What Parenting Lessons Can We Learn from the Bible? [KEY SCRIPTURES]
Did you know that at the last time of asking (2019) 65% of Americans identified as being Christian? Although the number is falling, that is still a lot of Christian parents out there in America. So why not do an article talking about some important ideas from the bible and how they relate to parenting? If you are interested, please read on 🙂
For starters, the word “father” is mentioned over a thousand times in the Bible. God is often referred to as the father of Israel or the heavenly father. Jesus, in his final hours on earth, prayed, “Abba, Father, everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” (Mark 14:36) There’s something to be said about the way God describes his relationship with us as that of a parent, and certainly, we can learn much about parenting in the pages of the Bible.
What Does the Bible say About Parenting?
For Christians, the Bible is more than just a historical piece of literature; it is the living word, our instruction guide for life. Amazingly, the scriptures of the Bible have survived the test of time and remain relevant to Christians today, despite being written two-thousand years ago.
So what does the Bible say about parenting? Just as it tells us how to live, it tells us to teach our children what we have learned. It tells us to be loving and kind, but not to avoid discipline completely. It tells us to involve our children in learning the commandments and in caring for others.
What Scriptures Can We Find on Parenting?
The first two verses of Deuteronomy chapter eleven say, “Love the Lord your God and keep his requirements, his decrees, his laws and his commands always. Remember today that your children were not the ones who saw and experienced the discipline of the Lord your God.” These commands can be found in chapter five, verses six through twenty-one. Following these in chapter six, verses five through nine, are scriptures about raising up a child. They say we should impress God’s commandments upon our children, talking about them as we sit at home, as we travel, and we should post them in our houses.
From this book alone, we obtain the very foundation for teaching our children morals, and we are told how to do it. Talk to them! Talk to them all the time. Every moment can be a teachable moment whether we are in our own homes or out in public. It even suggests daily times to study, when we lie down and when we wake up. We can teach them not only to memorize the scriptures, but to act on them as well.
The book of Proverbs was undoubtedly written by a parent, that parent being King Solomon. Some scholars dispute whether he was writing to his own sons or to young people in general, but either way, Proverbs is a wealth of information for parents.
If the previous verses from Deuteronomy showed us how to teach our children from the time they are small, Proverbs gives advice perfectly geared towards teens and young adults, especially those who have been raised with privilege. Young people are urged to listen to their parents (Proverbs 1:8), to heed wisdom (Proverbs 1:20-33), to “lean not on their own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5), and to avoid being wise in their own eyes (Proverbs 3:7).
At the same time, parents are encouraged to discipline their children. “My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.” (Proverbs 3:11-12)How often do we feel mean when we have to discipline our kids? In this verse and other bible verses about parenting responsibilities, God reminds us that discipline is an act of love, and is necessary to bring our children up correctly.
Parents of teens often find this to be a difficult line to walk. They worry their children will hate them if they correct them or offer guidance. Our kids may say that they do, but as they grow and gain reason, they will thank us for all the times our guidance steered the maway from trouble.
We can draw many great lessons for children from Colossians, but we will also find in it bible verses about parenting with love. Chapter three, verses eighteen through twenty-one offer rules for Christian households. The scripture paints a picture of wives who submit to their husbands, husbands who are loving to their wives, and children who listen and do as their parents say. Fathers are told not to make their children bitter.
Some Christians make the mistake of becoming incredibly strict, invoking the “spare the rod, spoil the child” mentality. It is true that we should not avoid disciplining our kids, but we must also remember to keep healthy, happy homes that are free of abuse. The husband can certainly be the head of the household, and his wife may defer to him, but neither should ever mistreat each other or their children.
This passage also reminds us to encourage our children positively. Children naturally want to please their parents from a young age, and we can use that to teach them. In Ephesians, we find more supporting bible verses about parenting with love. Once again, fathers are told not to overwhelm their children, but rather to train them patiently. (Eph 6:4) If we nag or constantly scold our children, they will become discouraged and may give up on doing anything right. The goal of a Christian household is to train our children in the way they should go, not to be so strict and harsh on them that they resent us and the Lord.
It’s important to also see from this verse how compromise has a role in keeping our households peaceful. Think of the popular phrase, “pick your battles”. There are big issues, and there are smaller ones. Ask yourself if a behavior is harming anyone. If it isn’t harmful and is merely a pet peeve of yours, you may let it slide in favor of correcting more important problems. However you choose to correct your children, this verse reminds us that parents should be a united front if we want our children to be obedient.
We find more scriptures on parenting in Hebrews, beginning with the third verse of chapter one, a description of Jesus:
“The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being…” If this is how God describes his son, can’t we say the same of our children? They are our future, after all, our joy. While we instill our values, the best of ourselves, in them, we also find ourselves disciplining the “us” out of them.
Hebrews 12:11 says that though discipline is painful, it creates a wealth of righteousness and rewards later on. If you don’t think your child understands exactly why he or she is in trouble, rest assured, he’ll understand when he is older, and will be better for it.
How Can the Bible Influence our Parenting?
In addition to the scriptures on parenting, bible verses about parenting responsibilities, and scriptures on raising up a child, the Bible teaches us to be patient, kind, and loving toward others and to treat every person as a dear brother. It teaches us to repress our more ugly qualities and become the best version of ourselves, even so far as to forget ourselves and take up the cross for others.
Our personal character development alone will ready us to become parents or to become better parents for our kids. We can take the scriptures about raising up a child and apply them to our daily lives, working them into our routines, to give our kids a good, stable start to life. We can even draw our comfort and resilience from them.
When you’re not going to tell them one more time: Proverbs 29:17
When you’re worried about their future: Matthew 6: 33-34
When you want to be a good example: 1 Peter 5:2-3
When you need to remember the joy: Psalms 127:3-5
The Bible tells us to teach our kids about our history so that they won’t repeat our mistakes. (Joshua 4:20-24) It tells us to watch our actions so that our children won’t suffer from them.
It also encourages us to live a rewarding life. When we chase after money and earthly riches, we sometimes lose out on quality time with our kids. Consider these verses:
“The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.” (Proverbs 14:1)
“A good man leaves an inheritance for his children’s children, but a sinner’s wealth is stored up for the righteous.” (Proverbs 13:22)
The best thing we can do to leave a better world for our children and better children for our world, is to heed God’s advice on how to set an example for our children. When we do, we can live and love so much more abundant.
What do you think?
If you are a Christian parent, we would love to hear your views too. The bible is open to different interpretations, and it’s important to let everyone have their say on the matter. The hope is that at least this article can be a solid starting point for any Christians looking to the bible for parenting inspiration.