- God Commands Fathers to Teach, Discipline, and Rule Their Households – As early as Gen 18:19 we note God’s expectation for Abraham as the head of his family: “For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him”. A similar command was given in Deu 6:7: “thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children”. God’s words about rearing children in the Scriptures are not just “suggestions” – they are commandments that we must strive to obey. God has assigned this vitally important task to fathers, as the following verses maintain. Naturally, if there is no father, these responsibilities are then incumbent on the mother. May God give us the grace to perform these most important biblical duties with faithfulness and kindness. May it bear the fruit of 2 Tim 3:15, if God should allow: “And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus”.
Gen 18:19 “For I know him [Abraham], that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.”
Deu 6:7 “And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.”
Isa 38:19 “The living, the living, he shall praise thee, as I do this day: the father to the children shall make known thy truth.”
Eph 6:4 “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”
- Instruction, Nurture, and Admonition only found in the “Word of God” – The Hebrew word for “Instruction” found in Pro 4:1 “Hear, ye children, the instruction [chastening, correction] of a father, and attend to know understanding”, is also found in Pro 3:11-12 where it is rendered as “chastening”: “My son, despise not the chastening [instruction, correction] of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction: For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth”. In Pro 23:13 this same word is translated as “correction”: “Withhold not correction [chastening, instruction] from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod [the Word of God], he shall not die [eternal death]”. Eph 6:4 contains the word “nurture”: “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord”. Referring to the chief aim of the “Word of God”, the whole Bible, the same Greek word is rendered as “instruction” in 2 Tim 3:16 “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction [nurture] in righteousness:”. And in Heb 12 we find the word used in four verses (5, 7, 8, and 11) as “chastening” or chastisement, and it is quite pertinent to our subject. Eph 6:4 also contains a Greek word rendered as “admonition”. Another citation where this word is used is in 1 Cor 10:11, “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come”. God’s Word, the two-edge sword which has power to deliver ones soul from hell, is the source of all divine instruction, nurture, admonition, chastening and correction.
Job 5:17 “Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty:”
Pro 13:24 “He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.”
Pro 6:23 “For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life [life everlasting]:”
Heb 12: 5, 7, 8, 11 “5And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thouthe chastening [nurture] of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him”…“7If ye endure chastening [nurture], God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth [nurture] not ?”…“8But if ye be without chastisement [nurture], whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons”…“11Now no chastening [nurture] for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.”
- The Rod of Correction is the “Word of God” – Now, while it is true that corporal punishment has its place (particularly with smaller children who are unable to reason things out), there are a number of factors we need to keep in mind. First, the parent should never spank a child when he or she is angry. Secondly, there should always be a time for reconciliation and forgiveness when we explain to the child why we had to spank them and then re-affirm our love for them. However, ultimately, we want to expose the child to the spiritual “rod of correction”, which is the Bible. I will say this again, the goal of all child-rearing is to direct our children into the Word of God. Behavior modification can be instilled and is helpful for maintaining order and tranquility in the home, as I stated previously, but it will not produce salvation. This is why it is so vital to reason with our children from the Bible as soon as they are able to grasp basic principles. Another reason why this is so crucial, is that as parents we are also subject to the same authority as our children – God’s Word – and we need to clearly explain this fact to our children. Thus, parents and children are to walk humbly and obediently before the Word of God. Without a doubt, one of the most difficult arenas in which to be a witness is among our own family members. It is indeed a proving ground without parallel, and we face all kinds of tests daily. How are we going to react? Are we going to exhibit the fruit of the Spirit or the works of the flesh? Thus, family life according to God’s Word becomes the forge, hammer, and anvil that shape our Christian living and growth.
Pro 15:31-32 “The ear that heareth the reproof of life abideth among the wise [unsaved individuals are referred to as fools and saved individuals as wise, in the Bible]. 32He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul: but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding.”
Pro 22:15 “Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.”
Pro 29:15 “The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.”
Pro 23:12-14 “Apply thine heart unto instruction, and thine ears to the words of knowledge. 13Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. 14Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.”
Heb 4:12 “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.