Ten Biblical Truths on Disciplining Children

disciplining children

Two years ago, I must have struck a nerve with the article “Parents, Require Obedience of Your Children.” It has proved to be one of our most visited resources.

In view of that, I thought it might be helpful to go behind that article and give a deeper, wider biblical basis for rearing and disciplining children. My guess is that most of us parent by intuition and tradition. That’s not all bad. Parenting is an art, not a science. And artists do not consult manuals as they paint.

But our human intuitions and traditions should be shaped by God’s revelation. So think of this article as a short lesson about some things God has revealed in the Bible that give foundation and guidance for our parenting.

We’ll start with the very basics about disciplining children.

1. Marriage between one man and one woman for life is God’s plan for the procreation and rearing of children.

The lifelong covenant of marriage between a man and a woman is God’s original idea for the human race. It is modeled on, and rooted in, God’s eternal plan to redeem a bride for his Son—the church.

A man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. (Genesis 2:24)

From the beginning of creation, “God made them male and female.” “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate. (Mark 10.6–9″>Mark 10:6–9)

“A man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. (Ephesians 5:31–32)

2. The covenant union of marriage was the way God planned to fill the earth with human beings who would reflect his glory by their faith and creative productivity.

God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Genesis 1:28)

3. Children were not to be conceived outside of the covenant of marriage. For that reason—and others—sexual relations were denied to the unmarried, and adultery was forbidden to the married.

Flee from sexual fornication. (1 Corinthians 6:18)

You shall not commit adultery. (Romans 13:9)

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John Piper is the Pastor for Preaching at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota. John is the author of more than 30 books and more than 25 years of his preaching and teaching is available free at DesiringGod.org. © Desiring God.