Fatherhood in 5 Passages

I am passionate about several subjects.  If you get me talking about them you might not be able to quiet me.  Some of these are: what constitutes being a man, the home and marriage, financial management, and parenting particularly as it relates to the fathers.  Now I am one that shares my opinion about things fairly freely however, there is not much interest in what I personally have to say about these matters.  But as in all things, we should be concerned with “What says the Scriptures?”

In honor of Father’s Day, let us consult the Bible as it relates to fatherhood.  After all, GOD chose to refer to Himself as “Our Father in heaven.” And thus in the pages of Scripture we find many lessons as we consider Him as the perfect example.

I would like to suggest a picture of a godly father could be formed by visiting 5 significant passages.  From each we can take away a single description of a worthy father.  A godly father will lead, leave, train, admonish and encourage.

Passage #1

For I have known him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the LORD, to do righteousness and justice, that the LORD may bring to Abraham what He has spoken to him. Gen 18:19

The father is given the spiritual responsibility to lead his family.  The Hebrew word for command is a very strong word.  It is the same word GOD used when He commanded Adam not to eat of the fruit.  The father is to lead his family not in some passive way.  Rather he is to be in charge of his family taking the responsibility to lead and command those in his household in those things of eternal consequence.  Note those things mentioned: to keep the way of the LORD and to do righteousness and justice.

Description #1 Lead the family

Passage #2

Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.  John 4:20

Here we see the importance of a legacy for the family. Our fathers worshiped here implies this practice has been ongoing for generations. Inherent in this is passing the love of the truth from generation to generation.  The passage found in 2 Tim 2:2 actually lists 4 generations.  I know of families in which a godly man influenced his family for generations to come.

But here is the point.  In order to leave a legacy, one must create a legacy.  Really we all are leaving some type of legacy.  The question is what kind of legacy do you want to leave?

Description #2 Leave a legacy (to leave one you must create one!)

Passage #3

And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.

I have heard some say this is written to parents and I will agree there is truth in both parents being involved in the process.  But let’s be clear – the Greek word translated father is pater, which is the male.

Training and admonition of the Lord

Training comes from the Greek word Paideia.  This word means the whole training and education of children.  Included in this is the cultivation of the soul, especially by correcting mistakes and curbing passions.

The word admonition comes from the Greek word nouthesia and is referring to a mild rebuke or warning, necessarily a part of the training process.

Description #3 Train or educate the whole child

Passage #4

Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live?  Hebrews 12:9

Children need their fathers to be fathers, not friends.  Fathers have the responsibility of molding, correcting, etc.  And the result is respect.  And this respect will lead to the deepest of friendships.  But respect cannot be sacrificed for friendship.  Along the way, if given the choice between love and respect one must choose respect.  Always.  Because love will follow respect.  However, if love is chosen, neither love nor respect will result.

The word corrected in the Greek refers to a trainer, a teacher, a chastiser or discipliner.  Most of the time we associate discipline with punishment but do note the root of discipline is disciple, to follow.  The goal of chastising is to lead, to show the way.

Description #4  Admonish, correct, disciple

Passage #5

as you know how we exhorted, and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father does his own children     1 Thes 2:11

  1. Exhorted – Greek word parakaleo – encouraged, support, call to one’s side
  2. Comforted – Greek word paramytheomai – to encourage, to comfort
  3. Charged – Greek word martyreo – to be a witness

Description #5  Encourage, comfort, support

5 Traits of a Worthy Father

  1. Lead
  2. Leave
  3. Train
  4. Admonish
  5. Encourage

I am thankful to know many fathers striving for these 5 traits.



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