What Does the Bible Say About Parenting?
Wholesome Biblical parenting tips for Christian parents
There is an abundance of generalized parenting advice out there for parents but Christian parents need to look no further than the scriptures. Biblical advice on parenting is important for Christian parents to have as a foundation for Christian parenting techniques. The Bible provides us with sound Christian parenting advice if you know where to look and how to interpret it.
This article will discuss:
- What Christian parenting advice is in the Bible?
- How to apply Christian principles to parenting
- Resources for Christian parents
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What Christian parenting advice is in the Bible?
Some scriptures in the Bible receive a lot of attention with regards to Christian parenting, although many various denominations of Christianity may disagree on interpretation or application. It can be very confusing for parents who want to apply Christian principles to their parenting style, but aren’t sure when scriptures in different parts of the Bible seem to be in conflict with one another.
To begin with, scriptures are meant to be taken as a part of the whole; as a collection of many stories that make one master story about the history of God’s people, their need for relationship with God, and God’s son coming to teach them how to do this. Within all of those smaller stories are some great pieces of advice, but to understand and apply it to today’s living can be tricky.
It is best to keep a wide range of Christian parenting sources at hand, become familiar with the scriptures on Christian parenting and apply them with prayerful consideration. The Christian style of parenting is not a one-size-fits all playlist, but a relationship with and leadership by God paired with study of the scriptures and teaching of Christian principles like honesty, humility, and disciplined partnership with God.
Here are some of the most popular Bible verses that can be a helpful guide for your parenting and provide those core Christian beliefs you want to teach your children.
Proverbs for Parenting
Proverbs is a book in the Old Testament of the Bible which offers brief instructions and life advice for Christians. Many people have used some of the Proverbs as an excuse to support maltreatment or abuse so it is imperative to remember that each verse of the Bible is written in the context and societies of Biblical days with many customs of the time being included in that context. Compare the wisdom of the scripture with the teachings of Jesus Christ on love, forgiveness, and kindness as a measure by which to understand them each. (Primarily Proverbs 13:24 with regards to Christian parenting scriptures.) The conceptual idea of discipline with a “rod” does not mean literally to physically discipline a child with a rod, stick, belt, or other object.
Crosswalk.com explains the confusion of Proverbs 13.24 in their article “What Does “Spare the Rod, Spoil the Child” Mean in the Bible?” by Kyle Blevins. Blevins summarizes it by paraphrasing its meaning in relation to the shepherd’s crook, aka the rod, which was a guiding tool meant to show sheep which way to go. The Proverbs, though short and punchy, have deep meaning that you want to be sure to understand contextually so you can use them with your children without them misunderstanding the meaning, as can be common when something becomes a “saying.”
Here are some of the most widely-used Proverbs that when used appropriately can become an integral part of your Christian parenting plan:
● Proverbs 22:6 Eastern Standard Version
Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.
● Proverbs 29:17 Eastern Standard Version
Discipline your son, and he will give you rest; he will give delight to your heart.
● Proverbs 13:24 Eastern Standard Version
Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.
● Proverbs 1:8-9 Eastern Standard Version
Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching, for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck.
● Proverbs 3:11-12 Eastern Standard Version
My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.
Psalms for Parenting
The Psalms are poems and songs of praise or lament, and like the Proverbs, are found in the Old Testament of the Bible. They can be beautiful and supportive words to offer your children in rough times or when they are hurting. They can also help you teach praise and celebration of God’s blessings to your children. The Psalms are an important part of the history of God’s people to share in your Christian parenting walk with your family.
Here are some of the most well-loved Psalms that help us guide our children in the Christian lifestyle.
● Psalm 78:4 Eastern Standard Version
We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders that he has done.
● Psalm 127:3 Eastern Standard Version
Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.
● Psalm 103:13 Eastern Standard Version
As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.
Here is an article giving examples of Psalms that you can incorporate at your children’s bedtime: 7 Powerful Psalms to Pray Over Your Kids at Bedtime.
Other Old Testament Verses for Christian Parents
● Exodus 20:12 Eastern Standard Version
“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.
● Titus 2:7 Eastern Standard Version
Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity
The New Testament: Verses for Christian Parents
The New Testament provides a wealth of Christian living and Christian parenting advice from the life of Jesus, the experiences of the first Christians and first churches. The fundamental building blocks of Christian living are anchored in these verses. It is difficult to narrow down a short list of applicable verses, but here are some of the verses most relative to Christian parenting; offering tips, wisdom, and support.
- Ephesians 6:1-4 Eastern Standard Version
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
● Colossians 3:20-21 Eastern Standard Version
Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.
A short, yet powerful verse helps parents to show their children that Jesus was kind, empathetic, and that he truly cared for others. It can help you to make your children feel less alone when they are afraid, upset, or crying:
● John 11:35 Eastern Standard Version
Some verses are centered on the core value that God cares for our needs, something children need to feel comforted and to relieve their worries:
● John 14:1-3 Eastern Standard Version
Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.
- Matthew 6:34 Eastern Standard Version
Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
Other verses teach us to be kind and care for other people, an important lesson for children, especially in this age of digital misbehavior and outright bullying:
● Philippians 2:4 Eastern Standard Version
Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
● Colossians 3:12 Eastern Standard Version
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience,
● 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 Eastern Standard Version
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
How to apply Christian principles to parenting
Christian parenting techniques involve faith-based decision making and teaching the core Christian values that are most important to the Christian faith.
While many parents have their own “take” on Christian parenting or on Biblical parenting tips, for the most part, they agree on the following intrinsic points.
Fundamentals of Christian Parenting
Christian parenting involves many facets of understanding Biblical wisdom from the filling of the Holy Spirit to the meditation on scriptures and a deeply personal prayer life. Advice can come from many sources. It is a combination of all of these things that provides a whole,well-rounded understanding of the scriptures in order to teach them through our parenting.
A close relationship with our children is also crucial to build the love and support system they need to ask questions, trust us enough to follow our guidance, and build their faith system.
Teaching Christian Principles and Values
Christian parenting involves teaching the principles and values at the heart of the Christian faith and applying scripture-based concepts to our everyday lives. Teaching these principles are a matter of demonstration, setting the example, educating children on the scriptures, and guiding them as they learn about the ways of God and the life and purpose of Jesus Christ.
Children will have a lot of questions, to which you will need to provide answers. Being centered in your own faith and well-prepared with a Biblical body of knowledge will help to ready you for those questions and help you to answer your children with confidence and Christian leadership.
Some of the core Christian values and principles for focus
- God-centered purpose
- Service to others
Using examples, perhaps role-playing or games, taking your children to faith-based social activities and church, and reinforcement of these core principles will help to create a strong Christian foundation for good social behavior, responsible citizenship, and for facing more complex issues your child will face as they get older.
Teaching the Power of Prayer & Bible Study
If it comes down to a certain scripture that is difficult to understand or follow, seek out several reputable sources or a trusted faith leader. Sometimes multiple sources on the same topic can be in conflict but with prayerful consideration, meditating on the scripture passage, and proceeding with openness, you will feel the needle of your moral compass shifting in one direction or the other.
To teach the power of prayer, you must first demonstrate this for your children. Let them see you pray. Let them hear you pray. Let them see the different circumstances that lead you to pray. This includes during routine daily interactions with God and not just when you need help or are facing a difficult decision. The more you normalize prayer in front of your children and in various social contexts, the easier it will be for them to adopt the same prayerful, God-centered lifestyle.
Faith-based Decision Making
For Christian parents, as with any parents, teaching kids to make healthy and wise choices are a huge part of parenting. But for the Christian parent, it is how those decisions are made that makes teaching their children about good decision making skills a bit different.
For Christians, decisions are not made based on what is the society norm or what is taught by other humans in professional fields–but rather a combination of some of those things that can sit in direct conflict to religious teachings. This conflict is at the core of Christian living. How to be a part of society while also and more importantly being a part of God’s plan for ourselves and this world. Decision-making boils down to Biblical insight, spiritual teachings, and foundational Christian principles, all which guide us while God, Himself, is in the lead.
This understanding can be tricky for kids to grasp. Children are by nature self-focused and driven by their own physical and emotional needs. When children are quite young they can understand the principles of kindness and sharing but maybe not the concept of humility, without feeling their own needs are being suppressed.
Beginning with a more vague teaching of those foundational principles, while building this foundation as children get older, will help them to better understand how God fits into decision-making. A good base of prayer and scripture study, even for a child, helps to build their relationship with God and can help them to look for His guidance as they begin making choices for themselves.
Helping children to understand what is important to God, for example how we treat other people rather than what color of jeans we need to wear on a Thursday, will help children to learn how to apply Biblical leadership by God in their own lives in and out of your home.
Resources for Christian parents
In today’s complex social structures and with the media, web, school pressures, and capitalistic-driven wants, it can be hard for parents to keep out all of the chatter that conflicts with a Christian parenting lifestyle. If you remain committed to using Biblical advice for parenting, you can find supportive resources to help along the way.
This article is brought to you by our contributing writers and parents here at the Babienet Parenting Community, where we value the stories of parents just like you! We welcome you to share your journey with us.
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Christina M Ward is a mom, grandmother, and writer of lots and lots of words. When she’s not busy obsessing over writing poetry and well-living articles, she is out in nature exploring or doing needlepoint crafts in front of Netflix. She loves books and reading, learning geeky things about nature, and helping other people live their best life.
A helpful introductory guide on using Biblical parenting tips and teaching Christian principles to children. Christian parenting advice for parents.