Fathers Lead and Teach
God said regarding Abraham, “For I have chosen him, that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing righteousness and justice, so that the LORD may bring to Abraham what he has promised him.” (Gen. 18:19) The pattern that Abraham took was to first keep the way of the Lord then he commanded his children to follow his lead. As fathers, if we are not willing to lead in godly things, in regular Bible study, how are we to expect our children to follow and to know God’s will? Abraham had a determined spirit to do God’s will and see to it that his family followed his steps, especially by his examples of an active faith.
A father must also take the lead in teaching the family God’s ways, which requires a continuous effort. Moses commanded the children of Israel, “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. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates”. (Deut. 6:6-9) To know what God has done and what He has to say is vitally important; so important that it is expected to be a constant message before our eyes. Just think how less our families would be influenced by the world if we were to ever keep present the essential words of our Creator before us.
I was fortunate to have been adopted into and grow up in a home with a Christian father and mother. They were by far not perfect but lovingly brought me up by the basic principles of living a Christian life. The idea of family Bible studies and personal studies were not an example I was familiar with, and those habits influenced my parental style as well though without a complete absence of effort. I later understood they just didn’t know how. I remember my mother telling me how they used the Bible in school to teach reading and writing and how verses were memorized and recited as part of their education process. I know those days are long passed for public school but in the home there are no limits.
However, raising children does involve education. One definition of education states, “to teach and discipline, so as to develop natural powers, develop and train for some special purpose”. The greatest need in any child’s life is spiritual development through learning of God. Fathers are told to, “not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord”. (Eph. 6:4)
So, in the training of our children, who is responsible? The answer is not the Bible class teacher although there is a responsibility of the church to feed its members. But, God has without question put the responsibility for a child’s training upon the father as the head of the household.
There can be circumstances that require someone other than the father to teach the children in a household. A situation may exist where there is no father or not a godly father present. In the absence of a godly father, it was Timothy’s faithful mother and grandmother who taught him to where he grew to have a sincere faith. “I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well”. (2 Tim. 1:5)
How do you write the truth of God on a child’s heart? By spending time at home, in the car, on vacation, on walks, and during leisure time, filling those moments with the glorious knowledge of a loving Father and the gospel of Christ. Two hours a week at the church building just isn’t enough to win the hearts of our children. There is no substitute for knowing God’s word and ignorance of it destroys His precious gift that has been given to a loving father and mother. (Hosea 4:5)