There are a lot of
areas where I have had failures or weaknesses as a father. One area that
the Lord has given me the grace and diligence to be consistent in is
teaching my family the Bible. It has been one of the most important
things I've done. I haven't gone hunting or fishing or camping with my
wife and children as much as I would have liked. I've never taken my
family on an official "short term missions" trip. But at least I've
taught them the Bible! There are many fathers who have taught more, but
I'm just grateful for the times we have gotten together. We have tried
to have a family fellowship about once a week over the years. Sometimes
it might be more like once a month.
your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for
it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by
the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not
having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy
and without blemish."
"And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them
up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord."
If you're a father,
and you haven't tried this yet, I recommend you pick an evening or a
weekend morning and get your whole family together with their Bibles.
You can start out by asking your wife and each child if there is
anything they would like to talk about. Ask each for something they are
grateful to the Lord about. Ask if there are any problems they would
like to pray about. Ask your little kids what kind of animals they like.
Consider singing some songs to the Lord: "Jesus loves me", "Thy Word is
a lamp unto my feet", "I know that my redeemer lives". Pray together.
Choose a book of the
Bible: maybe Genesis, or Matthew, or Acts, or 1 John. And aim to read
about one chapter a meeting. There are many times that my children seem
bored. I try to be sensitive to that. On the one hand, I press on and
try to encourage them and try to help them pay attention. But also, I
may make it a half of a long chapter instead of going and going no
Sometimes I have each
child, who can read, take part of the chapter and read it. Sometimes, I
just read each section and discuss it. As my friend says, if all we did
was open the Bible and read it there would be fruit from that, by the
grace of God. You, as the Dad, can say a few words about each section to
explain it. Also, you can ask your wife and children if they have any
questions or comments on a section. It's ok if you can't answer all the
questions. No human can answer all the questions about the Bible! But,
you can take some of those questions and ask the Lord for wisdom and
maybe research them sometime. Another possibility is for you to ask some
questions about the passage, some simple, some hard, to get your family
to think and discuss. You might have the motivation to prepare ahead of
time. But even if you don't, it's far more important to keep getting
together as a family anyway!
But keep it simple!
The simpler you keep the format, the more likely you are to get together
spontaneously or regularly or often.
The daughter of one
of our friends recently was married and had her first child. She
commented how grateful she was that her Papa taught them the Bible while
they were growing up. Over the years our families got together to read
and discuss the Bible, what a blessing of fellowship and being disciples
of Jesus together.
In the latest "Media
Spotlight" newsletter (July 2003), Al Dager has an excellent article on
"The House Assembly". In this article he writes about how to begin to be
the Body of Christ together in homes and he also has good advice for
"Do not allow fear
from lack of experience or intimidation from those in the
[institutional] churches to dissuade you. If you are seeking true
biblical fellowship and you can find no one else to join you, start
with your own family. Fathers are entrusted by God to teach their
wives and children the Word of God. This does not mean all fathers are
qualified to be elders in an assembly, but until such come along or
the fathers can find a biblical assembly to join up with, they should
start with what they have. The fellowship there will be the greatest
blessing one can imagine."
I agree that you, as
a husband and father, may not be gifted as a Bible teacher, but you are
gifted and called as a husband and a father! Our Lord Jesus will help
you to open up the Word and read it with your family. Walk by faith and
not by sight. Trust God's Holy Spirit to empower you and to bring fruit
from your family fellowships.
I'm available to
discuss this further if you would like: please
Spanking in Love -
Grateful for our Family
- Thy Word is Truth - The
Biblical View of Education
Proclamation, Invitation, &