There are 604 uses of the word child(ren) in the bible. This alone should indicate that the Bible has much to say about children. Consider this post an attempt at a survey of what the Bible says about kids at a tour-bus level.
We’re going to zoom through many passages briefly stopping for you to mill about and stretch your thinking, but then we will keep moving. The thing we’ll notice everywhere we look is that God has said in every corner of His word that children are a blessing.
We’ll begin our tour considering what God’s word says regarding childlessness.
God has said through every corner of His word that children are a blessing.
Seeing children as blessings
The Bible has a lot to say about childlessness. Consider the thematic occurrence of barrenness. God repeatedly delivers women from this condition, and in so doing, indicates to us that children are a blessing.
Consider the following passages:
- Sarah in Genesis 16:1
- Rebekah in Genesis 25:21
- Rachel in Genesis 29:31
- Hannah in 1 Samuel 1:2
- Elizabeth in Luke 1:7
- God will make the barren woman joyous (Psalm 113:9)
In this small list, we notice that God incredibly used many barren women in the lineage of the Messiah.
God also shows us the value of children in the number of times that enemies of God’s people are cursed with an the empty womb (Psalm 109:9-10; Isaiah 47:8-9; Jeremiah 18:21; Ezekiel 5:17). The fact that those passages treat the empty womb as an affliction serves to indicate that children are a blessing.
Seeing children as blessings through Discontentment
Follow the logic which the preacher uses in Ecclesiastes 6:3. He says that if a man fathers 100 children…but is not satisfied with life’s good things (namely his kids)…a stillborn child is better off than he.
The ESV Study Bible says about this text, “…long life and numerous children were considered some of the highest of all earthly blessings.” It goes on to explain that the issue here is discontentment, and it would be better to have never suffered as a stillborn than to live a long time in dissatisfaction. Children are therefore portrayed as blessings to be enjoyed!
Seeing children as blessings through Exhortations
Our next tour-bus stop is at the metropolis of the Bible’s exhortations to parents to lead their children well. These exhortations serve as indicators that children are blessings to be stewarded. Let’s look at a number of exhortations:
- We are to teach them diligently – Deuteronomy 6:3
- Our children need to be prayed for continually – Job 1:5
- Children are to be disciplined in love – Proverbs 13:24
- See also – Proverbs 19:18; 22:15; 23:13, 14; 29:15, 17.
- Children are blessed when their father lives with integrity – Proverbs 20:7
- Parents should desire to be spent for their children – 2 Corinthians 12:14-15
- Fathers teach their children so that even the unborn might set their hope in God – Psalm 78:5-8
- Fathers are not to provoke their children to anger by discouraging them, but rather are to bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord – Ephesians 6:4; Colossians 3:21
- Fathers are to exhort their children to walk in a manner worthy of God… – 1 Thessalonians 2:11-12
- Children are to obey their parents in the Lord which pleases Him – Ephesians 6:1; Colossians 3:20
It is clear from these passages as well as others that God’s word exhorts us to steward well the children He has given us because they are meant to be a blessing.
Seeing children as blessings through intrinsic Value
Sometimes the things that go without saying go without being said; ergo, we are going to make a stop here in our journey through scripture to see what God’s word says about the value of children. Consider the following passages:
- Children are a treasure and are satisfying to their parents – Psalm 17:14
- Children are a heritage and a reward – Psalm 127:3-4
- Children will bring energy and promise to your table – Psalm 128:3
- Children are a crown to their grandparents – Proverbs 17:6
- Jesus desired to pray with children and reproved the disciples for trying to stop the parents from bringing their children to Him – Matthew 19:13-14; Luke 9:47
The value that the Bible places on children indicates that children are blessings; furthermore, descriptions of children as treasure and reward help us to understand even more the previous point about discontentment.
Seeing children as blessings through Metaphor
The Bible is filled with a plethora of uses of metaphor. One of the common metaphors used to describe believers in Christ is that of children.
- As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear Him – Psalm 103:13
- Children are rebellious, lying, and unwilling to listen by nature – Isaiah 30:9; Jeremiah 4:22
- As are we – Romans 3:10-23
- Whoever humbles himself like a child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven – Matthew 18:4
- God the Father is pleased to reveal hidden things to children rather than the “wise & understanding” – Luke 10:21
- Believers are repeatedly called “Children of God” – John 11:52; Romans 8:16
- That we are called “Children of God” shows that we are loved by the Father God – 1 John 3:1-2
- There are some things believers should not imitate children in; these are called childish – 1 Corinthians 13:11, 14:20
- As children imitate their parents (or whoever they are around most), so we should be imitators of God (whom we should be around most). – Ephesians 5:1
- We are predestined, as believers, for the adoption as sons through Jesus, according to the purpose of His will, to the praise of His glorious grace – Ephesians 1:5-6
- We as believers, even if single as Paul or unable to have biological children, can have spiritual children whom we love deeply – 1 Timothy 1:2; Titus 1:4
- We have no greater joy than to see our children walking in the truth – 3 John 1:4
As we disciple the children that God has entrusted to us, we need to remember that the rebellion and the stubbornness that we face is a picture of the rebellion and stubbornness that we exhibit before God. May we grow in relationship with God as we understand more of what it means to be called “Children of God” by observing the children He has placed in our lives!
1. This stat doesn’t include references to son or adoption. A quick search including terms like: son(s) and adoption brings the total to almost 11,000 verses!↩
2. I trust this can be a resource to you, and be useful for study later. References are many so that the reader may go deeper.↩
3. I understand that this is a very difficult topic for many families, and my heart goes out to those who have not been granted children as of yet. May the discussion later about spiritual children be an encouragement to you.↩
4. Crossway Bibles, The ESV Study Bible (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2008), 1203.↩
5. See Pastoral Intern Greg Wetterlin’s blog for more on this. | There’s also a great resource on parenting by this title, authored by Lou Priolo.↩
6. Desiring God Ministries recently had a great post about the blessing of doing discipline.↩
7. John Piper has written a great ebook on the topic of the unborn.↩