to it. Next came King Ahasuerus. King Ahasuerus had held a banquet, probably honoring himself and his wealth. Toward the end of the banquet, he ordered his wife, Queen Vashti, to come and show off her beauty. She declined the offer which was a major insult to the King and she was banished for dishonoring the King. A search for a new Queen began.
A Jewish man named Mordecai had raised a beautiful, young Jewish woman who was the daughter of his Uncle. Her name was Esther. Esther was taken willingly along with many other women into the king’s house under the watchful eye of Haman. Long story short, Esther works on her beauty for a year, appears before the king with other women, and is chosen to be the next Queen. She has found great favor in the king’s eyes and he has fallen in love with her. In fact, she has found great favor with everyone. On Mordecai’s advice, she has not revealed to anyone that she is a Jew. Along the way, she helps Mordecai to be recognized and honored by the King for saving his life. But, the King soon forgets all about Mordecai and what he did.
Haman, a man who served the king, is promoted and it is expected that everyone will bow to him. Mordecai refuses and lights up Haman’s anger. When Haman learns that Mordecai is a Jew, he decides it would be best to kill all the Jews along with Mordecai to eliminate the whole problem. Mordecai learns of the plan and goes into mourning. Queen Esther’s servants tell her what has taken place and she devises a plan to expose Haman’s pride and evil plans. She has been “born for such a time as this.”
Esther decides to hold a two-day banquet with only two invited guests – the king and Haman. Haman’s ego is puffed up even more. He immediately builds a gallows to hang Mordecai on. But, a restless night spent reading, reminds the King of Mordecai and the king decides he wants to honor Mordecai. The next morning, he tells Haman he wants to honor someone who “brought the King much pleasure.” Haman assumes that the king is referring to him – of course! So, he helps the king plan an amazing honoring ceremony.
On the second night of banquets, Haman and the king are present. The king has already asked Esther 2 times what it is she wants and tonight is the night she will tell him. The king again says, “Whatever your request, Queen Esther, you will be granted it; whatever you want, up to half the kingdom, it will be done.”
Esther replies this time with her request, “If I have won your favor, king, and if it pleases the king, then what I ask be given me is my own life and the lives of my people. For we have been sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, killed, exterminated. If we had only been sold as men-and women-slaves, I would have remained quiet; since then [our] trouble would not have been worth the damage it would have caused the king [to alter the situation].” Esther 7:2-4 CJB
The king asks who this person is who wants to kill her people and she tells him it is Haman. Things get worse and worse for Haman throughout the day and he is finally hung on the gallows he built for Mordecai. Mordecai is given the position Haman had held and the evil is cleansed from Persia, saving the Jewish nation from annihilation. Esther has saved her people.
Esther has 10 characteristics of a godly woman:
- Wisdom – in how she approached the problem
- Proper use of authority
- Submission – to Mordecai and the King
- Courage – she knew what had happened to Vashti
That might appear to be a lofty and impossible list but it’s not. Esther was just a Jewish woman living in Persia with thousands of other women. She was a nobody put into a place of renown by God.
Here is how you obtain wisdom:
Now if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives to all generously and without reproach; and it will be given to him. But let him ask in trust, doubting nothing; for the doubter is like a wave in the sea being tossed and driven by the wind. Indeed that person should not think that he will receive anything from the Lord, because he is double-minded, unstable in all his ways. James 1:5-8 CJB
The Godly Woman in Proverbs 31
The first time I read Proverbs 31, I felt like a total failure as a woman, wife, and mother. After all, she did everything and did it perfectly. Later, I realized that the Proverb was covering a lifetime, not just a season of her life. However, she is still a seemingly large example to live up to.
I want to use the Complete Jewish Bible to perhaps give you a different understanding of the Proverbs 31 woman.
First, according to Jewish tradition, these verses, 10-31, were written by Abraham about Sarah. Later, this ‘woman’ was a symbol of the feminine presence in the Torah and in wisdom. In Jewish homes, these verses are read every Friday evening after Sabbath has begun, usually by a man honoring his wife. The virtuous woman is extolled as are all women who shine the light of God through their lives and actions. These are women ministering!
Here are some characteristics of Godly women in the Bible taken from Proverbs 31 in the Complete Jewish Bible:
1. Her heart is bound up in the well-being of others.
2. She is creative and resourceful, radiating her own beauty in her own unique way.
3. She cares for herself but knows she is more than just a physical body: she emanates this beauty from her soul as well in servitude and in love.
4. She is fully aware of her place in the plan of God, seizing each moment with intention.
5. This practical and spiritual woman aligns her thoughts, body, and actions for the sake of heaven.
6. She approaches life with fortitude and presses forth despite obstacles.
7. She might be single, she might be married; she might work in the home, she might be a corporate executive; she might be a teenager or a grandmother.
8. Whoever she is, she is the “eschet chayil: the woman who strives to live a full life of service to God.
I think the last statement sums it up – “she is a woman who strives to live a full life of service to God.” Women do this as wives, mothers, friends, in business, in every vocation, in giving, and in loving others as Christ does. Proverbs 31:10-31 CJB:
- Verses 10-12 – she is a trustworthy wife who works for the good of her husband.
- Verses 13-15 – she isn’t lazy. She’s willing to work hard to provide for her household.
- Verses 16-18 – she is a savvy businesswoman who also “throws herself into her work.”
- Verses 19-20 – she embraces and helps the poor and needy while never forgetting her family
- Verses 21-22 – she plans and prepares for the future
- Verses 23-24 – she and her husband work for the good of their community
- Verses 25-27 – she is wise and watchful
- Verses 28-31 – she fears God and her works speak her praises
The Proverbs 31 woman is a collection of many women. Not everyone is a wife, mother, or businesswoman. Rather than focusing on the specific actions, look at the basis for her life – service to her God. “Eschet Chayil” is better translated as heroic woman or woman of valor. Esther certainly was both of those things.
Deborah and Jael
Another example of a godly woman who was “Eschet Chayil” is Deborah. Deborah was a woman, prophet, wife, and judge in Israel and every day, she took her place under Deborah’s Palm where people came to her for her judgments. We don’t know where she came from or how she ended up in these roles but she is remembered for her wisdom and courage. She was a heroic woman, a woman of valor.
Deborah heard and obeyed God’s voice and, along with Jael, was responsible for winning a crucial battle fought against Jabin, the Canaanite king. There is no other woman like Deborah in the Bible. She was a woman, prophet, judge, warrior, wife, and possibly even a mother! In a short section of the Book of Judges, you see a snippet of her life as a woman of authority, serving God in ways that only men traditionally served. Yet, men respected and obeyed her as we see in the example of Barak, the general she had command over.
Deborah Hears God
Upon God’s command, Deborah summoned Barak to take his army and defeat Sisera, the captain of Jabin’s army, and Sisera’s entire army as per God’s command. Deborah went with Barak because he said he wouldn’t do it without her! She warned him that, because of this, he would win, but receive no honor for killing Sisera because a woman would kill him. Barak fought the battle as God threw Sisera and his entire army into panic.
Sisera ran away from the battlefield, as Barak’s army killed every other man there. Sisera ran to the tent of an ally, and Jael, the wife of his ally saw him. Jael called to him, inviting him in. She provided Sisera with shelter, milk to drink, a blanket, and when he fell asleep she drove a stake through his head. Jael then saw Barak out looking for Sisera and invited him into her tent. There, Barak saw the fulfillment of Deborah’s words to him.
Two very brave women defeated the enemy through their obedience and courage. You can read about both of them in the Book of Judges, Chapters 4-5.
Characteristics of Godly Women in the Bible
We could look at many, many more women – Mary the mother of Jesus, Mary Magdalene, Esther, Ruth, Miriam, Rahab, and many new Testament women who followed Jesus and helped establish the body of Christ, the church. The most important characteristic all of the women of the Bible share is this – faith. Their faith was not just in words only, their faith was shown in their lives, how they lived, what they said, and what they did.
Their Faith was based in love. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 13:13 Voice, “But now faith, hope, and love remain; these three virtues must characterize our lives. The greatest of these is love.” You can see these 3 virtues in the lives of the women we’ve looked at here.
Jesus said that the world would know who we were by the way we loved each other. He gave us His new commandment in John 13:34-35 Voice, “So I give you a new command: Love each other deeply and fully. Remember the ways that I have loved you, and demonstrate your love for others in those same ways. 3Everyone will know you as My followers if you demonstrate your love to others.“
Each of the characteristics of a Godly woman in the Bible must be based in love. Love is why God sent Jesus. It’s why Jesus died for us. And, love must be the reason why we live for Him.
11 Characteristics of Godly Women
1. Faith in and love for God that guides every part of your life.
2. Courage to obey.
3. Submission to God and His will.
4. Truthfulness always.
5. Willingness to follow God’s direction for your life.
8. Maintaining God’s wisdom in words and deeds.
9. Living by the Spirit, not the flesh.
11. Eschet Chayil.
Women Serving Christ
Today, women who are serving Christ, do it in a multitude of ways. Our role, while sometimes minimized, is important in God’s eyes. We can look to the New Testament to see how Jesus treated women in a revolutionary way. Whether you are a wife, mother, single, have no children, are rich or poor, and no matter where you live or what your occupation may be, you matter to God.
Women can serve Christ everywhere. There are no limitations to loving others and loving God. There are no limitations to serving others. The 11 Characteristics listed above are things that every believer can attain.
If you are being persecuted or living a life of great pain, those 11 characteristics might be difficult or impossible to feel right at this moment. But, God knows what is in the depths of your heart no matter how you feel, so never, never let condemnation strike you down. Mankind might condemn but, if you are His, God never does. You are still serving Christ by simply continuing to love Him.
Mother’s Day is a wonderful holiday celebrating the love of a Mother. However, it’s a painful day for many people and I am mentioning it here because it can be so hard and even make a woman feel like a failure.
The day carries its own vision of what motherhood is and we see it in cards, advertisements, and hear it on television. Unfortunately, Motherhood can be wonderful and terrible, depending on your circumstances and can create an atmosphere of comparison. If you don’t measure up to the ads, you are a failure as a mother.
Family relationships are not always what we hoped. If you look at the Bible, there were many families that had big issues. Adam and Eve who’s son Cain killed his brother Abel. Jacob and Rachel whose sons sold their brother Joseph and told the parents that animals had killed him. King David’s son Absalom tried to kill him. Many of the Kings of Israel had children who were evil.
In spite of less than perfect families, we still must remain faithful. As each family is formed, it is an experiment in parenthood and this makes it even more important to possess the 11 characteristics of godly women in the Bible. Remember, that each human being has the ability to choose what kind of person they want to be. While you may do your best to impart faith and the love of God to them, they may still choose a different path and it’s painful for you. However, it doesn’t always mean you are at fault. It simply means that they made a choice.
So, while Mother’s day may be wonderful for so many, it is still not a time for comparison or self-condemnation.
If you have no children by choice, you can simply celebrate the love of your Mother or others you know.
If you have no children because you can’t, you can fight the feelings of failure or condemnation by soaking up the love of God and those around you.
If you, like me, have a Mother who was terrible Mother, you can find a card that just says “Have a wonderful day – I love you.”
If your Mother has passed away, you can remember her and all she meant to you, rejoicing that she was your Mother.
Holidays can be days of grief and sadness rather than joy. My first Mother’s Day after my husband died was a day reminding me of an empty spot in my life.
Mother’s Day and the 11 Characteristics of Godly Women in the Bible
Mother’s Day is a strain when I have to pick out a card for my Mother. None of the flowery descriptions fit her. I love her but I can’t give her a card that says she did things she didn’t do. However, I had an amazing Mother-in-law who was my Mother in every way. She has passed, but I used to buy her the flowery cards that truly expressed all she was to me.
What does Mother’s Day have to do with the 11 characteristics of godly women in the Bible? It has to do with the feeling of not measuring up, failure, loss, and condemnation. Mother’s Day is a day that can wipe out your feelings of progress as a person and a woman.
I want to encourage you and let you know that even on difficult days; even when grief or condemnation overwhelm you; tomorrow will come and it can be better than that one day. Women in the Bible endured great hardships and tests to their faith. They were persecuted and treated as property, yet they maintained their faith, hope, and love over their lifetimes. There are many days in our lives that can reach out and try to pull us down but we must remain steadfast in faith, hope, and love. And, I hope that many of you have a wonderful Mother’s Day.
Godly Women Living For Jesus
As you look at the 11 Characteristics of Godly Women in the Bible, let them build up your faith. Living for Jesus is a process that requires a lifetime. Whether it’s the Proverbs 31 woman or Martha, faith is a process.
Godly women living for Jesus have an ally in their path toward being like Jesus. We have the Holy Spirit living in us. He is the seal of Jesus’ promise to always be with us and never forsake us. He is Jesus’ gift to us.
Because the Holy Spirit lives inside you, you can have all 11 characteristics. How? By never giving up. By always knowing and obeying the Word of God. By letting the Holy Spirit lead, guide, comfort, and speak to you.
You can! That’s what Jesus wants us to know. We can do and be and fulfill. We can have all the 11 characteristics of godly women in the bible actively working for us and through us every single day of our lives.
I pray your light shines brighter as you come into the fulness of your life in Christ. If you have questions or needs, please email me:
**WM uses verses from different Bible translations. To see more information about the copyright for each one, please visit this page – Scripture Citations.
You might also enjoy reading Standing Firm in Your Faith.