Using Scripture in Training Our Children

After a recent Mom’s Corner where I shared that we chose to use Scripture if our children need correction or encouragement, I received this e-mail:

“I loved the discussion on Scripture memory. Teri stated that she likes to quote Scripture when dealing with issues in discipline, etc. I was wondering if you have anything for some of us just getting back to using the Bible on a daily basis that we could use as well.

“For example, I loved the verse on mumbling, and it was helpful to know there is one in there on that topic. It will also help me expand my memory and learn more in the process.” A mom

As I answered this e-mail and told the mom that we didn’t have a resource such as she was looking for, I began to encourage her in what I would suggest she do. When I did that, I realized what I was sharing with her was something I wanted to suggest to others in a Mom’s Corner.

Our main basis for using Scripture with our children in situations where they are doing something they shouldn’t do or are not doing what they should is 2 Timothy 3:16, which says, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” Another applicable verse is Psalms 119:71, which tells us, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.” We see a basis for using Scripture as we discipline our children in Ephesians 6:4: “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” As we base discipline on Scripture, we are bringing our children up both in the nurture and in the admonition of the Lord.

While some indicate that tying Scripture to consequences will give the children a negative attitude toward Scripture, that has not been our philosophy or experience. Certainly if a parent were to use the Word while he was angry and disciplining a child, then the effects on the child would not be positive. Remember that James 1:20 says, “For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.” When we want the fruit of the Spirit to grow in our children’s lives, it is imperative that we are not angry as we rebuke them.

In order to use Scripture with our children, we have to know it, be striving to apply it in our lives, and then recognize situations where we can use it. In hindsight, I would like to have done this more with my children. I believe that it takes a purposeful effort on my part to be prepared and to follow through with applying Scripture to the daily events both in my life and in my children’s lives.

If I use Scripture with my children in the situations that arise throughout the day, look at the wonderful opportunity it gives me to begin developing the habit in their lives of thinking of Scripture and relating it to what is currently happening. For me as a Christian this has not come naturally, perhaps because I was saved as an adult and wasn’t used to thinking of the Lord and Scripture throughout the day. That is probably why I have had to work so hard on learning the Scripture, thinking about it, and applying it to situations in my own life and then with the children. However, through the use of Scripture with my children, I can help them make the application of the Word easier and more habitual for themselves than it has been for me.

The starting place for this purposeful effort in using Scripture with your children would be during your own personal time in the Word every day. Have a notebook with your Bible so that you can copy into the notebook verses that you find that would be applicable to situations with your children. I would suggest beginning by going through the Epistles in the New Testament during your Bible reading. There are many good verses in those books.

I will give you several examples. You could use these categories as a starting place and add other verses to them, plus other categories as needed. You will find plenty of verses as you go.

Child is bickering with a sibling or being unkind:
Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering. (Colossians 3:12)

Child is angry:
But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. (Colossians 3:8)

Child is unhappy:
Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. (Philippians 4:4)

Child is worried:
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)

Child isn’t content:
Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. (Philippians 4:11)

Child says, “It is too hard,” when asked to do something:
I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. (Philippians 4:13)

Child isn’t being kind to his siblings:
Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. (Colossians 3:12-13)

Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil. (1 Corinthians 13:4-5)

Child is lying:
Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him. (Colossians 3:9-10)

Child isn’t obeying:
Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord. (Colossians 3:20)

Child is proud:
. . . Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time. (1 Peter 5:5-6)

Do you see how practical and applicable the Word is for those situations our children will face on a daily basis? These years with our children in our homes are our opportunities to disciple our children. The Word is our ally in this task. “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). There is a power behind God’s Word. It brings a new dynamic into being that is absolutely needed in discipling children and bringing them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

Please remember that our attitude in this discipleship process is very important. If we have a critical spirit toward our children, or if we use the verses with condemnation or a hard tone in our voice, we will drive a wedge in our relationship with them and most likely in their relationships with the Lord Jesus. If we want our children to be open to the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives, then we will use Scripture gently, with the fruit of the Spirit evident in our own lives. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23).

Is my attitude toward my child one of love when I give him a correction, or am I frustrated with him for the situation, which has created an inconvenience for me? Does my tone of voice and countenance demonstrate the joy of the Lord, or do they show my unhappiness with the child? Is there peace in my heart or anxiousness? Am I patient or irritated? Am I gentle or harsh? Those verses in Galatians give us a very good gauge by which to evaluate the way we use Scripture with our children, particularly if we are rebuking them.

We want to use these years we are raising our children to teach them to obey the Lord Jesus Christ and to depend on His strength. We can do that as we disciple our children by using the Word. However, we must have those verses at our disposal so that we can share them with our children. That means memorizing the verses ourselves or having them where we can easily access them. We must be working to apply those verses in our own lives while also disciplining our children in a spirit of love. May we be moms who are drawing our children closer to the Lord Jesus as we bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

Posted in: Mom's Corner