Biblical Advice for Fathers

Two great passages for Father's Day (or any day of the year)

Photo (c) stock.xchng user tist

It's a week from Father's Day as I write this. And since I'm a father myself, I thought it might be a good idea to identify some of the key pieces of advice and instruction fathers can find in the Bible.

After a bit of research, I've decided to highlight two foundational passages of Scripture -- one from the Old Testament and one from the New Testament. Both of these texts are packed with wisdom for fathers of all ages and dads of all kinds.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. 5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. (Deuteronomy 6:4-9, NIV)

Obviously, if we as fathers have any desire to teach our children about the Christian life, we must live the Christian life for ourselves. We must love God with all our heart, soul, and strength if we want to have any credibility when we speak to our children about such things.

But what I really love about this Scripture passage is its practicality. It's one thing to speak vaguely and generally about "following God" -- it's one thing to attend church every week and ​have a few Bibles sitting on the shelves at home.

But it's an entirely different thing to follow the instructions contained in these verses.

Don't just talk with your kids about the Bible on your way home from church. No, talk about it when you sit, when you walk, when you lie down, and when you get up. In other words, talk about the Bible whenever you can.

In the same way, we as fathers should place such a high value on God's Word that we're willing to paint verses on our doorframes if that's what it takes for our kids to understand. We'll even go so far as tying verses to our heads just to make sure our children understand the importance of God's Word!

Ephesians 6:4

Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:4)

Again we see the theme of bringing up our kids "in the training and instruction of the Lord." But the first part of this verse hits me hardest: "Fathers, do not exasperate your children." The HCSB translation says, "Don't stir up anger in your children."

I've had the privilege of working with a lot of teenagers in a few different churches, and I know that many kids today feel a great deal of anger toward their fathers. Many kids are bitter, stirred up, and exasperated. We don't have to look very far to understand why -- divorce, deadbeat dads, workaholic dads, abuse, neglect, and so on. (If you'd like to feel depressed, read some statistics on fatherless children in America today.)

I don't want any of that for my children. I'm desperate to have a great relationship with my kids.

But the point of Ephesians 6:4 is that I have a huge responsibility when it comes to developing that kind of relationship.

Certainly, it's my responsibility as a father to teach my children about God and His Word, and to train them in the way they should go (Proverbs 22:6). Those are necessary elements of my role as a dad.

But I'm also called to treat my children in a way that fills them up with love, hope, fun, peace, and gratefulness -- not with anger and exasperation.