Why did Jesus call Mary 'woman' instead of mother?

Scripture: John 19:26
Why did Jesus call Mary woman instead of mother? The term woman used to address a female today sounds disrespectful, but a better translation today might be madam or some other term of respect.
When you post, you agree to the terms and conditions of our comments policy.
If you have a Bible question for Pastor Doug Batchelor or the Amazing Facts Bible answer team, please submit it by clicking here. Due to staff size, we are unable to answer Bible questions posted in the comments.
To help maintain a Christian environment, we closely moderate all comments.

  1. Please be patient. We strive to approve comments the day they are made, but please allow at least 24 hours for your comment to appear. Comments made on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday may not be approved until the following Monday.

  2. Comments that include name-calling, profanity, harassment, ridicule, etc. will be automatically deleted and the invitation to participate revoked.

  3. Comments containing URLs outside the family of Amazing Facts websites will not be approved.

  4. Comments containing telephone numbers or email addresses will not be approved.

  5. Comments off topic may be deleted.

  6. Please do not comment in languages other than English.

Please note: Approved comments do not constitute an endorsement by the ministry of Amazing Facts or by Pastor Doug Batchelor. This website allows dissenting comments and beliefs, but our comment sections are not a forum for ongoing debate.

Caller:  I wonder why Jesus never called his mother ‘Mother’ He always called her ‘woman’.  From the cross there in John 19, He always called her ‘woman’.

Pastor Doug:  Keep in mind, that’s the King James translation of that phrase ‘woman’ in our language it sounds almost derogatory—it sounds like a motorcycle biker talking to his motorcycle mama—hey, woman, come here.  But we don’t understand that that word in Hebrew means ‘madam’.  It was a term of respect.  You know, Jesus said to the woman caught in adultery, ‘Woman, where are your accusers?’  Well, He wasn’t talking down to her. 

He was actually addressing her with respect.  So when Jesus said to his mother, while He hung on the cross, ‘Woman, behold your son’, ‘Son, behold your mother’, it was a term of respect.  In our language—you know how terms change with every generation? Like, you know, fifty years ago you tell someone you’re happy and gay—it had a whole different meaning than it has now.  So back in 1611 Woman was a term of respect. 

Share a Prayer Request
Ask a Bible Question



Prayer Request:

Share a Prayer Request


Bible Question:

Ask a Bible Question