These seven scriptures and the principles they reflect have had a huge impact on my approach to fatherhood. As you read and ponder, I hope that you will find meaning in them as I have and find ways to apply them in your life as a dad. The references are to passages in the King James Bible.
Ephesians 6:4 - “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” The Apostle Paul in this verse speaks directly to fathers and offers some key principles. Often as “natural man” fathers, we provoke our children to anger. If we respond to situations with anger, we often “provoke” an angry response. If we fail in some way to love and show respect for our children, they may respond in anger. Paul suggests that the way we avoid angry circumstances is to bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. We may think of nurture as a role primarily for mothers, but fathers can also be nurturing, providing a safe environment for children to express themselves and learn from our teaching and their experiences.
Joshua 24:15 “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord , choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Every father makes choices in how he believes and how he behaves, and the importance of a father’s example on his family cannot be overstated. When we choose to espouse and live principles like charity, respect, devotion, service and faith, we can lead our family in the right direction. And while we as Christians may see this as primarily serving the Lord, they are timeless principles regardless of our faith tradition.
Deuteronomy 6:6-7 - “And these words , which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: 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.” Teaching is a never-ending responsibility for fathers and this passage in the Old Testament is a good reminder. We are to teach diligently, meaning that we never stop and that we are deliberate about the opportunity, ever watching for teaching moments. And this passage also suggests that we are teaching in every situation - walking, lying down, and getting up. Sometimes we teach by precept, sometimes by our example and more often in both ways. But we need to always be teaching.
Matthew 7:9-11- “Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread , will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” This teaching of Jesus Christ in the Sermon on the Mount reminds us to follow God’s example in how we interact with our families. We need to be sensitive to the needs and feelings of our children, and always try to provide for them in a way that blesses them. I don’t interpret this principle as giving children everything they ask for, but in giving them things that bless them and don’t harm them. God doesn’t withhold love from us and we need to not withhold it from our families.
Isaiah 52:7 - “Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch no unclean thing; go ye out of the midst of her; be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the Lord.” The message of the prophet Isaiah is that we should be clean and that we should focus on the things of God and not on the things of the world. Men who are faithful, avoid pornography and keep their promises to God are strong in the Lord. And as fathers, we in one sense “bear the vessels of the Lord” as we have stewardship for His children that have been entrusted to us. Both we and they are vessels of the Lord as we strive to be more like Jesus.
1 Corinthians 16:13 - "Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong." More counsel from the Apostle Paul suggests that we as men, and more especially as fathers, stand fast and act with courage and strength. Too often as men, we choose to “go with the flow,” when as Christians we are called to a higher standard. In this verse in King James, the word “quit” means behave or act. So, as my nephew often says when things get tough, “zip up your man suit and get going.”
Luke 15:20-24 - “And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.” This passage from Jesus’ parable of the prodigal son reminds us of the importance of never giving up. In this story, the younger son of the father took his inheritance, spent it riotously and was lost to his family and to his God. The fact that the father saw his son returning while “he was yet a great way off” suggests that he had been watching for his return. And when he returned, he was welcomed like a prince and his return was celebrated by his father and others in the household. Christian fathers never give up on their children, and use their influence to keep them strong, and work with them when they stray.
This post was written by Wayne Parker. You can find his post at: http://fatherhood.about.com/od/fathers-faith/fl/Seven-Key-Biblical-Principles-for-Fathers.htm?nl=1