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Lessons From 8 Godly Mothers In the Bible

woman holding infant

There are a great variety of stories of faithful mothers in the Scriptures. Focusing on these godly mothers in the Bible can show us the qualities God truly values in a mother.

I’ve chosen eight different mothers from the Bible to write about. Each shows us a different set of characteristics of a faithful mother. We can see how God led each of them through her unique situation, and how he still speaks to us today about godly motherhood.

What Is A Godly Mother?

In short, she is a mother who loves, obeys, and depends on God for the care and raising of her children. She looks to God for guidance and direction as she brings them up.

There is no exact pattern of what a godly mother should do or act like, and no two are the same. Each mother is an original, one-of-a-kind woman with her own set of characteristics and circumstances.

And even godly mothers are far from perfect. They don’t always do the right thing, they make mistakes, and they let their emotions get the better of them at times.

Some Examples Of Godly Mothers In The Bible

There are many women in the Bible who we can learn from. Every believing mother we read about has something to teach us (we can even learn from the non-believers that the Scripture writers tell us about, but I’ll save them for another time). 

Naomi, The Mother-In-Law Of Ruth

NAOMI was the mother of two sons and was, therefore, the mother-in-law of the women they both married. Naomi’s husband, Elimelech, moved his family during a famine, from Bethlehem of Judah to the country of Moab, where food was more plentiful. 

While they were living there, Naomi and Elimelech’s sons married Moabite women. Now, God had told the Israelites not to marry foreign women, because the people of their country were idol worshipers. But this was their home now, and the only women to marry were Moabites. 

After living ten years in Moab, Naomi’s husband died, and then both of her sons died, too, with no children. We are not told the causes of their death, so, we can only guess whether they died from plague, war, or another cause. Naomi, in her grief, decided she needed to return to her native home, as she had heard that the famine in Judah was over. 

Ruth and Orpah, her daughters-in-law prepared to go with her. But as they started out on foot, Naomi encouraged both of them to go home to their own parents. She knew how hard it would be for them, as foreigners, once they reached Israelite territory. And she knew she would have little or nothing to offer them. 

Orpah finally tore herself away from Naomi, to return to her parents’ home. But Ruth refused to leave Naomi. She insisted that she would go wherever Naomi went, and said, in her rather famous speech, “…For wherever you go, I will go, and wherever you live, I will live; your people will be my people, and your God will be my God…” (from Ruth 1:16)

It is obvious that the relationships between Naomi and her daughters-in-law were good. As I picture their household, it seems that although Naomi and her sons and husband were Israelites, forbidden to intermarry with the heathen nations, they must have welcomed these wives of their sons into their home. I can picture Naomi gently teaching them the ways and traditions of God’s people, nurturing these new wives and genuinely caring for them. Why else would these girls want to go with her? 

In the end, only Ruth went, but she was loyal and loving in providing for Naomi, who was sick with the grief of her losses, defeated, and uprooted from her home of over ten years.

Naomi’s acceptance of her sons’ wives won them over and made fertile ground for a loving and trusting relationship. Her acceptance of them, in turn, made way for opportunities to teach them, as true daughters, the beliefs and laws of the Israelite people they had married into. 

The story of Naomi and Ruth is told in the Book of Ruth and has a happy ending for both of them. In fact, the heathen Moabite, Ruth, became a mother herself and is listed in the Bible as one of the few women who is actually named in the lineage of Jesus himself. 

See Ruth 1-4

lessons from godly mothers in the Bible

Moses’ Mother Jochabed, And Midwives Shiphrah, and Puah

The next three women all lived under the oppression of the Egyptian nation. At one time, the Israelites lived among the Egyptians and were highly respected because of an alliance between the two nations due to an Israelite named Joseph, who became a high-ranking official in the Egyptian government. 

Sadly, after a change of kings (Pharaohs), the nation of Egypt became afraid of how quickly the Israelites were multiplying and how powerful they might become. The Pharaoh decided to put taskmasters over them and force them into labor. So, they became slaves to Egypt. 

When the Israelites continued to multiply in spite of the cruel treatment, the Pharaoh commanded the Israelite midwives to kill all male children who were born but to let the females live. 

The two of midwives, SHIPHRAH and PUAH, disobeyed the Pharaoh and refused to murder the babies. They knew the Lord’s commandments and chose to obey Yahweh rather than an evil king. 

But the slaves’ numbers continued to increase until they were outnumbering the Egyptians. Then Pharaoh gave the command that all male newborns were to be “set out” and exposed to the elements so that they would die. 

During this time, the baby Moses was born. His mother, JOCHABED, hid him until he was three months old, and she could no longer conceal him. So she, in faith, put him in a basket of reeds and set him out on the Nile River, trusting God to take care of him.

Moses was found in his basket by the daughter of the Pharoah and taken to be raised in the palace as her own son. And his mother was hired to raise him until he was weaned, which for Israelite children was usually sometime between the ages of three and five.  

The midwives were Moses’ first line of defense, as he was being born and immediately afterward. They did what they could to protect him by sparing his life, even though he wasn’t the child of either of them.

Exodus 1:20-21 tells us that “God was good to the midwives, and the people multiplied and became very numerous. Since the midwives feared God, he gave them families.” So these two mothers had a huge part in preserving Moses for God’s purposes. 

Moses’ mother was a faithful woman who saw something special about her newborn and decided to let God decide whether he lived or died. Letting go and releasing her helpless baby child was most likely the hardest thing she ever did, but she released him completely to Yahweh.

And if you read the rest of the story, you will see how Yahweh truly did have a special purpose in mind for Moses and he brought him late in his life to the ultimate purpose he had for him to do. His mother was a true hero and saved the life of the man who would one day lead Israel out of captivity. 

See Exodus 1 and 2, Acts 7:20-21

lessons from godly mothers in the Bible

Jehosheba

JEHOSHEBA (sometimes known as Jehoshabeath) was not only the wife of Jehoiada, the high priest in Judah during the time of the reign of King Ahaziah, but she was also the sister of the king. 

When a plot to murder the king succeeded, the Queen Mother, Athaliah wanted to become the sole ruler of Judah. So she schemed to have every one of the royal heirs killed to ensure that she would be the reigning queen. One of these heirs was her own grandson, Joash, the one-year-old son of the king. 

But Jehosheba, the murdered king’s sister, saw what was happening and rescued her nephew Joash. Jehosheba gathered up the infant and hid him and his nurse in a bedroom in the temple of the Lord for six years. 

Jehosheba was not the boy’s mother, and we don’t know if she had children of her own. What we do know is that she saved the young prince and put her own life and the life of her husband at risk in order to save the young prince, then raised him in secret to protect his life and to present him as the king of Judah when the time was right.

But this was all part of God’s plan, because not only was Joash the only living heir to the throne, he was also the only living male in the line of King David and he was also in the lineage of Jesus, the Messiah. 

After the six years that Joash remained hidden, Jehoiada the High Priest planned an intricate takeover and Joash was crowned king at the age of seven. The Bible says he did what was right in the sight of the Lord and reigned for forty years. 

If it was not for Jehosheba, Joash would have been murdered as an infant. Jehosheba hid him where he was most unlikely to be found by the evil Athaliah – in the temple of the Living God. She hid him and mothered him as she would her own child, caring for him, nurturing him, and teaching him in order to prepare him well for the life of a king. She was prepared to give her life to spare his. 

See 2 Kings 1:1-12:1, 2 Chronicles 22:10-24:1

lessons from godly mothers in the Bible

Mary, The Mother Of Jesus

When thinking of the godly mothers in the Bible, MARY, the mother of Jesus would be the first to come to my mind. Mary was just a young girl when she was visited by the angel, Gabriel, announcing to her that she of all women was chosen to be the mother of the long-promised Messiah of her people. 

This announcement came at what looked from a worldly viewpoint to be the worst possible time. Mary was betrothed to a man named Joseph, and if she became pregnant with another man, Joseph had the right to have her put to death.

Mary accepted Yahweh’s plan, sent by the angel, and was told briefly how this miracle from God would come about. He also told her that her cousin Elizabeth was 6 months pregnant due to another miracle. 

Mary’s response was, “See, I am the Lord’s servant. May it happen to me as you have said.” Such a faithful girl, ready to become a faithful mother, no matter what was to come. 

Joseph also had a visit from an angel, and he chose not to put her to shame, but to marry her and to go through whatever life with the earthly mother of Christ would bring, as he raised Jesus as his own son. 

And so, Mary became the earthly mother of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God. She raised him, all the while knowing who he was, but not knowing how his life would play out and how his title, Messiah, would be fulfilled. 

She believed and obeyed God without knowing what she would go through because of her faith. She would learn that God always keeps his promises and that doing his will is not always the “safe” way, but the right and true choice. 

We can see from reading about Mary, that she was a gentle and thoughtful woman who loved her God and had an unshakeable faith. Mary kept the words of the angel close to her heart and I’m guessing she never forgot one of them, especially his last sentence: “For nothing will be impossible with God.”. 

See Matthew 1:18-2:23, Luke 1:26-2:52, John 19:25-27

lessons from godly mothers in the Bible

Eunice And Lois, Timothy’s Mother And Grandmother

In 2 Timothy 1:5 Paul writes, “I recall your sincere faith that first lived in your grandmother LOIS and in your mother EUNICE and now, I am convinced, is in you also”. The mother of Timothy is spoken of briefly in the Scriptures, but we are told that she was a Jewish woman who had somehow ended up marrying a Greek. 

Acts 16:1 tells us that Timothy was a disciple and we are told that his mother was a believing Jewish woman, which indicates that she had become a believer in Christ. Eunice and Lois’ conversions may have taken place during one of Paul’s previous visits to the area

We know nothing of Timothy’s father, except that he was a Greek. We can’t know if he was living or present in Timothy’s upbringing, but we do know that Timothy’s Jewish mother became a Christian and raised him in the faith during a time when it wasn’t popular or easy to be a Believer, especially one who had first been a Jew.

Timothy became a missionary and worked with Paul, who refers to Timothy as his “dearly loved son”, Paul was a father figure and mentor to Timothy, and they were a valuable team as they introduced Christianity to the Gentiles.

Eunice and Lois were obviously strong godly women. Eunice prevailed and raised her son according to her beliefs, and I imagine she found great reward in the occupation her son chose, as a contemporary of Paul and a missionary to the Gentiles.  

See 2 Timothy 1:5 and Acts 16:1

What Are The Qualities Of A Godly Mother?

There are no set rules for qualities that godly mothers must have in order to raise godly children. The following is a brief list of several of the qualities most godly mothers have.

  • A godly mother trusts God with her children, realizing that his love for them is even stronger than her own.
  • A godly mother loves her children unconditionally. 
  • A godly mother prays for her children
  • A godly mother believes in the saving grace of Jesus and strives for her children to have a personal relationship with him. 
  • A godly mother nurtures her child, not only in body, but spiritually as well.
  • A godly mother teaches her children about God by example.
  • A godly mother teaches her children right from wrong and disciplines them accordingly. 
  • A godly mother is supportive of her children, but if they are leaning toward sin, she follows godly principles to guide them on the right path in love. 
lessons from godly mothers in the Bible

Godly Mothers Are Not Perfect Mothers

Wow. As I write about these important qualities, I can easily see places I feel like I was lacking as a mother. Please use these examples and qualities as something to strive for, not something to belittle yourself with.

If your children are grown and you feel you were not a godly mother while raising them, ask God to point out where you fell short and ask for His forgiveness in those areas. You may also be able to talk to your grown children about these things and ask their forgiveness. 

We so often see the negative in ourselves, and take less notice of our own positive qualities. So, it’s possible that your children never noticed many of the times you think you failed at godly mothering. 

These examples of faithful mothers in the Bible are only a few of the women we can read about and learn from in God’s Word.

Everything in the Bible is just what God wants us to know, so although I often wish he had given us more detail about some things, I trust that he knows what he’s doing. He has told us just as much as we need and not a word more, for his own reasons, whatever they may be. 

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