A Biblical Blueprint for Parenting: Embracing the Great Priority of Deuteronomy 6:1-9

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A biblical blueprint for parenting.

In the New Testament, we have the Great Commandment (Matthew 22:36-40) and the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20). In the Old Testament, we have the Great Priority (Deuteronomy 6:1-9). I call the Deuteronomy 6 passage the Great Priority because its significance is supreme. This is a sit-up and pay-attention text! And more. It’s a biblical blueprint for parenting and faith formation in the home.

Embracing the Great Priority.

According to Deuteronomy 6:1-9, there are four things parents should do:

Obey God (v.1-3)

The Great Priority begins in verse one, with Moses reminding the Israelites that God “directed” him to teach them God’s Word. The word translated as “teach” means training that leads to a change in conduct. Teaching God’s Word isn’t an intellectual exercise. Nor is it offering opinions or making suggestions. It’s proclaiming God’s Word as truth to be obeyed. That’s why Christian parenting starts with you believing God’s Word has authority in your life and the lives of everyone in your family.

Christian parenting starts with you believing God’s Word has authority in your life and the lives of everyone in your family. Click To Tweet

God wanted Israel to succeed, and He wants you to succeed. Verse two indicates why God directed Moses to teach His Word – so that each generation would live in lifelong devotion to God. Note the conditional promise: As each generation submits to the authority of God’s Word and devotes themselves to the Lord, they will enjoy the blessings of long, fulfilled lives. God inspires obedience by promising blessing. Do you want your children and grandchildren to live good, long lives? Teach them to honour the Lord by living in step with His Word.

Do you want your children and grandchildren to live good, long lives? Teach them to honour the Lord by living in step with His Word. Click To Tweet

Verse three emphasizes verse two. Note the phrase “be careful to obey.” It means “do what God tells you to do.” Acting on God’s Word should never be debatable. God expects us to pay close attention to His Word by listening intently and responding faithfully. Hearing but not doing anything is disobedience. We’re not blessed just by listening to God’s Word. Christian parenting requires action –consistently modelling what it means to obey God’s Word. So, be a Nike Christian. “Just do it!”

Christian parenting requires action –consistently modelling what it means to obey God’s Word. Click To Tweet

Love God (v.4-5)

Why should we obey God? Because “The Lord our God, the Lord is one” (v.4). This is the Shema – a profound statement about correct belief and right relationship. The Shema is the Jewish pledge of allegiance, daily prayer (equivalent to the Lord’s Prayer in the Christian tradition), and hymn of praise. In English, the Hebrew word “Sh’ma” literally means listen, hear and do.

The Shema indicates that we must teach our children that the Lord is the only supreme, trustworthy, faithful, loving, worthy, awesome, immortal God. There is no other like Him. He’s not limited, whimsical or deficient in any way. He doesn’t faint or grow weary. He’s the creator and sustainer of the universe. The high and exalted One. The King of ages who keeps His promises to a thousand generations. If we don’t teach this to our children, we can’t help them grow to be like Jesus.

It’s also why we must love the Lord with all our heart, soul and strength (v.5). Because there’s only one true God, we must love Him unreservedly, wholly, and with all our emotional, mental and physical vigour. God alone must be our only love. We must have no other gods before Him (Deuteronomy 5:7). We must worship and adore Him with nothing held back – nothing held in reserve.

Do you want your children and grandchildren to love the Lord with all that’s in them, with all they’ve got? The most significant part of discipling your children to love and live only for the Lord is letting them see you living for Him daily with every ounce of love you possess!

The most significant part of discipling your children to love and live only for the Lord is letting them see you living for Him daily with every ounce of love you possess! Click To Tweet

Examine your heart (v.6)

Loving the Lord with all your heart, soul, and strength isn’t private. I remember sharing the Gospel with my father many years ago, and he said, “Even if I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Saviour, you’ll never know because I think faith is a private matter.” My father had an unbiblical perspective. Faith is a gift to be shared, not a treasure to be hidden away.

So, how do you teach your children about God? It starts with nurturing your faith. To impact your family with the love of Christ, you need a vibrant, intimate relationship with the Lord. Notice the phrase in verse six, “… be on your hearts.” When something’s on your heart, you’re preoccupied with it, paying attention to it and constantly thinking about it.

Here’s a truth that’s often ignored. You can’t profess what you don’t possess. You should be more concerned about your heart than your children’s. Why? Because it’s out of the overflow of your heart that your mouth speaks (Luke 6:45).

You should be more concerned about your heart than your children’s. Why? Because it’s out of the overflow of your heart that your mouth speaks. Click To Tweet

Confucious, a Chinese philosopher and sage, said, “To put the world in order, we must first put the nation in order; to put the nation in order, we must first put the family in order; to put the family in order; we must first cultivate our personal life; we must first set our hearts right.”

Teach your children about God (v.7-9)

What do you want for your children? The goal for most parents is for their children to reach their full creative, intellectual, or social potential. That’s a goal of self-actualization, but it’s not God’s goal for your children! God wants your children to reflect Jesus to the world at large.

Eugene Peterson in The Message says, “Get them (the Scriptures) inside of you and then get them inside your children.” Having a Bible is not enough. Is God’s Word engraved on your heart? What’s in your heart spills into your children’s hearts. Teaching your children about the Lord is more than reading a devotion together. It’s sharing what’s on your heart.

What’s in your heart spills into your children’s hearts. Teaching your children about the Lord is more than reading a devotion together. It’s sharing what’s on your heart. Click To Tweet

So that’s the biblical blueprint for parenting – a rhythm of everyday activities where you obey God’s Word, love Him, examine your heart, and teach your child to likewise obey and love Him with all their heart, soul and strength.

What are your insights about this biblical blueprint for parenting? Please comment below.

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© Scripture Union, 2024

2 Corinthians 4:5

 

Summary
Discover the Biblical Blueprint for Christian Parenting: How to Raise Children in Faith
Christian parenting finds its foundation in Scripture. Deuteronomy 6:1-9 provides a profound blueprint for nurturing faith at home. This passage emphasizes obedience to God’s Word, wholehearted love for Him, sincere self-examination, and intentional teaching of children about God. Effective Christian parenting starts with a personal commitment to God’s authority and love. It extends to instilling these values in children, fostering a lifelong devotion to God. Embrace this biblical guide to parenting, prioritizing obedience, love, self-reflection, and intentional teaching. Share your insights on this transformative approach to raising children in faith. Strengthen your family’s spiritual journey through Christian parenting. (Generated by AI)

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