Bible Verses for Parents
The Bible teaches that God has given the primary responsibility for a child’s spiritual education to parents. If parents are to follow the scriptural imperative, they are going to have to fight our culture to keep the minds, hearts, and souls of their children front-and-center in their family priorities.
Genesis 2:24 - God creates marriage and family as basic structure of society
Genesis 4 - Cain and Abel offer sacrifices. Obviously, Adam and Eve taught their children to worship God.
Genesis 5 - Adam and Eve must have also passed faith on to future generations as evidenced by believers like Seth, Enoch, Methusaleh and Noah
Genesis 6 - Noah was a righteous man who passed faith onto his sons
Genesis 8:20 - Noah built an altar to the LORD and worshiped with his family after they came off of the ark
Genesis 9:1 - “God blessed Noah and his sons”
Genesis 9:8-9 - God established covenant with Noah and his sons
Genesis 10-11 - Shem passes faith onto his descendants
Genesis 12:8 - God makes a covenant with Abram and his children, one of whom will be the Savior; Abram builds an altar to the LORD.
Genesis 17 - God promises to establish covenant with Isaac and his descendants. He also promises to bless Ishmael.
Genesis 22 - Abraham teaches Isaac to fear and obey the LORD
Genesis 27 - Isaac passed faith onto Esau and Jacob
Genesis 49 - Jacob passed faith onto his children, especially his 12 sons
Exodus 12 - God now communicates through a mediator, Moses, who then directs families. Passover celebration is example of families discipling children through instruction of Moses. Note v. 26 “when your children ask you, ‘What does this ceremony mean to you?’ then tell them… The parents instruct the children.
Exodus 18 - Jethro advises Moses to set up a system or council to help serve the people. The leaders did not take over discipling of children; they simply helped counsel in difficult cases.
Exodus 19:7-8 - God gave his word through Moses who passed them on to elders. The people responded, “We will do everything the LORD has said.”
Exodus 25 - God establishes the Tabernacle as a place to dwell among his people and a place where they can bring sacrifices to him. Discipling still takes place at home.
Deuteronomy 4 - Moses encourages the people to follow the decrees and laws of God that he taught them. 4:9 “Teach them to your children and to their children after them.”
Deuteronomy 4:10 God said, “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 5:1,22 - Moses assembled all Israel. Either this includes children or it assumes the adults would teach the children.
Deuteronomy 6:4-9 - Moses teaches the adults God’s commandments and commands, “Impress them on your children” at home in daily life.
Deuteronomy 11 - Moses reminds the people that their children did not witness the exodus or wandering and all the LORD did for the people. Then, repeating chapter 6, he commands, “teach them to your children” at home in daily life.
Deuteronomy 21:18-21 - Parents were to bring their rebellious children to the elders. Parents had primary responsibility but brought elders in as needed.
Joshua 23 - Joshua encourages people to continue obeying law of Moses. Still no formal, central training system; discipleship takes place in the home. Intermarriage is primary threat to discipleship.
Joshua 24:15 - Joshua takes responsibility for his household to serve the LORD.
Judges 2:10 - After Joshua and the other elders who outlived him died… “After that whole generation had been gathered to their ancestors, another generation grew up who neither knew the LORD nor what he had done for Israel. Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD and served the Baals.”
Ruth - Ruth becomes a believer through family/home discipleship.
Samuel - Samuel was weaned at home and then brought to Eli. This was an exception and not the norm. The rest of Samuel’s siblings were discipled at home.
Psalm 78 - the psalmist encourages us to tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord
Proverbs 1:8 - throughout the book Solomon addresses “my son” to give instruction for godly living
Proverbs 22:6 - Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.
Malachi 4:6 - prophecies of John the Baptist who would “turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers.”
Luke 1:17 - fulfillment of Malachi 4:6
Luke 2:51-52 - While Jesus attended synagogue and festivals with his family, he mostly grew in wisdom and stature, in favor with God and men at home.
Luke 18:15-17 - Parents brought children so Jesus could touch them. There is not one place in Scripture that I could find where parents dropped children off and left them. Not even this section implies that Jesus took children aside to teach them directly. There is not one description of Jesus or apostles teaching children apart from parents.
Acts 2 - Peter preaches to either crowd of adults or mixed crowd of adults and parents but most definitely speaks to parents. Consider v.39 - “this is for you and your children”
Acts 10 - Peter baptizes and teaches Cornelius and his household together.
Acts 16 - Lydia’s household is baptized. Paul baptizes and instructs jailer and his household together.
Ephesians 6:4 - Fathers, bring your children up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
2 Timothy 1:5 - Timothy first received faith through mother and grandmother
1 Peter 2:9 - all believers are priests to serve God and others. Why wouldn’t we start at home as family priests/pastors?
CONCLUSION: By both command and example, Scripture clearly expects parents to disciple their children at home in the course of daily life.