What Does the Bible Say about Motherhood?

By Jessica Wolstenholm

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Motherhood in The Bible

From the first pages of Genesis, God ordained the family. After the fall in Genesis 3, He told Eve that she would have pain in childbirth, but in that proclamation He also created the first mother. And throughout Scripture, mothers appear. God’s love and advocacy for women shines through the Bible, as women are given dignity, respect, attention, and responsibility in start contrast with the cultural norms at the time.

Motherhood is spoken of throughout Scripture as a high and important calling. God uses the metaphor of mothers to describe the ways He loves and cares for His children (Isaiah 66:13).

Mothers in the Bible

Throughout Scripture, God often granted motherhood to women who were barren or otherwise unable to conceive. At many points in Jesus’ lineage, God intervened to give an infertile woman a child. Consider Abraham’s wife, Sarah; Isaac’s wife, Rebekah; Hannah, the mother of Samuel; Elizabeth, the mother of John, and of course Mary, the virgin mother of Jesus.

What the Bible Says about Motherhood

Motherhood is . . .

  • a blessing (Psalm 127:3)
    • Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him.
  • ordained by God (Psalm 139:13)
    • For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
  • full of hope (Proverbs 22:6)
    • Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.
  • full of joy (Proverbs 23:25)
    • May your father and mother rejoice; may she who gave you birth be joyful!
  • a calling (Proverbs 31:28)
    • Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.
  • worthy of honor (Ephesians 6:1-3)
    • Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.

Advice for Mothers from the Bible

Motherhood is a gift from the Lord–one of the ways we can glorify and serve Him (1 Tim. 5:10).  It also offers many opportunities to grow in our understanding of God’s mercy, love, and grace. Motherhood is sanctifying, but it is also sweet. Scripture teaches mothers to point children toward Christ by praying for them, modeling faith and character, and training them in wisdom (Prov 1:8, 29:15). Proverbs 22:6 conveys the general principles that if we “Train up children in the way they should go, even when they are old they will not turn from it.”

Christian Mothers in History

Here are a few examples of mothers in the Bible and in Church History that we can learn from:

* Lois and Eunice (2 Tim.1:5) – Paul says that the “sincere faith” that Timothy possesses was from his grandmother Lois and mother Eunice. It appears that, even though godly men were lacking in Timothy’s upbringing, the influence of these women helped form him into the pastor and leader he became, for the benefit of the whole early church.

* Monica (331-387) had great influence on her son Augustine’s life. It is said that Monica’s example and her prayers–even without support from her husband–eventually led Augustine to the Lord. In his autobiography, he said his mother “shed more tears for my spiritual death than other mothers shed for the bodily death of a son.” Augustine of Hippo became one of the leading theologians of the early church.

* Katie Luther (1499-1552), wife of the Protestant Reformer Martin Luther, raised four orphans in addition to her six biological children, while also hosting her husband’s students and guests. The Luthers became a model for Protestant families for several centuries and spoke of family life as a training ground for Christian virtue.

* Susanna Wesley (1669-1742) managed a large household of eight children (who survived infancy), overseeing both the spiritual and academic education of her children. She focused diligently on their character, hard work and knowledge of Scripture and met personally with each child every week, to give them encouragement and attention. Her sons John Wesley and Charles Wesley founded the Methodist movement that bears the imprints of her influence: a focus on accountability, service, and diligent work in small group Bible study (For more information about Monica, Katie Luther, or Susanna Wesley, see this article at Christianity Today).

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Mother’s Day Blog Posts and Activities

Here is a write-up on the history of Mother’s Day that explains the holiday’s origins.

Enjoy a free Mother’s Day printable coloring pack!

Read about what Mary can teach us about Motherhood!

Originally published on April 04, 2016