Holy Mothers (and One Unholy Grandmother) –

The Four Most Important Women Who Never Lived

The Virtuous Woman
Israel: An Adulterous Wife
The Church: Bride of Christ

Other Mothers

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Proverbs 8, Wisdom

After I sent you the TOME on the Trinity, Pastor Clyde very kindly gave me a book on the topic, The Trinity and the Kingdom, by Jurgen Moltmann.  Herr Professor Doctor Moltmann is a very distinguished, very scholarly, very German theologian.  This is the hardest book I have read since Honors Physics back in 1968.  I understand about every tenth sentence, and that's the English.  Whenever he gets to a really important concept, it's in Latin.  Who knows what that means? Nevertheless, once in a while there is a sentence so beautiful, so insightful, and so clear that the rest of the work is worth it.
The lady we are studying today, Wisdom, is a personification of the wisdom of God.  Normally we see Wisdom personified as a woman.  Moltmann makes some interesting points about her.  He says, "Proverbs 8 talk about the Wisdom of God as if it were a person with its own consciousness and will.  It is more than simply one of Yahweh's 'characteristics.'" Wisdom is "God's beloved before time began."  In the book Wisdom (my favorite of the apocryphal books), Wisdom is also called "the image of his goodness."  Moltmann says that in some ways Wisdom seems to be identical with God's "Spirit," but at the same time it is separate.  To me, one good indicator of this separateness is what Wisdom says about her own beginnings:  she was the first of God's acts; she was set up; she was brought forth.  Note the difference between Wisdom and Jesus, who "was with God and was God" from the beginning. 
Mostly I love the way Wisdom calls us out of ignorance and trouble, like a mother calling her children.
Proverbs 31:10-31, The Virtuous Woman

The perfect wife is far from subservient; she is far from chattel.  Instead, she plans, buys and sells property and goods, works, directs other workers, teaches her kids by word and example, runs her household, and supports her husband in his business affairs.  She is way above my standard, but this is good, because she sets an example that I can aspire to.  She is far more precious than jewels.

Jeremiah 3:8-9, 5:7. 7:9, 13:27, 23:23; Ezekiel 16:17,32, 23:37; Hosea 4:13-14, 5:3, 6:10, Israel: An Adulterous Wife

Israel, as we all remember, was the name God assigned to Jacob after they wrestled all night.  Nevertheless, God's people "Israel" is often personified as a woman, generally as the adulterous wife of God.  (On two occasions, Israel is personified as a son; Exodus 4:22; Hosea 11:1.)  How does a personification - or, for that matter, a nation - commit adultery?  By whoring after other gods.  Remember in John 8 when Jesus accuses the Jews of doing the works of their father?  In the discussion, it's clear that he is talking about evil works, and they immediately respond, "What the heck are you talking about? We aren't the children of adultery!"  This can be a bit of a puzzle if you don't already know that they are "the children of Israel," and when Israel worships other gods (e.g., idols made out of stone or wood) it's considered to be whoring and adultery. 
Revelation 19:5-10, 21:1-4, 21:9-14, 22:16-17, The Church: Bride of Christ

Just as the Old Testament personifies Israel as the wife of GOD, the tradition of the Church is that the New Testament (in Revelation) personifies the Church as the bride of Christ.  The bride is New Jerusalem, the purified and holy city of God.  Note that the Church and the United Methodist Church are not synonymous.  In fact, the Church is not any denomination.  Instead it is the entirety of the body of Christian believers, what used to be routinely called "Christendom."  Now you more often hear "Christians," but that loses a lot of the meaning.  "Christians" denotes a group of individual believers; "Christendom" is the body, or perhaps the bride, of Christ, and we're all in it together.

Other Mothers
Rachel and Leah
Women Who Expected Miracles
Mary and Elizabeth
UMW in Bible Times

Copyright 2008, 2011 by Regina L. Hunter.  All rights reserved.

Opinions expressed on this page are solely those of the author, Regina Hunter, and may or may not be shared by the sponsors or the Bible-study participants.  Thanks to the Holy Spirit for any useful ideas presented here, and thanks to all the readers for their support and enthusiasm.  All errors are, of course, the sole responsibility of the author.

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