4. Children are a gift from God; they are not of our own making.
Job tells us that it was God who gave him his children. The Psalmist says our children are a heritage from the Lord. And Ruth illustrates that when a child is conceived, that conception is the work of God.
Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord. (Job 1:21)
Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. (Psalm 127:3)
5. Parents, therefore, are to provide for their children’s needs.
Parents are to provide for the basic needs of their children, from their first nursing at the breast to their establishment of self-sufficient maturity. Paul taught the fathers of Ephesus to “nourish” or “nurture” their children. This is the basic meaning of the Greek ektrepho in Ephesians 6:4—“bring them up.”
Paul modeled the providing father in his relation to his spiritual “children” in the church of Corinth:
I will not be a burden, for I seek not what is yours but you. For children are not obligated to save up for their parents, but parents for their children. (2 Corinthians 12:14)
6. Parents are to instruct their children in the basic skills of cultural life, the truths about God and his way of salvation, and the path of wisdom in this world.
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. (Deuteronomy 6:6–9; see also Psalm 78:5–7)
Hear, O sons, a father’s instruction, and be attentive, that you may gain insight, for I give you good precepts; do not forsake my teaching. When I was a son with my father, tender, the only one in the sight of my mother, he taught me and said to me, “Let your heart hold fast my words; keep my commandments, and live.” (Proverbs 4:1–4)