I’m always surprised when I hear someone say they don’t think the Bible has much to say about parenting. Since God originally created the family unit, it should follow that He would want to instruct mothers and fathers how to raise their own families for generations to come.
God’s model for passing on the faith and building His Kingdom is primarily through the family. As we raise our children to know and love the Lord, we are increasing the chances of potential Christ followers who will live out the Gospel and continue raising a godly seed.
The truth is, God’s Word is packed full of verses about the teaching, training and discipline of children! Throughout Scripture we see, over and over, His directives to raise kids who are wise, obedient, and honorable.
In fact, the Book of Proverbs alone contains several scriptures that give us the knowledge we need to parent well and be good stewards of these blessings God has entrusted to us. Here are seven of them to start putting into practice today:
Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.
This is the hallmark quote of Christian parenting. But many of us don’t really know what it means, or how to apply it. What are we training children in and for anyway?
Kids are naturally bent on going their own way, so they need us to train them to walk in the path of righteousness. Their hearts need to be trained to obey. They need character training in the areas of humility, attentiveness, responsibility, selflessness, etc. They need training in the spiritual disciplines of prayer, service, and Bible study. Most of all, they need to be trained to love the Lord with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength.
Once they’ve been properly trained, their inclination will be to act, think and respond in a godly way when they’re older, rather than according to the world. That training you invested in during their younger years will set them on a firm foundation they won’t be likely to stray from.
Those who spare the rod of discipline hate their children. Those who love their children care enough to discipline them.
Let me start off by saying that I understand this verse has been used to justify harshness and even abuse. God would never advocate or endorse the beating of children. “The rod” in this context is primarily an instrument of correction and guidance. However, it was better to strike a lamb’s weak legs than to let it veer off the path into danger (Proverbs 23:13).
So while the rod wasn’t necessarily used to inflict pain, it was used firmly and consistently. Too many of us approach discipline flippantly and treat obedience from our children as optional. Ignoring direct disobedience can make a child vulnerable to an ongoing spirit of rebellion. If we love our kids, we will save them from the ruin of an undisciplined life.
Discipline your children while there is hope. Otherwise you will ruin their lives.
When they’re young, children are easily molded. They soak up lots and lots of teaching, usually without any filtering. Their hearts are still soft. But once they’re old, that ability to be formed diminishes drastically. Their “clay” has hardened, and doesn’t yield to being fashioned nearly as much.
Their childhood is a training ground for all sorts of situations they’ll face when they’re older. If they learn first time obedience as a child, it will save them from more harmful consequences as a teenager. If they learn responsibility with small things now, it will set them up for success when they are given bigger tasks later. So use this opportunity while they’re maturing to impress Scripture, truth, and your values onto them.
My son, obey your father’s commands, and don’t neglect your mother’s instruction.
This verse is aimed more at children themselves, but it assumes that parents are commanding and instructing them in the first place. Verses 22 and 23 go on to say that these commands and instructions will lead and protect a person throughout his or her life.
Corrective discipline of parents is described as “the way to life”, and as a lamp that lights a path. Put simply, your guiding correction will keep your kids from all kinds of harm.
Discipline your children, and they will give you peace of mind and will make your heart glad.
Disciplining kids makes them wise. And wise children do not bring shame to their parents. A few chapters earlier in Proverbs 23, it says “My child, if your heart is wise, my own heart will rejoice! Everything in me will celebrate when you speak what is right.” (Verses 15-16)
Following God’s design for discipline and parenting will bring harmony, honor, obedience, respect, and orderliness into your home. Raising up children in the fear and admonition of the Lord eventually reaps a harvest of righteous living for our kids and peace for us!
The godly walk with integrity; blessed are their children who follow them.
Children imitate what they see. If they see you putting God first, taking your concerns to Him, and reading your Bible regularly, they will, in turn, be more likely to model that behavior.
When it is evident that His Word is alive and relevant to us, then we have something with which to minister to our kids. You are basically saying to your children, “Come, follow me as I follow Christ.”
Those who fear the Lord are secure; he will be a refuge for their children.
You embody the security and limits that ultimately come from submitting to a loving heavenly Father. If we have a healthy respect for God and the authority He has given us as parents, our kids will enjoy a strong sense of security and purpose in daily life.
Your own obedience and faithfulness to His Word can bring abundant blessings to your children! When you choose to walk in righteousness, it provides a peaceful, joyful home for your family, as well as spiritual life.