Verses on Motherhood

Pal Szinyei Merse, "Mother and Child," 1868-69, Private Collection.

With Mother's Day approaching, it is a suitable time of the year to consider what the Bible says about mothers and motherhood. Below are some of the most important verses from the Bible on the topic of motherhood. We encourage you to examine these verses carefully and develop a list of ten or so biblical principles related to motherhood.

I think of motherhood as the most important divine institution after personal responsibility, marriage, and fatherhood. Humanity simply would not exist without motherhood. Excepting Adam and Eve, every human being has a mother. Every one of us came into the world from the womb of a woman. So let us treasure our mothers and treat them with love, respect, and tenderness. This is very pleasing in the eyes of God.

Verses on Motherhood

Genesis 2:24 24 A man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

Genesis 3:14-16 14 Yahweh God said to the serpent, Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field. On your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. 15 I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed. He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel. 16 To the woman he said, I will surely multiply your pain in conception. In pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be for your man, but he shall rule over you.

Genesis 3:20 20 The man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.

Genesis 17:15-16 15 God said to Abraham, As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. 16 I will bless her, and moreover, I will give you a son by her. I will bless her, and she shall become nations. Kings of peoples shall come from her.

Genesis 24:67 67 Isaac brought [Rebekah] into the tent of Sarah his mother and took Rebekah, and she became his wife, and he loved her. So Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.

Genesis 30:22-24 22 Then God remembered Rachel, and God listened to her and opened her womb. 23 She conceived and bore a son and said, God has taken away my reproach. 24 And she called his name Joseph saying, May Yahweh add to me another son!

Exodus 20:12 12 Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that Yahweh your God is giving you.

Exodus 21:15 15 Whoever strikes his father or his mother shall be put to death.

Exodus 21:17 17 Whoever curses his father or his mother shall be put to death.

Leviticus 19:3 3 Every one of you shall revere his mother and his father.

Deuteronomy 5:16 16 Honor your father and your mother, as Yahweh your God commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may go well with you in the land that Yahweh your God is giving you.

Deuteronomy 21:18-21 18 If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey the voice of his father or the voice of his mother, and, though they discipline him, will not listen to them, 19 then his father and his mother shall take hold of him and bring him out to the elders of his city at the gate of the place where he lives, 20 and they shall say to the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious. He will not obey our voice. He is a glutton and a drunkard. 21 Then all the men of the city shall stone him to death with stones. So you shall purge the evil from your midst, and all Israel shall hear and fear.

Deuteronomy 27:16 16 Cursed be anyone who dishonors his father or his mother. And all the people shall say, Amen.

Judges 5:7 7 The villagers ceased in Israel. They ceased to be until I arose. I, Deborah, arose as a mother in Israel.

Ruth 1:14-17 14 Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her. 15 And she said, See, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods, Return after your sister-in-law. 16 But Ruth said, Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. 17 Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May Yahweh do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.

Ruth 2:11 11 Boaz answered [Ruth], All that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband has been fully told to me….

Ruth 4:11-12 11 May Yahweh make the woman [Ruth] who is coming into your house like Rachel and Leah, who together built up the house of Israel. May you act worthily in Ephrathah and be renowned in Bethlehem, 12 and may your house be like the house of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah, because of the seed that Yahweh will give you by this young woman.

1 Samuel 2:19-21 19 [Samuel’s] mother used to make for him a little robe and take it to him each year when she went up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice. 20 Then Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife and say, May Yahweh give you children by this woman for the petition she asked of Yahweh. So then they would return to their home. 21 Indeed Yahweh visited Hannah, and she conceived and bore three sons and two daughters.

1 Kings 3:26-27 26 The woman whose son was alive said to the king, because her heart yearned for her son, Oh, my lord, give her the living child, and by no means put him to death. But the other said, He shall be neither mine nor yours. Divide him. 27 Then the king answered and said, Give the living child to the first woman, and by no means put him to death. She is his mother.

1 Kings 22:52 52 [Ahaziah] did what was evil in the sight of Yahweh and walked in the way of his father [Ahab], in the way of his mother [Jezebel], and in the way of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin.

2 Chronicles 22:2-3 2 Ahaziah was twenty-two years old when he began to reign, and he reigned one year in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Athaliah, the granddaughter of Omri. 3 He also walked in the ways of the house of Ahab, for his mother was his counselor in doing wickedly.

Esther 2:7 7 [Mordecai] was bringing up Hadassah, that is Esther, the daughter of his uncle, for she had neither father nor mother. The young woman had a beautiful figure and was lovely to look at, and when her father and her mother died, Mordecai took her as his own daughter.

Psalm 113:9 9 He gives the barren woman a home, making her the joyous mother of children. Hallelujah!

Psalm 131:2 2 I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother. Like a weaned child is my soul within me.

Proverbs 1:8 8 Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching.

Proverbs 6:20 20 My son, keep your father’s commandment, and forsake not your mother’s teaching.

Proverbs 10:1 1 A wise son makes a glad father, but a foolish son is a sorrow to his mother.

Proverbs 15:20 20 A wise son makes a glad father, but a foolish man despises his mother.

Proverbs 19:26 26 He who does violence to his father and chases away his mother is a son who brings shame and reproach.

Proverbs 20:20 20 If one curses his father or his mother, his lamp will be put out in utter darkness.

Proverbs 23:22 22 Listen to your father who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old.

Proverbs 23:25 25 Let your father and mother be glad. Let her who bore you rejoice.

Proverbs 28:24 24 Whoever robs his father or his mother and says, That is no transgression, is a companion to a man who destroys.

Proverbs 29:15 15 The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.

Proverbs 30:11 11 There are those who curse their fathers and do not bless their mothers.

Proverbs 30:17 17 The eye that mocks a father and scorns to obey a mother will be picked out by the ravens of the valley and eaten by the vultures.

Proverbs 31:10-31 10 An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above jewels. 11 The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. 12 She does him good and not evil all the days of her life. 13 She looks for wool and flax and works with her hands in delight. 14 She is like merchant ships. She brings her food from afar. 15 She rises also while it is still night and gives food to her household and portions to her maidens. 16 She considers a field and buys it. From her earnings she plants a vineyard. 17 She girds herself with strength and makes her arms strong. 18 She senses that her gain is good. Her lamp does not go out at night. 19 She stretches out her hands to the distaff, and her hands grasp the spindle. 20 She extends her hand to the poor, and she stretches out her hands to the needy. 21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household, for all her household are clothed with scarlet. 22 She makes coverings for herself. Her clothing is fine linen and purple. 23 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sits among the elders of the land. 24 She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies belts to the tradesmen. 25 Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she smiles at the future. 26 She opens her mouth in wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. 27 She looks well to the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness. 28 Her children rise up and bless her. Her husband also, and he praises her, saying: 29 Many daughters have done nobly, but you excel them all. 30 Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears Yahweh, she shall be praised. 31 Give her the product of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.

Song of Solomon 8:2 2 I would lead you and bring you into the house of my mother— she who used to teach me.

Isaiah 66:10-13 10 Rejoice with [Jerusalem] in joy, all you who mourn over her, 11 that you may nurse and be satisfied from her consoling breast, that you may drink deeply with delight from her glorious abundance. 12 For thus says Yahweh: Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the nations like an overflowing stream. And you shall nurse, you shall be carried upon her hip, and bounced upon her knees. 13 As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you. You shall be comforted in Jerusalem.

Micah 7:6 6 The son treats the father with contempt, the daughter rises up against her mother, the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. A man’s enemies are the men of his own house.

Zechariah 13:3 3 If anyone again prophesies [falsely], his father and mother who bore him will say to him, You shall not live, for you speak lies in the name of Yahweh. And his father and mother who bore him shall pierce him through when he prophesies.

Matthew 2:11 11 Going into the house, [the shepherds] saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him.

Matthew 10:35 35 I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.

Matthew 10:37 37 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me.

Matthew 12:48-50 48 [Jesus] replied to the man who told him, Who is my mother, and who are my brothers? 49 And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, Here are my mother and my brothers! 50 For whoever does the desire of my Father in heaven is my brother, sister, and mother.

Matthew 14:8 8 Prompted by her mother, [Herodias] said, Give me the head of John the Baptist here on a platter.

Matthew 15:4-6 4 God commanded, Honor your father and your mother, and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die. 5 But you say, If anyone tells his father or his mother, What you would have gained from me is given to God, 6 he need not honor his father. So for the sake of your tradition you have made void the word of God.

Matthew 19:29 29 Everyone who has left houses, brothers, sisters, father, mother, children, or lands for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life.

Matthew 23:37 37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!

Luke 2:19 19 Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.

Luke 2:51 51 [Jesus] went down with [Joseph and Mary] and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart.

Luke 11:27-28 27 A woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to [Jesus], Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts at which you nursed! 28 But he said, Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!

Luke 12:53 53 They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.

Luke 14:26 26 If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father, mother, wife, children, brothers, and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.

John 16:21 21 When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world.

John 19:26-27 26 When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, Woman, behold, your son! 27 Then he said to the disciple, Behold, your mother! And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.

Ephesians 6:1-3 1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 Honor your father and mother (this is the first commandment with a promise), 3 that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.

1 Thessalonians 2:7 7 We were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children.

1 Timothy 2:12-15 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man. Rather, she is to remain quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. 15 Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love, and holiness, with self-control.

1 Timothy 5:1-2 1 Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father, younger men as brothers, 2 older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, in all purity.

1 Timothy 5:9-10 9 Let a widow be enrolled if she is not less than sixty years of age, having been the wife of one husband, 10 and having a reputation for good works: if she has brought up children, has shown hospitality, has washed the feet of the saints, has cared for the afflicted, and has devoted herself to every good work.

2 Timothy 1:5 5 I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well.

Titus 2:3-5 3 Older women…are to teach what is good, 4 and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.


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