We often say that children don’t come with a handbook. While it is true that a handout or template is not provided to us in the delivery room, we have in our Bibles everything we need to raise our children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. You may question my authority or fitness to make such a bold statement when my oldest child is only six. You would be right. However, my confidence does not lie in my own experience or qualifications, but in the promises of the Word of God. Please delve with me this month in my reasons for proclaiming the Bible as the sure way to raise children.
1. God is eternal and the Word of God is eternal. There is no shadow of turning with God. Just as He has always been, He will always be. This is such good news because it assures us that by placing God and His Word at the center of our parenting, our technique is based on timeless wisdom and will never become irrelevant. As our children mature into the various stages of infancy, childhood and later adulthood, we can rely on the same God to keep their feet from faltering and to grant us the wisdom we need.
2. God’s Word is the fountain of wisdom. Scripture teaches that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. We would all agree that it takes a great deal of wisdom to raise children. The wisdom of the Lord is the surest of all. Seeking the wisdom of God found in Christ will not only make us better parents, but it will cause our children to grow with the same values for purity, peace, mercy, submission, impartiality and sincerity (James 3:13-18). When our children’s lives are transformed by the wisdom of the Word, they will be forever changed.
3. The Bible instructs the views we should have of our children. We love our children, but we don’t always understand them. And in our quest to teach them, we sometimes run the risk of belittling them, disregarding them or even exasperating them. When we fix our eyes in the Biblical text for our guidance in rearing our kids, we learn how to view them rightly. We first learn that they are precious; a blessing and a reward from the Lord (Psalm 127:5). Every day with our children does not always feel like a day we have won something. To the contrary, life with them can feel a bit overwhelming at times. Children, I have come to know, are blessings disguised as work. And, the work that we must do to bring them cannot be divorced from the blessing. In fact, our diligence in teaching them in the way of the Lord brings the truest blessing out of their lives. Hence God not leaving their fate to happenstance, but providing His Word.
4. The Bible gives direct instructions for child-rearing. A well-known and often quoted verse on the subject of parenting is Proverbs 22:6, “train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old, he will not depart from it.” I admit to reading the admonition in haste to arrive at the promise. I realize however that the promise only belongs to those who train their children in the way of the Lord. My favorite verse on the topic of child-rearing is Deuteronomy 6:7, which commands parents to teach the Word of God to their children at all times. One thing God does in this verse is teach us that our children are always learning. They watch our example and we are called to teach them all the time.
5. The Bible makes promises to parents. While there are many theories on parenting afloat, no professional would guarantee the success of their model. This is understandable considering all the variables they cannot account for. God, however, guarantees the success of His method. And He is right to do so because there is no knowledge that He lacks. There is not a personality, tendency, or habit of our children that the Lord is unaware of. He knows our children because He created them.