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Principles and Practices of Biblical Parenting

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Principles and Practices of Biblical Parenting

– Raising Godly Children –

Paul and Linda Bucknell


Understanding God's Design | Learning God's Way of Rescuing the Family | Embracing God's Goals for the Family | Questions
Principles & Practices of Biblical Parenting main index

Embracing God's Goal for the Family


Embracing God's Goal for the Family helps the parent realize they are seeking God's goals for their family and why those goals are the best for everyone!

1) God's Goals are my goals!
2) The Goal of Parenting
3) Focusing in on the Heart

1) God's Goals are my goals!

Problem oriented affects the goals we make.Far too often we fail in accomplishing any real long lasting good because we are problem-oriented rather than God-oriented. Of course, we admire ourselves for trying to solve problems raising our children, but these attempts fall far short of what God has planned.

The problems that we try to solve focus on our point of frustration. We need to turn our minds and hearts all the way around until we see what God wants.

We need to look at His standards and the goals He has for our children. It helps if we ask, "kind of young man or woman does God want of my child?"

It is interesting to see how the apostle Paul called Timothy. Design should instead influence our goals.We see that Paul often calls Timothy his son (1 Timothy 1:2). Perhaps, Timothy's own father had died at an early age.

Whatever the case, Paul acted as a spiritual father to Timothy. Underline the three things Paul tells Timothy are the goal of his instruction.

"But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith." 1 Timothy 1:5

In the section below we will focus on these aspects of what Paul thinks is important to input into the believers' hearts. We will discover that they serve nicely for what parents should want for their children.

2) The Goal of Parenting

We can train all sorts of skills into our children, but none of these skills compare to the good, obedient, loving, submissive, respectful, self-controlled, gentle, astute and wise characteristics that God wants to put into them. We must not desire the ability for them to make a lot of money but how to rightly use the resources God sees fit to give to them.

God wants to bless our children so that they will courageously, lovingly and faithfully serve God and others in the world. God uses our families to expand His kingdom of love.

God speaks to the children chiefly through the parents.In order to help us along in thinking what kind of children God wants us to raise, let's look at a few key passages and thoughts from His Word.

After all, our goal for our children must come from God's goal for our children. We do not know how He will specifically use each child, but we want them to lay the foundation so that whatever area God leads them in, they will succeed and pass on His blessings to others. These three goals come from 1 Timothy 1:5.

(1) Cultivating love from a pure heart (Mark 12:29-31)
(2) Developing a good conscience (Proverbs 1:7-8)
(3) Forming a sincere faith (Galatians 5:22-23)

(1) Cultivating love from a pure heart (Mark 12:29-31)

We have no greater purpose than to have our children be like Jesus. Jesus summarized His own heart when He summarized all the commandments in a few lines.


What word is repeated twice to guide us in our response to God and man in the above verses? That is right; it is love. We are to love God and to love man. Jesus calls them one commandment because they cannot be separated. Secular man insists on saying one can love man without God. Jesus says one only can love man if one loves God.

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For our love to be acceptable, it must come from a pure heart. Because God is one, then our devotion cannot be divided. All of our lives need to be spent on doing what pleases the Lord. All our heart, all our soul, all our mind and all our strength is needed to rightly love God and man. The pattern is obvious. A true love is an undivided one requiring all of our affection and purpose.

God made everything around us to be enjoyed and and for us to be well provided for. God only wants us to be thankful and content with what He gives us. He wants us to use what we have to care for others. The Lord is after our love. If we love Him, then we will obey Him. We need to point our children to the goal of loving God and man like Jesus did.

(2) Developing a good conscience (Proverbs 1:7-8)

Certain attitudes and perspectives about God are foundational to real learning. The attitude (heart) is the frame where the pieces of truth are placed. This is like the indentations in a Chinese Checker board so that the marbles can be have order. If there is no order, there are no rules and no game. Proverbs 1:7-8 give us a clear picture of how a good conscience is developed.

"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction. Hear, my son, your father's instruction, And do not forsake your mother's teaching;" (Proverb s 1:7-8)

The foundation of a good conscience is the fear of God. It is knowledge but more than knowledge. It is the way we perceive God. Without this spiritual knowledge, our children will not be able to gain the wisdom and instruction necessary for godly living.

Book this is based on: Principles and Practices of Biblical ParentingThe child will have a good conscience when he fears God because of two reasons:

1) God's standards are inscribed on his conscience. He fears God rather than man. God is everywhere so no matter what he does or where he is, he does what is right.

2) A person who fears God listens to his conscience. By this we mean that when he does wrong, he rights it. He first of all is uncomfortable with guilt but also he is concerned with the consequences that God will bring. So those who fear God are wise because they avoid guilt by obedience.

The fear of the Lord is an attentive obedience to the LORD. A person who fears the Lord is aware of the importance of His commands and desires and so conforms his life to them. A person who fears the Lord allows God's thoughts and purpose to influence what he thinks, does and says. The absence of the fear of the Lord means he does not let those things shape his life. He fears no consequence for disobeying God.

The parents cultivate this fear of the Lord. We see this in the way the very next verse (Proverbs 1:8) tells us how the fear of the Lord is cultivated in our children's lives. God has made the parent the means by which the child gains his or her perception of God and the world. Even Moses, God's great prophet, was nursed by his God-fearing mother during his early years.

The way a parent responds to the Lord will greatly influence the child. If the parent fears the Lord, then the child will imitate them in this matter. If not, then the child will not care.

The child will esteem his or her own ideas as most important. Instilling the fear of God into our children is the greatest protection our children will have in this devilish secular world where our children will be taught that their own desires and ambitions are held to be most important.

Pause for Reflection: The question rightly deserves asking, "What are we passing on to our children?" How can we pass this fear of God on to them? Have we as parents really learned to live in fear of God yet? List one situation where your child has observed you fearing the Lord.

(3) Forming a sincere faith (Galatians 5:22-23)

Parents also want to cultivate a sincere faith. A sincere faith in God produces what Paul calls the fruit of the Spirit. These things reflect the simple but genuine faith one has in God. Without faith, none of the fruit would be possible. They depend on our trust in God.

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law." (Galatians 5:22,23).

Those who are brought up in God's ways are confident, because they understand how they should rightly relate to God, others and the creation around them. What would it be like if you could say these statements about your children without any hesitancy?

Ø     Loving

Our children believe others are important and made in God's image.

Ø     Joyful

Our children know God their Father wonderfully watches over them.

Ø     Peaceful

Our children are confident of God's presence in all sorts of difficult circumstances.

Ø     Patient

Our children trust that God will, in His time, care for all their needs.

Ø    Kind

Our children pass on God's grace and mercy as shown to them in Christ.

Ø    Good

Our children reflect God's goodness in the nice way they treat others.

Ø    Faithful

Our children honor God by imitating God's faithfulness in their consistency.

Ø     Gentle

Our children tenderly meet the needs of others by rejecting acts of manipulation .

Ø     Self-control

Our children have learned by faith to live by God's wishes and rule over their passions.

The more we learn God's ways, the more desirable they are. There are many things that need to be learned about raising our children, but we cannot, dare not, forget God's purposes in what He can do through parents who are keen on raising children His way.

Biblical parenting is simply taking the very best things and passing them on to our precious children. Our goals are high but obtainable. Where they cannot obtain these high principles, we kindly show them their need for Christ. There they find God's love and the power of the Spirit.

3) Focusing in on the Heart

We will notice that God is not merely concerned with modifying the outward behavior of a child. He is concerned with those things that shape who the child is and why the child does things. God expects parents to properly cultivate the love, conscience and faith of their children.

We must reject focusing on the development of certain skills or providing physical need only. They are important but fall short of God's goals for our children. Surely this common approach is the world's approach which results in sad stories.

If God gave you a way to rightly train the heart of the child, would you not take that opportunity?! Through our sessions we can show you how, but we encourage you to make a commitment to do your very best to raise your children with a heart for God. Below is an important assignment that will be refined as you understand more and more, but your commitment should be unwaveringly the same.

An Illustration

The other day I looked out our front window onto a busy city street lined with houses. Across the street I noticed something moving quickly behind the parked cars and large tree. Someone came out from in front of a car directly across our house. I noticed it was Benjamin, our eight year old.

He had a good-sized white bag filled so much that it looked like a big ball. He dashed across the street with the 'ball' in hand and much like a great basketball player came up our steps, dunked the bag in our barrel, and sat on our front steps.

Curious, I went out and sat down next to him. I asked him what he was doing. He said he was picking up litter from the street. (It doesn't help that a candy store opened across from us where there are many children.) He actually went up and down the street picking up other people's litter.

I put my arm around him and said some very encouraging words to him something like, "I am proud of you Benjamin. You went out of your way, all on your own. You did a good deed by picking up their mess and made it nice for everyone!" He of course brimmed with delight inside. He understood what I meant by a good deed. We have discussed Matthew 5:16 and encouraged everyone to do good works and shine their light in our neighborhood. At devotions I at times ask, "Who did a good work today?"

To be honest, Benjamin had been naughty at times that week. He was confronted on those things, of course. But here, we could focus on our goals for our family, formed by the scriptures.


From reflecting on the teaching above, write down the spiritual goals you want to have for your children. Make sure you discuss them with your spouse. Remember to pray about why you want these goals.





Sign your name below if you are willing, by His grace and power, to train your children to be like Jesus.


Father: ____________________________


 Mother: ____________________________

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Scriptures typically quoted from the New American Standard Bible unless noted: (C) Copyright The Lockman Foundation 1988

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