Reasons for Discipling Sons


Paul J. Bucknell

Why should I disciple my sons?

Personal Reflections

Lately I have been thinking about what I want for my sons. Because I am a preacher and teacher of God's Word, I began thinking of certain desires for them regarding God's Word, passionate love for God, and familiarity with God's Word. I would like to see these things in my sons. Actually, even if I wasn't a preacher, I would still want to instill these values into their lives. Is this not a calling of the father?!

Discipling Sons
Discipling Sons
Proverbs 4:1-4
Proverbs 4:5-9
Proverbs 4:10-13
Proverbs 4:14-19
Proverbs 4:20-23
Proverbs 4:24-27
an Intro
Getting Started
Listening to Dad
Acquire Wisdom
Staying on the Path
The Two Paths
The Springs of Life
Body Participation

I asked myself, "What skills, desires and values should my sons possess to be able to live as a godly man in this crooked and perverse generation?" I should share with you that as a family, we do have regular morning and evening family devotions. Furthermore, with our home schooling curriculum we do teach a good portion of biblical and topical studies. But I know this is not enough.

Three things were missing.

  • Firstly, I was not being responsible as a father to train up my sons. There are so many biblical teachings instructing Dads to teach their sons. This conviction has been swelling up for years.

    Scripture Passage

    Short Comment

    Deuteronomy 6:7 (Also see 11:19)
    and you shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. (, NASB).

    The instruction of our sons is to be constant and touch upon every area of life. With today's entertainment opportunities and travel, we need to purpose some quiet time together. This is the only way to be diligent to teach them.

    Proverbs 1:8
    Hear, my son, your father's instruction, And do not forsake your mother's teaching;

    The only way they will value our instruction is that we
    1) show them the biblical commands that support our words and
    2) teach them the practical reasons why this law is best.
    3) Live it before them.

    Proverbs 3:1
    My son, do not forget my teaching, But let your heart keep my commandments; ( NASB).

    We are not just talking about instruction as in "do this" or "don't do that." We are talking about fathers actually teaching their sons. Yes, we have many substitute teachers today, but it is the father who is responsible that their sons get the right message. We need a special time for this.

    Leviticus 10:11
    "... Teach the sons of Israel all the statutes which the LORD has spoken to them through Moses."

    We have the example of God teaching the 'sons' of Israel through the Levites. We see the purpose for clergy but realize 'church' time is often inadequate.

    1 Timothy 1:1-2
    1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus according to the commandment of God our Savior, and of Christ Jesus, who is our hope; to Timothy, my true child in the faith: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

    Timothy was Paul's spiritual child. 1 & 2 Timothy were where Paul, the spiritual father, instructed Timothy. Notice the attention of needs and the use of scripture to direct him in these books. Remember real discipleship programs are built around the father-son teaching situation and doesn't substitute it.

  • Secondly, what we were doing with our family in general, would not keep him from much confusion that I experienced. I personally became a Christian when about 12 or 13. Only by God's great grace did I start studying the Bible properly during university days. Those studies revolutionized my life. And honestly, they still do. But I had already picked up so many bad thought patterns and habits that I was trying to put the pieces back together. I didn't want my son to go through this period of confusion. Of course, he had more than I had at that age, but I have seen the hardened preacher son who knows but does not value those teachings. I need to get to his heart.

  • Thirdly, I knew that what we were doing would not bring my son to where he needs to be. I sense what God wants of him. He should be ready at age 16-18 to embark on what God has for him. He doesn't really need university or seminary. Those trainings are expensive and often teach the wrong things. I keep thinking about the three years the disciples spent with Jesus. I need to treat these years as special times of training. Just as I got my sons to work with me on a small wood project the other day, so I need to do this with God's Word.

My oldest son can now read. I realized that he is already 8 years old. He is getting bigger and bigger. He knows the Lord. So what am I waiting for? As a result, I have recently been praying about how to disciple him. God put Proverbs 4 on my heart. And so this is where we have started.

Furthermore, I feel a burden to share what I am doing with others. I believe there are many other fathers like me who don't know what they should be doing or how to do it. This is my first son I am training. I am just beginning but if you would like to join in, and see what this practically means, please join in.

Just remember, if we don't disciple our sons, who will? We need to put knowledge to action. Perhaps the reason the Lord has waited 18 years for my son to reach this age is because I am so slow in learning from my Heavenly Father's way with me.

Reflections from R.C. Ryle

I am growing old myself, but there are few things I remember so well as the days of my youth. I have a most distinct recollection of the joys and the sorrows, the hopes and the fears, the temptations and the difficulties, the mistaken judgements and the misplaced of affections, the errors and the aspirations, which surround and accompany a young man's life. If I can only say something to keep some young man in the right way, and preserve him from faults and sins, which may mar his prospects both for time and eternity, I shall be very thankful.

From the introduction of "Thoughts for Young Men" by J. C. Ryle, published by Chapel Library.


Lord, the life of my son is at stake here. There is a good chance that I will loose my son if I don't take this training seriously. The world is treacherous. It is like a place between two war fronts that has been carefully mined. I want my son to have a great love and devotion for you, his future wife and to everyone around. Make him strong.

I know that by God putting them in my family that I am responsible to train him up. I confess that I am not a specialist in this area. However, You are the specialist, and You can and will teach both of us. Lord, now is the time for your mighty works and words to be etched into the heart of this young man. May he be raised up and stand on my shoulders away from the dirt of this world. Do it for your glory and the sake of my son. In Christ's Name I pray, Amen.

At the time of this writing, I am just beginning to disciple my son. But even with only one session completed, the benefits are already very obvious.

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