In nature, as God designed, when seeds fall from a tree and begin to sprout into saplings, they do not fall far form the tree. And that is why many forests are made of many of the same time of tree. In the same way, so should Christian families be: growing and maturing at home, close to family, under the leaders of the household: the parents.
Deuteronomy 6:4-9 tells us to teach God’s statutes, “diligently to your children,”(v.7). Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Now that’s not a surefire promise, it’s a Proverb of wisdom, but, it’s one directed to you and me, parents.
For the vast majority of history, education was taken care of at home by the parents. And no, it wasn’t like homeschooling today where you learn to read and write and do math. Formal education such as that was not common like it is now. Girls would usually stay at home and learn to cook and clean and take care of the house, training up to be dutiful wives. Boys would learn a skill or a trade to provide for the family. Only the kids of royalty or those of the rich and powerful would receive formal educations, learning to read and write in several languages, included Latin. What about you and me? We learned what we needed to learn to take care of and provide for our families, no more. Most people did not know how to read and write and only a basic grasp of math was needed when it came to money and harvesting and the such.
Moving closer to the church, let’s look at Sunday School. Sunday School, also known as Sabbath Day School, was originally started in the 1780s as a way to help educate the children who were in the workforce, working in factories. The Sabbath Day was their only day off of work, so the clergy worked together to educate these children in reading, writing, arithmetic, and the Bible. But, that was only one day a week. It wasn’t until 1870 when kids were allowed to go to school during the week. Let’s face it, the origins of what we know of Sunday School were nothing like what we have now. Completely different, in fact.
But still, even with the advent of public education and the eventual laws which made it so parents had to send their children to school of some sort, there was still something that was taken care of at home. What is that you ask? Educating the children in the Word of God. God has always commanded parents to be the main teachers of the laws of God to their children. Let’s look at Deuteronomy 6:4-9:
Wow. Just wow. Here, the Hebrew nation is being commanded to study and talk about God and His statutes and laws. All the time. It should dominate not only their studies and thoughts, but their lives as well. And we should be living by the same example, living our lives in a zealous fashion for God and His will in our lives. And our lives include our children.
So, with all this in mind, parents should be taking the leading role in instructing our children about the Bible, that is God’s Word, the very Word that was God and with With God and became flesh and dwelt among us(John 1:1, 14). This instruction is something that we, as parents, are commanded to do. It’s not a suggestion or a good idea, but a command. Now don’t get me wrong, your children should attend church and should learn from church, from the pastor and from Sunday School. However, that is just one, maybe two days a week. What about the other five or six? That is for the parents, specifically fathers/men, as outlined in the Bible as being the spiritual head of the family.
There is this woman that I know through my work. If she were to come and visit my church, she’d probably weird out a good number of our members, deacons included(and maybe even my pastor!). I know that some would consider her some sort of religious zealot. Some of the younger families in the church might see her as overbearing, while others thinking of her as a fake. But let me tell you, she is the REAL DEAL with how she lives her life for God. She’s not a religious zealot, but she is truly zealous for God, and it shows in her life, her actions, and her words. Truly, she is a model of how we, as Christian parents, should be living our lives.
Soli Deo Gloria
Here are a few resources for family devotions and worship: