Parents Should Teach Their Children… About the Importance of Bible Study
by Chuck Durham
There once was a little boy who heard his mother and grandmother quote the Bible to him. They “went to church” regularly and the little boy heard the Bible read in the assembly. When the little boy rose up in the morning, when he lay down at night, and when he went about his daily routine, his mother and grandmother found ways to communicate the precepts of the Bible to him.
There was another little boy who never saw his mother study the Bible. He occasionally saw his father do so, but only when he prepared for a Bible class. There was no daily talking about God or the church. There were no prayers offered, except for the occasional prayer at mealtimes. There was consistent church attendance on Sunday, but Wednesday nights were spent at home.
What do you think was the spiritual outcome of both boy’s lives? The Scripture tells us about the first boy. His name was Timothy. Paul flatly states that Timothy’s strong faith was strong because “the genuine faith that is in you… dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice” (2 Tim. 1:5). The word of God lived and breathed in the lives of his mother and grandmother and through them, came to dwell vibrantly in Timothy’s heart. How do we know Lois and Eunice did the things mentioned in the first paragraph? Because Paul said they did. He wrote, “…and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures…” (2 Tim. 3:15). But that passage doesn’t say anything about how they did it. True, but the Old Testament which Lois and Eunice heard read in the synagogue did – “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart; you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up” (Deut. 6:6-7). No parents or grandparents can successfully implant the word of God in the hearts of their children without consistently following God’s pattern in Deuteronomy 6:6-9.
In 2 Kings 17:34ff, we are told of the Assyrian deportation of Israel and resettlement of Samaria with Gentiles from other conquered lands. The people practiced syncretism, a melding of the ways of Jehovah and their pagan gods. The text twice states, “They feared the Lord, yet served their own gods…” (vv. 33, 41). They followed God and mammon; the Lord and idols; Jehovah and the world at the same time. How many just like them have used all the right religious motions, but whose hearts have never drawn near to God! Even more lamentable is what the text says about their children and grandchildren: “also their children and their children’s children have continued doing as their fathers did, even to this day” (v. 41). It is sobering to think that we pass on to countless generations a deep, abiding reverence and obedience to God, or a careless, apathetic, unholy concept of Deity.
How can we aid our children in storing the word of God in their hearts to save them in the day of temptation? Is memorization only for the kids, or do they see their parents store it in their hearts, too? How do we help them solve life’s problems? Do they see us solve our problems by quoting Scripture or poring over its pages for the answers? Do they see parents who hurriedly study brief, fill-in-the-blank lessons late on Saturday night, but never open their Bibles during the week? Have they heard us read to them from its pages with depth of meaning in our voices, with emotion that comes straight from the heart for what God has written? We need to set a time to read the word of God with our children everyday. A time to talk about God’s goodness, to think of things to pray to him about, to explain the Bible’s meaning in terms children relate to. With all our ingenuity, we need to make Bible study something they look forward to instead of a drudgery to be endured. There are no sweeter words than these, “Daddy/mommy, please tell me a Bible story.” They didn’t get to that point without lots of Bible stories being told to them. How can we expect them to be vibrant, growing Christians, if they do not see Bible study being fundamental to our lives as disciples?
How did the other little boy turn out? Thanks be to God he had godly grandparents who started a faithful church in the place where the grandchildren had moved in order to save their family. Who left their home of 42 years in order to do so, whose Bibles were never far from reach and constantly read, worn and torn with age, but cherished for priceless notes in the margin who talked God to grandkids, who lived godly lives before them, who weathered church troubles with dignity and love for truth that superseded friendships of long years broken by disobedience to God. Who took the grandkids to gospel meetings 50-100 miles away, who when they journeyed across the United States in their travel-trailer, did so to hear the gospel preached by dear preacher-friends of the family. Thanks be to God for grandmother Lois who implanted in childhood a lifelong love for God’s word.
The Preceptor, April 1996
The Responsibility of Being a Parent
by Charles Boshart
Parental responsibility seems to resolve itself into two fundamental duties: 1) Teaching, 2) Providing. Parents must regard themselves as teachers. This is God’s assignment.
Genesis 18:19 says of Abraham, “For I have known him to the end that he may command his children and his household after him, that they may keep the way of Jehovah…”
Moses said to the Israelites regarding the words he had commanded, “…and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children…” (Deuteronomy 6:7).
In 1 Timothy 1:5, Paul writes to Timothy saying that he is “reminded of the unfeigned faith that” was “in” him “which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and, I am persuaded, in thee also.” He later stated, “But abide thou in the things which thou hast learned, and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; and that from a babe thou hast known the sacred writings…” (2 Timothy 3:14-15).
Fathers must “nurture” their children “in the chastening and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). And children must be given the opportunity to “forsake not the law of” their “mother” (Proverbs 1:8).
Parents are teachers and if anyone is not mature enough to teach children, he/she is not mature enough to have children. “Parenting” (the current fad trend) calls for more than the ability to reproduce.
But, in order to be a teacher, one must be an open-minded learner and observer. “Christians” are, after all “disciples” (Acts 11:26) and they are to be carefully observant of their children. Proverbs 22:6 had previously stated, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and even when he is old, he will not depart from it.” The phrase “in the way he should go” is alternately given in the ASV footnote, “conformably to his way,” i.e., the training or instruction “ought to regulate itself according to the stage of life, and its peculiarities; the method ought to be arranged according to the degree of development which the mental and bodily life of the youth has arrived at” (Keil, Commentary… Book of Proverbs, Vol. II., pp. 86-87).
Parents must also regard themselves as providers. This, too, is God’s assignment. Parenthood has time and energy demands that change one’s life dramatically. And these changes concern the well-being of someone else.
Parents should provide a strong marriage for their children. Otherwise, they will contribute to their insecurity. “Wives” should “be in subjection unto” their “own husbands as unto the Lord” (Ephesians 5:22) and “Husbands” should “love” their “wives as Christ also loved the church and gave himself up for
it…” (Ephesians 5:25). A marriage should be strong before there are children. Children should not be brought into the world in order to make a weak and faltering marriage strong. This is an adult responsibility not a child’s.
Parents should provide for the physical needs of their children. 1 Timothy 5:8 states, “But if any provide not for his own, and especially they of his own household, he hath denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”
Parents should provide an atmosphere that contributes to the developing and maturing of their children. This will call for, among other things, love. “Let all that ye do be done in love” (1 Corinthians 16:14). There should be an atmosphere of accountability. Parents should show they respect “what” “Jehovah” “doth” “require of” them (Micah 6:8). Parents should work to create an active learning atmosphere as they “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). And this will result in an atmosphere of dedication to spirituality.
Parents cannot do it all. Children have their part also (see Ephesians 6:1-3). And children can be failures too. But parents have the responsibility of teaching and providing. This is God’s assignment and the children’s need