Verses About Motherhood in the Bible
Below is a list of Bible verses about mothers. The list is based on the Holman Christian Standard Bible and isn’t exhaustive, but it does represent ways “mother” is used or how mothers are perceived in the Bible. We have grouped the verses in some basic categories and, in some cases, have provided some brief commentary that may be helpful. You can download a PDF here that contains the same verses and commentary. You can find a list of all Mother’s Day activities here.
You can also see a list of the types of free, printable Bible activities we provide on the site.
For other related activities, see the links at the bottom of the page.
Mothers Are A Blessing
The following verses underscore that mothers and/or our respect for mothers will bring blessing to our lives.
Honor your father and your mother so that you may have a long life in the land that the Lord your God is giving you. (Exodus 20:12 HCSB)
Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and so that you may prosper in the land the Lord your God is giving you. (Deuteronomy 5:16 HCSB)
Honor your father and mother, which is the first commandment with a promise, (Ephesians 6:2 HCSB)
This commandment (Exodus 20:12) was given to Moses as one of the Ten Commandments and then reiterated by Moses in Deuteronomy and Paul in his letter to the Ephesian church. The commandment (and promise) was given before the Israelites entered the Promised Land, but the commandments were intended to help them settle the land and live prosperously there. Here we see God’s promise to the Israelites (and us) that honor and respect for our parents is essential to living a full life under His direction.
Each year his mother made him a little robe and took it to him when she went with her husband to offer the annual sacrifice. (1 Samuel 2:19 HCSB)
There are many examples of mothers who were a blessing to their children. In this instance Hannah had prayed God would give her a son and she promised he would be dedicated to the Lord’s service in the Lord’s house. God honored her prayer and Samuel was born. True to her word, Hannah allowed Samuel to live at and serve in the Lord’s house. Each year she would visit and would take Samuel “a little robe.” The robe was merely an example of her commitment to see that Samuel was separated to the Lord. It was really her love for Samuel and her determination to honor her promise to God that made her a great blessing in Samuel’s life.
Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction, and don’t reject your mother’s teaching. (Proverbs 1:8 HCSB)
My son, keep your father’s command, and don’t reject your mother’s teaching. (Proverbs 6:20 HCSB)
Twice in Proverbs young men are encouraged to honor their parents by observing his “father’s instruction” or “command” and to not “reject” his “mother’s teaching.” These proverbs underscore the blessing that can come from the maturity and wisdom of a mother. Implied in these proverbs is wisdom that comes from the experience of age.
The words of King Lemuel, an oracle that his mother taught him:… Who can find a capable wife? She is far more precious than jewels… Her sons rise up and call her blessed. Her husband also praises her: (Proverbs 31:1, 10, 28 HCSB)
The “virtuous wife” of Proverbs 31 is often used as an example of the godly wife and mother. These brief excerpts from Proverbs 31 also point to the blessing that such a woman can be to her husband and children. So much so that they “rise up and call her blessed.” Certainly the children of a godly mother are highly blessed!
Although we could have been a burden as Christ’s apostles, instead we were gentle among you, as a nursing mother nurtures her own children. (1 Thessalonians 2:7 HCSB)
Paul wrote to the Thessalonian church and reminded them of his tender care toward them. In the process he affirmed the nearly universal nurture that mothers provide their children. Such nurture is an essential blessing children receive from their mothers.
A Mother’s Apron Strings
These verses remind us that a mother is part of the natural cycle of raising children only to let them go so they can become parents themselves. Mothers love us and instruct us, then they “cut the apron strings” and we move forward to establish a new home.
This is why a man leaves his father and mother and bonds with his wife, and they become one flesh. (Genesis 2:24 HCSB)
God makes it clear early in Genesis that he intends for the husband to “leave his father and mother” in order to “bond” with his wife. This is a healthy and God-ordained transition in life. We are not to stay under the care of our mothers forever. At some point she must let her children go. If she has done a good job, they will be ready to establish a new family and become parents themselves.
Then He went down with them and came to Nazareth and was obedient to them. His mother kept all these things in her heart. (Luke 2:51 HCSB)
Mary and Joseph had taken Jesus to Jerusalem when he was 12 to observe a feast. Assuming he was in the caravan, they started the journey home only to discover he was not there. They returned and found Jesus three days later talking with the teachers in the temple. These must have been difficult days for Mary. Where was her son? Apparently Jesus was perfectly comfortable engaging the teachers, but Mary wasn’t so ready to let him spend his days in Jerusalem at the age of 12. Nonetheless, Mary “kept all these things in her heart.” She knew the day would come that Jesus would be on his own and out from under her watchful eye. No doubt the day would come sooner than she hoped.
Caution Against Disrespecting our Mothers
The Bible often cautions us against showing disrespect to our mothers. The penalty for such behavior could, in fact, be quite severe. Here are some verses that should give us reason to think twice about the way we treat our mothers.
Whoever curses his father or his mother must be put to death. (Exodus 21:17 HCSB)
If anyone curses his father or mother, he must be put to death. He has cursed his father or mother; his blood is on his own hands. (Leviticus 20:9 HCSB)
If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who does not obey his father or mother and doesn’t listen to them even after they discipline him, his father and mother must take hold of him and bring him to the elders of his city, to the gate of his hometown. They will say to the elders of his city, ‘This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious; he doesn’t obey us. He’s a glutton and a drunkard.’ Then all the men of his city will stone him to death. You must purge the evil from you, and all Israel will hear and be afraid. (Deuteronomy 21:18-21 HCSB)
The one who dishonors his father or mother is cursed.’ And all the people will say, ‘Amen!’ (Deuteronomy 27:16 HCSB)
We live in a day when disrespectful behavior toward others is a norm and we become insensitive to it. And while such drastic consequences as those above may seem extreme to us, we should allow these verses to remind us just how seriously God takes disrespectful behavior toward our parents. God’s plan has always placed a priority on family relationships and the need to maintain healthy families so they can foster and pass along biblical faith. Disrespect within the family threatens the transmission of biblical faith. God clearly despises such behavior.
A wise son brings joy to his father, but a foolish son, heartache to his mother. (Proverbs 10:1 HCSB)
A wise son brings joy to his father, but a foolish man despises his mother. (Proverbs 15:20 HCSB)
The one who assaults his father and evicts his mother is a disgraceful and shameful son. (Proverbs 19:26 HCSB)
Whoever curses his father or mother — his lamp will go out in deep darkness. (Proverbs 20:20 HCSB)
Listen to your father who gave you life, and don’t despise your mother when she is old. (Proverbs 23:22 HCSB)
Let your father and mother have joy, and let her who gave birth to you rejoice. (Proverbs 23:25 HCSB)
A rod of correction imparts wisdom, but a youth left to himself is a disgrace to his mother. (Proverbs 29:15 HCSB)
As for the eye that ridicules a father and despises obedience to a mother, may ravens of the valley pluck it out and young vultures eat it. (Proverbs 30:17 HCSB)
The Negative Influence of a Mother
There are many instances where a mother influenced her child for better or for worse. Here are two examples of negative influence.
He walked in the ways of the house of Ahab, for his mother gave him evil advice. (2 Chronicles 22:3 HCSB)
Ahab was considered among the most evil of Israel’s kings. The “he” of this verse is Ahaziah, king of Judah. His mother was Athaliah. Athaliah was either the daughter or possibly the sister of Ahab and she carried the idolatry of Ahab to Judah’s court and her son, Ahaziah. This is a sad example of a mother who counseled her son wickedly.
But when Herod’s birthday celebration came, Herodias’s daughter danced before them and pleased Herod. So he promised with an oath to give her whatever she might ask. And prompted by her mother, she answered, “Give me John the Baptist’s head here on a platter! ” Although the king regretted it, he commanded that it be granted because of his oaths and his guests. So he sent orders and had John beheaded in the prison. His head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, who carried it to her mother. (Matthew 14:6-11 HCSB)
This is another sad example of a mother’s evil influence. Herodias, the wife of Herod, encouraged her daughter to ask for John the Baptist’s head, literally on a platter. Such depravity is hard to comprehend, but her influence over her daughter is equally depraved.
The Mother of Jesus
The Bible doesn’t deify Mary, the mother of Jesus, but it does give us a good look into her life through some interesting events. Here are just a few.
How could this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? (Luke 1:43 HCSB)
Mary had recently learned she would bear Jesus by conception of the Holy Spirit. Her relative, Elizabeth, was also pregnant with John the Baptist. When Mary visited Elizabeth, Elizabeth rejoiced and expressed wonder that she might be in the presence of the Messiah’s mother. This is a sweet record of a beautiful encounter between two new mothers, both of whom were blessed of God and responded with humble obedience.
Then Simeon blessed them and told His mother Mary: “Indeed, this child is destined to cause the fall and rise of many in Israel and to be a sign that will be opposed — and a sword will pierce your own soul — that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” (Luke 2:34-35 HCSB)
While Jesus was still a baby, Joseph and Mary took him to the temple in Jerusalem to “present Him to the Lord.” While they were there they encountered a man named Simeon who had been waiting for the Messiah. When Simeon saw Jesus he prophesied concerning him, but also included Mary in the prophecy, indicating that her “own soul” would be wounded as if by a “sword.” This is a reference to Jesus’ terrible crucifixion. Mary was human, just like all mothers. We can only imagine the pain she experienced watching Jesus die on the cross. Such is the love of a mother.
“Do whatever He tells you,” His mother told the servants. (John 2:5 HCSB)
The first recorded miracle of Jesus in the Gospel of John occurred when Mary, the mother of Jesus, informed Jesus that there was no wine at a wedding in Cana. Her statement implied he should do something about it. Jesus resisted, but his mother apparently ignored his objection and told the servants present to “do whatever He tells you.” Jesus then turned the water into wine. It’s a beautiful demonstration of the earthly influence Mary exercised in the life of our eternal Savior.
Standing by the cross of Jesus were His mother, His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw His mother and the disciple He loved standing there, He said to His mother, “Woman, here is your son.” Then He said to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home. (John 19:25-27 HCSB)
Jesus was the Messiah, the promised “seed” of Genesis 3:15, the King of kings, and the Son of God. As he hung bleeding on the cross, Jesus was the sacrificial lamb of God giving his life for the world. And yet, in this most crucial moment in all of history, Jesus takes time to care for his beloved mother, Mary. He knew that following his resurrection he would have to relate to Mary as the risen Lord, not as her earthly son. So, in this time of excruciating pain, Jesus assigns to John, the “disciple Jesus loved,” the care of his mother. Even here, Jesus demonstrates respect and honor for this amazing woman, his sweet mother.
Mother’s Day is a time when we typically recognize the value of our mothers both in our homes and churches. This is a good thing and reflects the honorable place the Bible holds for women blessed and called by God to be mothers. The free, printable activities and other resources we have gathered related to Mothers can be used to instill in children the great place of honor God has given to this role.