What does the Bible say about parenting? Is there a biblical parenting style? What means to be a “Christian parent”? Have you ever asked yourself some of those questions? Or maybe the topic looks interesting to you? It does not matter. We will discuss what the biblical way to be a parent. We may not be theologists, but we are practitioners, followers of Christ and parents.
The importance of the role of the parent
You are pregnant or will become a dad? Or you have a 5-year old running around? Or you have a 13-year old that makes you crazy every evening? It does not matter what age your children are. Having a child automatically makes your life…different. Congrats, you are a parent!
For some of you, this may be a proud fact, for other bringing tears. Having children is a blessing. Indeed, parenting sometimes can be really harsh and sometimes an amazing experience. However, the role of the father and the mother remains crucial in the first years of your child.
The different countries, periods of times, variety of parenting styles like gentle or neglectful parenting have given different strategies and ideas and definitions on the topic of child rearing. However, what is the biblical role of the parent might have been different. Interestingly, the biblical way never changed through the centuries.
The role of the parent has three main subtopics to think about:
- Discipline – how, why and what are going to be the limitations
- Love – how to love as described in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
- Goal – what is the most esssential thing in your parenting
Are your children yours?
What is your child? A gift? A burden? The meaning of your life? Responsibility?
One great realization I had when talking to my wife was that our son is not ours. My wife gave birth and this is a great gift from God, but it is our responsibility and mission to take care of him.
How did we get to this point of view? Think about the garden of Adam and Eve. If they hadn`t eaten the forbidden fruit, they would most probably still be in the garden. We can`t be sure what was it like but one thing is 100% true – they had to take care of it. This means that they had to work there.
The same is true for our children. We receive this great gift from God but we have to take care about them. The future of our children lies in our hands.
Spiritual war for your children
When talking about the future, we also think about life after death. If you have not been thinking about this lately, we will remind you. There are two opportunities for your children – to believe in Jesus and be with Him when they die or to be separated from God after death.
There is a spiritual war for your children. You can see it in the media, you can read about it in the books, you can see it in the movies and you can almost sense it in the air. If you are not praying and fasting, someone else will have the chance to influence them. Your prayers are the best way to protect them.
Here is another topic to think about. Why the first command from God is “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind”? Have you tried to answer this question for your children? If you have not, try to do it.
The biblical parenting style
The biblical parenting style can be found when you open the Bible. If you want to learn from the God`s Word, you must be able to trust God and choose to follow Him. The Christian parenting style may not be the most encouraged parenting style in modern America but it is not very different than the one described in this article.
A great combination of love and discipline. What is the required results? Trust, autonomy and love. Quite similar to Nurturing parenting.
You can never prepare your children for the future, but you can teach them to pray, look for Jesus, read the Bible and ask for wisdom when reading it. You can teach them the 10 commandments and explain their more profound meaning. Children love to understand the details. Do not talk about the surface when there is much more when you dive.
What about punishment?
According to the Bible, this is a good thing when used appropriately. Punishments might be the last step but they sometimes are inevitable. The golden rule we have heard from many Christians is:
Never punish or hit while you are angry or without explaining why you do it. After the punishment always show love and that you care for the little “criminal”. The goal of the punishment and discipline is a change in the heart.
1. Proverbs 23:13-14 ESV
Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you strike him with a rod, he will not die. If you strike him with the rod, you will save his soul from Sheol.
2. Hebrews 12:11 ESV
For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
3. Proverbs 19:18 ESV
Discipline your son, for there is hope; do not set your heart on putting him to death.
4. Proverbs 17:6 ESV
Grandchildren are the crown of the aged, and the glory of children is their fathers.
5. Deuteronomy 5:16 ESV
Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may go well with you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.
6. Proverbs 10:1 ESV
A wise son makes a glad father, but a foolish son is a sorrow to his mother.
7. Proverbs 29:15 ESV
The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.
8. Proverbs 1:8 ESV
Hear, my son, your father's instruction, and forsake not your mother's teaching
9. James 1:17 ESV
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
10. Matthew 19:14 ESV
But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”
Family doesn't just mean marriage, making a home, raising children. Parenting is involvement in everything. To be a parent means, above all, to cherish that unconditional love that tolerates, forgives, waits for and accepts all stumbling blocks, pains and mistakes without reproach or name-calling.
Family is the nest the soul needs when overwhelmed and battered by storms - the most welcome haven, the safest refuge. One of the few constants in this striving world. Having a family means never losing faith that despite all the battles, collisions and fears, there will always be a small, cozy, safe place where someone loves you and will always be waiting for you...
You can learn everything about parenting from the Bible. Pray, reflect on all the questions you have in your head and ask for wisdom when praying. You need to ask three main questions when reading it – how to adequately discipline, how to show real love, and understand what is your why? God already has the answers for you!