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Commands to Parents About Their Children
What does the Bible say about children? Lesson 3
If you are a parent, what advice have you gotten from other parents? From non-parents? What advice was most valuable to you? Or made you mad?
If you are not a parent, what advice do you have for parents? How did you come to decide that was important advice?
In this lesson, we’ll look at commands the Bible gives to parents about raising their children. These commands fall into two categories: teaching and disciplining. We’ll look first at what parents are supposed to teach their children, then progress to disciplining.
Like the other lessons in this series, this lesson looks at a lot of different Bible passages, which could be overwhelming if you are doing this with children. Therefore, I have divided this into four days to keep it more manageable. Feel free to do the entire study at once or break it up based on your desired time and intensity.
Day 1: What Parents Should Teach Their Children
Read the verses listed below. Consider what these passages are trying to say.
Deuteronomy 4:9-10: Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them. Remember the day you stood before the Lord your God at Horeb, when he said to me, “Assemble the people before me to hear my words so that they may learn to revere me as long as they live in the land and may teach them to their children.”
Deuteronomy 6:4-9: Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
Deuteronomy 11:18-21: Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth.
Psalm 78:1-8: My people, hear my teaching; listen to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth with a parable; I will utter hidden things, things from of old—things we have heard and known, things our ancestors have told us. We will not hide them from their descendants; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done. He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which he commanded our ancestors to teach their children, so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children. Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands. They would not be like their ancestors— a stubborn and rebellious generation, whose hearts were not loyal to God, whose spirits were not faithful to him.
Proverbs 22:6: Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.
Isaiah 38:19: The living, the living—they praise you, as I am doing today; parents tell their children about your faithfulness.
After reading these verses, what does the Bible say about what parents should teach their children?
Why is it important for parents to teach these things to their children?
Parents should teach their children about the Lord so that they will put their trust in him and not turn from him. They will keep his commands and be faithful to him.
Day 2: Parents Disciplining Their Children
Read the verses listed below that talk about the responsibility parents have to discipline their children.
Proverbs 3:11-12: 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 13:24: Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.
Proverbs 19:18: Discipline your children, for in that there is hope; do not be a willing party to their death.
Proverbs 22:15: Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far away.
Proverbs 23:13-14: Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish them with the rod, they will not die. Punish them with the rod and save them from death.
Proverbs 29:15: A rod and a reprimand impart wisdom, but a child left undisciplined disgraces its mother.
Proverbs 29:17: Discipline your children, and they will give you peace; they will bring you the delights you desire.
What do these verses say about parents disciplining their children?
Parents should discipline their children because children are automatically drawn to doing foolish things.
Why does the Bible say that parents should discipline their children?
Discipline is how parents can give wisdom to their children to make better choices. Discipline also brings hope that the child will follow God. This will give the parent peace and delight.
What do these verses say about how a parent feels about the child that they discipline?
Parents who love their children will be careful to discipline them.
What do these verses say about what happens if a child is not disciplined?
If a child is not disciplined, this could lead to their death.
How does the parent’s role of teaching help them with the role of disciplining?
Part of disciplining is teaching the child why the choices they are making are wrong and what the better choice would be. This is how parents impart wisdom to their children. The teaching portion of discipline also helps the parent explain to the child what God’s desire is for their obedience.
Day 3: Things to Avoid in Discipline
Read the verses listed below.
Ephesians 6:4: Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
Colossians 3:21: Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.
What command does God give parents in these verses?
Do not exasperate or embitter your children. Train them so they know what the Lord wants.
What do the words “exasperate” and “embitter” mean?
According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, exasperate means “to make someone very angry or annoyed.” Similarly, embitter means “to make bitter.” Bitter means “distasteful or distressing to the mind” or “exhibiting intense animosity.”
Why do you think it is important for parents not to exasperate or embitter their children?
How does this relate to parents disciplining their children?
How does this relate to parents teaching their children about the Bible?
In what ways do/did your parents teach you and discipline you?
How do/did you respond to your parents’ teaching and disciplining? How should you respond?
Based on these verses, is there anything you need to change about your response to your parents and how they taught you or disciplined you?
Day 4: God Disciplines His Children
Read Hebrews 12:5-11:
And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says, “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.” Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
What comparison does this passage make?
It compares the discipline of God for his children to the discipline of a father for his child.
Why does God discipline his children?
God disciplines his children because he loves them and he wants good for us.
What attitude should we have when God disciplines us?
We should not lose heart, and we should accept his discipline and use it to grow in our faith. We should submit to his discipline to help lead us to holiness.
How does that translate to the attitude that children should have toward their parents who discipline them?
Children should also submit to discipline and respect their parents when they are disciplined.
If you are a child, pray that God would help you be receptive to your parents’ teaching and discipline. If you are a parent, pray that God would help you teach and discipline your children in a way that is pleasing to God. For everyone, pray that you would submit to God’s discipline and that he would show you what you need to learn from it. Pray that you would view God’s discipline as a way that you can become more like Him.
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