How did you develop your perspectives on parenting? Most new parents have limited experience with children especially on the level that will be required as a parent. Although some women gained experience through babysitting, that experience is limited to a few hours of work before the children are turned back over their parents. Until you become a parent, you are not responsible for making decisions that will affect indefinitely the course of another person’s life. Whatever experience you have with children prior to becoming a parent is only an introductory course into a new lifestyle that will last the rest of your life.
Most people will turn to the internet, a bookstore, celebrity advice, magazines, or may be a close friend or family member to try to discover some sort of advice that will help them become a good parent. The one thing all of these sources have in common is that they are secondary and subjective. This means that their opinions are derived from their own limited experience without an objective analysis and assessment of the roles and responsibilities that entail a lifetime commitment to children. Even the scientific studies contained in some books are still only snapshots of society taken at a particular moment in time and swayed by the culture.
As Christians, we need a timeless and objective assessment of children based on the depth and wisdom of the One who created them in the first place. Such an assessment is found in the Bible for it reveals the true nature and character of mankind. The Bible illuminates how to overcome the challenges that arise throughout a parent’s ministry to his or her children. A wise parent will ensure that the Bible remains the preeminent guide to instruct the parent in the rearing of their children.
Why use the Bible? The Word of God is the chief tool used of God to change the lives of people (Psalm 119:9; Psalm 1:1-6). The Bible is the inspired record of God’s desires, goals, and interactions for, with and through His creation. Its production was divinely authored by the Holy Spirit and is unchanging because God is unchanging (II Timothy 3:16-17, Psalm 12:6-7; Hebrews 13:8, James 1:17). Additionally, the Bible is given to mankind for all things pertaining to “life and godliness” which includes parenting (I Peter 1:3).
The importance of gaining and maintaining a biblical perspective cannot be overstated. The Christian parent must ensure that the various pursuits of the Christian life remain subjected to the Bible and that all topics are interpreted in the light of God’s truth (Psalm 24:1, II Timothy 2:15). All knowledge that you may seek to impart to your children is dependent on truth. Truth is the revealed and illuminated to parents when they recognize that God is the architect of all truth. Though many philosophers and scientists have come along to promote their perception of “truth” and use it to influence their philosophy of parenting, the Bible is the only source of truth. Because it is the only source of truth, it alone provides the basis of relevant insight for proper parenting and for the development of mature children (II Timothy 3:16-17). The Christian parent must seek to glorify God as the source of all knowledge and wisdom. Without this wisdom and knowledge, their children will be unable to mature in any area of development.
The heart of Christian parenting is the holistic development of their children (Luke 2:52). Christian parents who understand and are committed to biblically principled parenting must be engaged as mentors and models of the truth of God’s Word, not just in a philosophical sense but in a practical sense as well. The proper equipping of their child in all areas of necessary maturity will prepare him to accept and prepare for God’s plan for his life. As accurately stated by August Hermann Francke, “All good instruction must combine godliness and wisdom, which are taught by living the knowledge of Christ…” It will be the parent who is the instrumental aspect of the home that will do the most to shape the character of their children as he or she infuses the biblical principles into their children. Such tangible lessons will have a profound impact on the character development of the student and resonate both inside and outside of the home.
Once you have established the Bible as the authority for all your faith and practice in parenting, you will be able to apply the biblical principles and practices that will most greatly aid and equip your children (many of which will be explained in my following two articles). If you are a parent that has a heart full of love for your children, then you should want to invest the very best in them. The best philosophy you could ever gain in parenting will be the one derived from the Scriptures. Resolve in your heart and mind to cleave to the Bible as the premiere source of your instructions for parenting. It will direct your steps, light your path, and fill your heart. It will make sure that you are “thoroughly furnished unto all good works” when parenting your children. What better source could you possibly find?