What does the Bible say about motherhood?

The Bible has a great deal to say about motherhood. It views mothers in high regard.  In fact, there are even scriptures where God himself as compared to motherhood. But, first, we need to understand that motherhood, like fatherhood, is an expression of the character and nature of God.

Gen: 1:27, “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” 

In this verse, we see that the full image of God revealed in both male and female genders.  This expression is for several purposes.  Let's look at four of them, though this list is not exhaustive.

  1. To fulfill the creation mandate
  2. To provide great men of God
  3. To provide great women of God
  4. Two provide the Messiah

The Creation Mandate

The creation mandate is the command of God for mankind to take dominion over the earth. We find this revealed in the beginning of the book of Genesis.

Genesis 1:26–28, "Then God said, 'Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.'"

Alone, man cannot accomplish what God has decreed for them. Alone, men will fail in the creation mandate. It is necessary for women to exist and, therefore, motherhood as well, to provide offspring, so that is mankind spread throughout the world, it can properly, with reverential dominion, rule over the birds of the sky and the cattle of the earth.

To provide great men of God

This article is not intended to list all of the great men of God found in Scripture. But, we know such men whom God has used. There is no, the deliverer of the remnant of the godly. We see that God called Abraham the father of a great multitude. We encounter Moses, who is the bringer of the Law. We see David, who was a king after God's own heart and an ancestor of Jesus. And finally, we see Jesus himself, the Messiah.

To provide great women of God

Just as there are great men of God found in Scripture there are also great women. The first woman, the first mother, was Eve and so we can call her the mother of mankind. We see Rachel a matriarch and mother of Joseph, who was a slave in Egypt. There is Deborah, who was a righteous judge of Israel. We find Ruth the great, great grandmother of David. And of course, there is Mary, the mother of Jesus. This short paragraph is in no way sufficient to plumb the depths of the greatness of motherhood found in Scripture. But, it is obvious that women played a key role in redemptive history in Scripture.

To provide the Messiah

The prophecy of the Old Testament in Genesis 3:15 is the first mention of the deliverer. It occurs after the fall of Adam and Eve.

Genesis 3:15, "And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel."

Of course, we realize that ultimately it was Mary who gave birth to Jesus, and so the prophecy in Genesis could be fulfilled.  It is through the birth of Christ that we can find redemption, the forgiveness of our sins. It is only through the birth of the Messiah and his subsequent death on the cross where he paid for our sins (1 Peter 2:24), that we can find salvation.

Woman in God's Image

Believe it or not, motherhood is an expression of the image of God. We find many verses in the Scriptures where God is compared to or related to motherhood. Also, what are typically considered more "feminine" characteristics such as comforting, gathering nurturing, etc., are also ascribed to God.  Let's take a look

  1. Comforts as a mother, Isaiah 66:13, "As one whom his mother comforts, so I [God] will comfort you; and you will be comforted in Jerusalem.”
  2. Protects as a mother bear, Hosea 13:8, "I [God] will encounter them like a bear robbed of her cubs, And I will tear open their chests. There I will also devour them like a lioness, as a wild beast would tear them."
  3. Gathers as a mother hen, Luke 13:34, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, just as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not have it!"
  4. Mother eagle, Deuteronomy 32:11-12, "Like an eagle that stirs up its nest, That hovers over its young, He spread His wings and caught them, He carried them on His pinions. 12 The LORD alone guided him, And there was no foreign god with him."
  5. Mother in labor, Isaiah 42:14, "I have kept silent for a long time, I have kept still and restrained Myself. Now like a woman in labor I will groan, I will both gasp and pant."
  6. Giving birth to the nation of Israel, Deuteronomy 32:18, "You neglected the Rock who begot you, and forgot the God who gave you birth."
  7. Nursing mother, Isaiah 49:15, "Can a woman forget her nursing child and have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, but I will not forget you."
  8. A Mother, Psalm 131:1-3, "O LORD, my heart is not proud, nor my eyes bhaughty; Nor do I involve myself in great matters, or in things too difficult for me. 2 Surely I have composed and quieted my soul. Like a weaned child rests against his mother, my soul is like a weaned child within me. 3 O Israel, hope in the LORD from this time forth and forever.

The heart of motherhood

Motherhood is not merely a biological function. Motherhood comes from the heart of a woman, put there by God.There are all kinds of mothers. There Are those who have given birth to children and those who have not. There are those who have lost children and those who have adopted children. There are those who have loved and nurtured the children of others. But all mothers exemplify the beautiful quality of love. They nurtured, guard, love. True mothers are patient and kind and possess a way of touching the very heart's other children. 

The best mother is a Christian mother who is patient, kind, is not jealous, does not brag, and is not arrogant. She does not seek her own comfort at the expense of her children. She is not provoked by spilled milk or the scribble of crayons on the wall. She quickly forgets their crying, their dirty diapers, and their constant needs. The best mothers are those Christian women who pour out their lives for their children and who with incredible patience give of themselves as a pointer children to the Lord Jesus.

So, motherhood is not merely a biological function. It is an attitude of love, sacrifice, and nurturing that so naturally manifests in the feminine gender.


About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.