This week, I’ve written about passing on healthy lives to our children. Tuesday, I wrote about the need to teach our children the importance of physical activity. Yesterday, I wrote about the need to teach our children to pray. Yes, it’s vitally important that we teach our children to be healthy and that we teach them to pray, but we also need to teach them the Word of God. After all, if we fail to instill the Word of God in our children, the world will teach them to reject his Word.
Throughout Scripture, parents are given the responsibility of teaching their children the will of God. “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise” (Deuteronomy 6:4-7). The Israelites, God said through Moses, could not afford to teach their children the will of God every now and then—instead, they were to be diligent and teach their children throughout the course of the day.
Among the proverbs Solomon collected is this gem: “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6). Proverbs do not present “hard and fast” truth; instead, they present a general truth that usually works. You and I know good and faithful parents who have children who have wandered from the truth. However, as a rule, if we train our children in righteousness, they will not depart from it.
Isaiah pictures the teaching of children as normative: “The living, the living, he thanks you, as I do this day; the father makes known to the children your faithfulness” (Isaiah 38:19). Notice that Isaiah simply says that the father tells his children of God’s faithfulness. There’s no instruction to teach children; instead, Isaiah simply envisions that’s the way the world works.
To the Ephesian Christians, Paul wrote, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). A father has no more important responsibility than teaching his children the way of the Lord. A father needs to teach his children the word of God more than he needs to teach manners and more than he teaches money management or more than he teaches how to throw a baseball. Teaching the truth of God must be a father’s highest priority.
Make sure you’re teaching your children the truth of God. Tomorrow, I’ll offer some practical suggestions on how to teach your children to love God.