Who Exactly… Is Teaching Your Kids Scripture?

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Deuteronomy 6:6-9
“And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, 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. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”

This is the most commonly quoted portion of scripture when referencing the proper education of Christian children, by Christians.

My only issue with referencing it for such a purpose? I’m not an Old Testament Jew. I’m a Gentile, Christian dad, living in the 21st century.

How do I know it’s not written directly to me? Here’s the same reference including the surrounding verses:

Deuteronomy 6:4-12
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, 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. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. And when the Lord your God brings you into the land that he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give you—with great and good cities that you did not build, and houses full of all good things that you did not fill, and cisterns that you did not dig, and vineyards and olive trees that you did not plant—and when you eat and are full, then take care lest you forget the Lord, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.”

I am not in anyway near being part of Old Testament Israel, who came out of slavery in Egypt. They are all dead. In fact, every last one of them died in the wilderness approximately 3,400 years ago. (Except for Joshua and Caleb. They made it into the Promised Land by the grace of God: Numbers 32:10-12)

Here’s another lesser known reference, regarding the education of children in the Old Testament:

Deuteronomy 4:9-10
“Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children’s children— how on the day that you stood before the Lord your God at Horeb, the Lord said to me, Gather the people to me, that I may let them hear my words, so that they may learn to fear me all the days that they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children so.”

Does this one directly apply to me?

Uh, no… I wasn’t in Horeb, roughly 3,400 years ago. This reference doesn’t directly apply to me either, nor does it directly apply to anyone in the church today.

So, what do we (brethren) do with these verses, in terms of application?

Well, hermeneutically speaking, the PRINCIPLES may be applied to us today, but not the direct commands.

Again…

Deuteronomy 6:6-9
“And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, 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. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”

Now, I can’t be certain, but I think it’s pretty safe to assume that most Christians reading this do not practice the wearing of “signs on their hands” or “frontlets” between their eyes. Nor do most write Mosaic Laws on their door posts. However, the basic principles laid out here, in terms of educating our children spiritually, is something we can glean from.

We should be encouraged to use every opportunity possible, every aspect of our lives, for the purpose of bringing up our children without excuse regarding special revelation. In other words, we are to be diligent in discipling our saved children, and we are to be diligent in evangelizing our unsaved children, with regards to the things of God (in all that we do). We shall “talk of them” when we “sit” in our house, and when we “walk by the way”, and when we “lie down”, and when we “rise”. Principally speaking, this includes when we are watching tv, driving in the car, on line at the grocery store, etc. In other words, whatever we are doing, such is an opportunity to edify our children in the things of God.

There is though, one other important principle we can glean from these scriptures, regarding our children’s spiritual growth.

Did you notice who is to be teaching our children such things in the Deuteronomy references? Us… the parents. In fact, the only ones whom children are commanded to be obedient to in scripture, are their parents (Exodus 20:12).

So, why do we even consider passing our children unto others, when it comes to training up our children in the Lord? 

I’ll leave you to ponder that, but the New Testament is clear…

Ephesians 6:4
“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”

I like how fellow blogger Rick Thomas puts it, in describing the basic, Biblical family dynamic:

“A proper biblical orientation of the home is a husband, who is in hot pursuit of God, a wife who is humbly following him in his pursuit of the Lord, and the children who are brought along in the wake of the parent’s leadership. This is familial success.”

Amen!

May we (Christians) be ever more discerning in this endeavor…

Godspeed, to the brethren!

(Here is the link to the article I quoted by Rick Thomas.)

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