Proverbs 31:26

ESV She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
NIV She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
NASB She opens her mouth in wisdom, And the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
CSB Her mouth speaks wisdom, and loving instruction is on her tongue.
NLT When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness.
KJV She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.
NKJV She opens her mouth with wisdom, And on her tongue is the law of kindness.

What does Proverbs 31:26 mean?

Much of the book of Proverbs uses "sons" and "kings" and other masculine terms. Most are generic and not explicitly aimed at males, alone. This passage has already connected an excellent, godly woman (Proverbs 31:10) to traits stereotypically associated with men (Proverbs 31:14, 16–18). Here, Scripture makes it clear that godly wisdom is equally accessible to both genders (Proverbs 1:7; 3:5–8). Each person is called to apply wisdom in their own contexts (1 Corinthians 7:17).

That fact is key to the biblical perspective of complementary gender roles. Unbiblical voices dismiss any work by women outside the home, or claim homemaking is degrading. Often, those who downplay a mother's role in the home suggest she is being kept from greater influence in her culture. Yet a famous poem notes "the hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world." A mother's unique influence dramatically affects the course of a child's life. A wife applying kindly, truthful wisdom is more than a personal advantage to her husband (Proverbs 31:11–12). She is a priceless factor for good in the lives of their children (Proverbs 1:8; 6:20; 31:28).

Both Old and New Testaments note the value of a wise mother's teaching. Timothy's mother taught him the Scriptures when he was young (2 Timothy 1:5; 3:14–15). Lemuel's mother demonstrated excellency and wisdom (Proverbs 31:1). The woman depicted in this verse uses reasonable, valuable words both in conversation and teaching within her home.

"Kindness" is not missing from this approach. Rather than being overly harsh, bitter, or abusive to family or servants, this "excellent wife" demonstrates patience and grace.
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