What does the Bible say about being a good parent?

Question: "What does the Bible say about being a good parent?"

Parenting can be a difficult and harrowing venture, but one of the most rewarding and fulfilling things we can ever do. God has a great deal to say about the way we can successfully raise our children to be Godly individuals. The first thing we must do is teach them the truth about God's Word.

Along with loving God and being a Godly example by committing ourselves to His commands, we need to “Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are away on a journey, when you are lying down and when you are getting up again. Tie them to your hands as a reminder, and wear them on your forehead. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates” (Deuteronomy 6:7-9). By figuratively following these commands that God gave to the Hebrews, we teach our children that worshiping God should be constant, not reserved for Sunday morning or nightly prayers.

Although our children learn a great deal through direct teaching, they learn much more by watching us. This is why we must be careful in everything we do. We must first acknowledge our God-given roles. Husbands and wives are to be mutually respectful and submissive to each other (Ephesians 5:21). At the same time, God has established a line of authority to keep order.

1 Corinthians 11:3 says, “A man is responsible to Christ, a woman is responsible to her husband, and Christ is responsible to God.” We know that Christ is not inferior to God, just as a woman is not inferior to her husband. God recognizes, however, that without submission to authority, there is no order. The husband's responsibility as the head of the household is to love his wife as he loves his own body, in the same sacrificial way that Christ loved the church (Ephesians 5:25-29).

In response to this loving leadership, it is not difficult for the wife to submit to her husband's authority (Ephesians 5:24, Colossians 3:18). Her primary responsibility is to love and her husband and children, live wisely and pure, and take care of the home (Titus 2:4-5). Women are naturally more nurturing than men because they were designed to be the primary caretakers of their offspring.

Discipline and instruction are integral parts of parenting. Proverbs 13:24 says, “If you refuse to discipline your children, it proves you don't love them; if you love your children, you will be prompt to discipline them.” Children who grow up in undisciplined households feel unwanted and unworthy. They lack direction and self-control, and as they get older they rebel and have little to no respect for any kind of authority, including God's. “Discipline your children while there is hope. If you don't, you will ruin their lives” (Proverbs 19:18).

At the same time, discipline must be balanced with love, or children may grow up resentful, discouraged, and rebellious (Colossians 3:21). God recognizes that discipline is painful when it is happening (Hebrews 12:11), but if followed up by loving instruction, it is remarkably beneficial to the child. “And now a word to you fathers. Don't make your children angry by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction approved by the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).

It is important to involve children in the church family and ministry when they are young. Regularly attend a Bible-believing church (Hebrews 10:25), allow them to see you studying the Word, and also study it with them. Discuss with them the world around them as they see it, and teach them about the glory of God through everyday life. “Teach your children to choose the right path, and when they are older, they will remain upon it” (Proverbs 22:6).

Recommended Resource: What The Bible Says About Parenting by John MacArthur.

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What does the Bible say about being a good parent?