Biblical Descriptions of Mothers

[In my own personal study, lists help me to understand what I'm reading. It assists my memory and understanding to take information from Scripture as I read it and simplify the larger whole into understandable parts. (See this post on biblical descriptions of women or this post on Psalm 119 for examples of what I'm talking about.) I hope it helps you too.]

Here are some of the significant or insightful ways that God, in His Word, describes mothers, and some things we can learn from the stories of mothers in Scripture.

  • From the beginning, the plan and pattern for motherhood is that children "leave and cleave". (Gen 2:24, Mt 19:4-6)
  • She is to be protected by her husband. (Gen 32, Mt 2:13)
  • A mother's heart desires protection for her children. (Exod 2, 1 Ki 3:26)
  • She is to be honored and cared for by her children. (Exod 20:12, Lev 19:3, Deut 5:16, 27:16, Mt 15:3-9, Jn 19:26-27)
  • She should never be struck or cursed by her children. (Exod 21)
  • A mother is to be modest around her children. (Lev 18)
  • She is to instruct and discipline her children. (Deut 21:18)
  • Fathers and mothers teach, advise, help, love, and guide their children together. (Judg 14, 1 Ki 2:19, Prov 1:8, 6:20, Lk 2:33, 48)
  • Her early care, physical affection, availability, and kindness to her children plant seeds that can grow into an ability to trust in and treasure God, and an ability to understand God better. (Ps 22:8-11, Ps 131:2, Isa 66:13)
  • It is a joy when the barren woman becomes a mother! (Ps 113:9)
  • She has great reason to be glad and rejoice when she has raised a godly, righteous son! (Prov 23:24-25)
  • If her children follow Christ, their love for and devotion to Him will rightly exceed their love for and devotion to her. (Mt 10:35-37, Mt 12:46-50, Mt 19:29)
  • She can be like a mother to others who are not her biological children. (Rom 16:13)
  • Her relationship with her children provides a reference point for understanding healthy, biblical Church life and how Christians are to treat one another. (1 Th 2:7, 1 Tim 5:1-2)
  • A mother's faithful instruction multiplies to bless others as her children grow into mature servants of God. (2 Tim 1:5)

  • She can deceive her children and encourage them in sin (Gen 27)
  • She can forsake her children. (Ps 27:10)
  • A foolish son brings her sorrow, and may despise her. (Prov 10:1, 15:20, 19:26)
  • She will be shamed if she leaves her child to himself. (Prov 29:15)
Insightful bits here, I think, both in what a mother IS, and what what she is NOT. What her role is as her children grow, and what her role is once they leave home. What a wise mother does, and what the ultimate goals are. God's Word is so very faithful.


Anonymous said...

I certainly don't want to sound persnickety, but shouldn't that first point be "left by her children?" Women are to leave their father's headship and move under their husband's headship and that can't be done if we don't leave our mothers.

Jess said...

Interesting. Yeah, I was just going off of what's written plainly in Scripture... the wording is "a man shall leave his father and mother"... so the first mention of motherhood is being left by her man-aged son.

Let me do a little research and see how the Hebrew applies here.

Thanks for the comment...

Jess said...

OK, commentaries don't give any particular insight except in that they do treat it solely in the masculine sense...

Still, I changed it so that it won't (hopefully) trip anyone else up on that point. The main idea is that we as moms need to see our job for what it is... a temporary assignment, a stewardship of precious young lives.

skyfly21 said...

I came onto your blog today b/c I remembered reading a list of biblical descriptions (positive and negative) awhile back and wanted to print it off for my bible study group tonight. Well, I wasn't sure how in the world I would find it,and I read your post today and there is a link to it! Talk about the Lord's perfect timing! Thanks!

Kelly said...

Thank you for the great post! I can't wait to look up all the verses and I linked to your post on my blog. :-)

Anonymous said...

I understood your intent, and I thank you for your further research on that verse and your response.

I completely agree - we should see our roles as mothers in a temporary sense with both genders of children. It is a small window in which we can impress upon them the truth of the gospel. It is an awesome and terrifying responsibility. And I praise the Lord for the gift of it.

Leah said...

I find lists hard to read too but have persevered through certain books as the content has been amazing. This is a great list; looking forward to going through it in more detail, thanks for posting Jess!

E03 said...

when i come here, it encourages me to see a mom of many kids who is so serious about God's word, who's actively studying, who's thinking and who's challenging our culture by living Biblically. thanks Jess! be encouraged

yoshi3329 said...

I love this article! I'm looking up all these verses as we 'speak'