Biblical Parenting: Raising Children in the Word

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Biblical parenting.

Are you raising your children in the Word? How’s it going for you?

Seventeenth-century author John Wilmot said, “Before I got married, I had six theories about bringing up children. Now I have six children and no theories!”

Parenting is complex. But what if we could encapsulate the Bible’s teaching about the essence of Christian parenting in one sentence? What would that sentence be? Here it is! “Impress them (the Scriptures) on your children” Deuteronomy 6:7 (NIV).

The word translated as “impress” in the New International Version is rendered “diligently” in the English Standard Version and “repeat them again and again” in the New Living Translation.

“Again and again” means frequently. Christian parenting repeatedly connects children with God’s Word until they become immersed in it. There are many practical ways to do this. Have Scripture songs regularly playing in your home. Memorize the Scriptures with your children. Read the Bible together. Chat about God’s Word when you’re in the car. And pray the Scriptures before they lie down and when they get up.

Now consider the phrase “on your children.” Who should impress God’s Word on your children? Is it a Sunday School teacher, a youth leader, or the pastor? If they’re “your children,” they’re not someone else’s children. While the faith community should assist, parents are primarily responsible for diligently teaching their children the Scriptures.

Impressing the Scriptures on your children is a beautiful privilege that God’s given first and foremost to YOU! Click To Tweet

In other words, if they’re “your children,” you can’t outsource their faith formation. Your local church or Christian school isn’t a subcontractor for teaching your children the Scriptures. The faith community should be a stimulus, not a substitute, for faith formation in the home. Don’t hesitate to own the discipleship of your children. Impressing the Scriptures on your children is a beautiful privilege that God’s given first and foremost to YOU!

Raising children in the Word.

For some parents, impressing the Scriptures on their children may appear daunting or scary. But it shouldn’t be. You may lack confidence or feel ill-equipped, but when God appoints you to do something, he enables you to do it.

So, how do you get on with it? By spontaneously teaching and modelling God’s Word as part of the rhythm of everyday living. Practically, this involves seeing every person, situation or event as a potential object lesson to teach or act out God’s Word. Or, as my wife would say, “be on the lookout for teachable moments.” This isn’t something you do occasionally. You should habitually talk about the Scriptures when you’re at home or out and about (cf. Deuteronomy 6:7-9).

Are you intent on raising children in the Word? Daily Bible reading and prayer after supper are not enough. A summer VBS is not enough. A thriving children’s ministry in your church is not enough. The faith formation of your children isn’t a part-time pursuit. You must impress the Scriptures on your children 24/7 … “from the time you get up in the morning to when you fall into bed at night” (MSG).

The faith formation of your children isn’t a part-time pursuit. You must impress the Scriptures on your children 24/7. Click To Tweet

Is parenting hard work? For sure. But I know firsthand that it’s incredibly fruitful when the primary source for helping children engage with God’s Word is their mum and dad. So, if you’re not impressing the Scriptures on your children, get on with it.

Practice makes parent!

Habits are formed in the home. The years your children spend with you are relatively short. You only get one shot at parenting—one shot at impressing the Scriptures on your children and one shot at establishing your children in the Word so that they, in turn, will impress the Scriptures on their children. There are no second chances. If your children and grandchildren are going to live as God intended, then Bible engagement must saturate your home.

Your insights are valued. Please share your thoughts (in the comments section below) about raising children in the Word.

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© Scripture Union, 2024

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