Click the link below to download the PDF.
Sometimes I wish I just had more time.
Sometimes when I start to study for an episode, I realize very early on that the topic I’m trying to discuss is much larger than I thought it was.
And often — due to my schedule starting up a brand new non-profit — I can’t take the time to do the study the justice that’s required to really appreciate the nuances.
And today’s series is just like that.
On episodes 184-188 I talked about “A Parent’s 5 Jobs.” If you haven’t heard that series, I would strongly encourage you to listen to those episodes first as this is a continuation of that study, and I won’t really have time to do any significant review.
But even when I did the original 5 episodes, I knew so much more would have to be done later. And — ever since then — I’ve been waiting until the appropriate time to continue unpacking the 5 biggest parenting jobs we all have.
And I’m not sure for what I was waiting — when would it be the right time to continue that study? But after working through some of the material for this first episode, I’m wondering if — deep inside — I was waiting for a time that I could exhaustively handle the material.
Well, regardless of why I waited, I’m sad to say I won’t be able to be exhaustive this time around. But — Lord willing — perhaps that just means we’ll have more to say about this topic in the future. Since we are talking about the 4-5 biggest jobs a parent will ever have, I suppose it’s good that we revisit it from time to time.
But before we dive in today, please join me on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. I post regularly on each of those platforms, and I do my best to not only encourage you with parenting content, but my AMBrewster accounts have more of me in them — you know, personal stuff — than the TLP accounts.
So, I hope you’ll follow and interact with me on those apps.
And don’t forget that today’s episode notes, transcript, and important links will be accessible from the description.
Now, let’s continue our discussion of the Parent’s 5 Jobs.
You know how it is; you have an idea, and you plunge forward only to realize there was a better title or illustration or way of going about it.
Well, that kind of happened while I was recording the original Parent’s 5 Jobs Series.
However, since I’ve been teaching this information and counseling with this content ever since, I’ve had the opportunity to refine it.
So allow me to start by reexplaining these parenting realities with a growing metaphor.
Honestly, we parents have one main job. We’re to be God’s Ambassadors in our homes and with our children. That’s it. That encapsulates everything else we need to do in our parenting.
In order to complete that job, God has given us a few main tools — namely the Bible and prayer.
Everything else including church and corporate discipleship will fall under the overshadowing umbrella of those two tools.
But this series focused mostly on the Scripture. And — in the original series — I explained that the roles of Educator, Interpreter, Counselor, and Trainer were the four other jobs all parents have.
But here’s the new image I want us to have in our minds.
Ambassador Parents have this beautiful tool at their disposal. It’s called the Bible. And — like a Swiss Army Knife — the Bible is a multi-purpose tool that allows us to accomplish our various jobs. It’s not just a knife or hammer or screwdriver, it’s all and more.
So, as we take up our parenting multi-tool and begin to appreciate it’s many uses, we find that everything God expects from Ambassador Parents can be accomplished by teaching, reproving, correcting, and training.
Think about that. Everything God requires a Christian parent to do will fall under one of those main categories.
And God’s Word is the tool we need to do any of those tasks well.
That’s a review/repackaging of the original idea.
Now, let’s talk about this series. How are we going to expand on this idea.
Assuming that you are an Ambassador Parent, imagine yourself picking up your Scriptural multi-tool. Now see yourself sliding out the Teaching tool. That’s going to be the focus of today’s episode. We’re going to ask “How Does God Want Me to Teach My Child?”
Then — Lord willing — the following episodes will be a study on the other three tools of reproving, correcting, and training.
Our goal is not merely to know how the Bible should be used in our parenting, but to be intimately familiar with actually using each tool. As a Christian parent with a seminary education and master’s degree in biblical counseling, I know that I need to have a better understanding of what it means to teach my kids. We all do.
I also think it’s important to explain how I approached this study.
This is going to primarily be a word study, but — as most of you know — the Bible wasn’t written in English. That means that there are many times that one Greek word may be translated multiple ways, and there are many times that multiple Greek words may be translated with the same English word.
I don’t believe I’m going to be able to be exhaustive with all of the Greek words used in every case, but I am going to deal with 8 words and phrases.
And I’m also going to use very accessible resources for defining and understanding these words. For example, I wouldn’t normally use BibleStudyTools.com . . . I have other resources I would prefer to use, but I want to show you how easy it is for you to continue this study on your own.
So, with that — though I wish I could dig so much deeper — we’re going to look at those 8 biblical terms that will help us understand the scope and nature of what it means to teach our kids.
And I think it’s probably best to start with . . .
1. To Teach
Our first Greek word is very important. It’s didasko, and — according to BibleStudyTools.com — means “to hold discourse with others in order to instruct them, deliver didactic discourses, to be a teacher, to discharge the office of a teacher, conduct one's self as a teacher, to impart instruction, instill doctrine into the thing taught or enjoined, to explain or expound a thing, [and] to teach one something.”
And all of that should clearly explain why in the New American Standard Bible the word is translated teach, teaching, taught, instruct, and instructed.
So, here’s an example of the word in action. II Timothy 2:2 says, “The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”
Another good example is Colossians 3:16, a verse we’ve referenced a lot recently, “Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”
To teach is to impart information. And what better illustrates the life of a parent? From helping our children form the words “mama” and “dada” to numbers and colors to potty training to good eating habits and social behavior to driving and the all important spiritual realities of life . . . parent’s teach. Even unsaved parents recognize that one of their primary responsibilities beyond providing for their children’s physical needs is to provide for their developmental needs by teaching them.
Even the worst parents teach. They may scream at a child who’s annoyed them, they may beat a child who’s crossed them, and all of that is teaching. The parents wants to get across the idea that they child should never do those things again.
It’s not good teaching, but it’s teaching.
But I want to focus primarily on the spiritual teaching God expects parents to do.
Though it was written in Hebrew, Deuteronomy 6 places the spiritual instruction of our children firmly into the parents’ lap, and — more specifically — on the father’s shoulders.
Does this mean we cannot invite others to participate in our children’s spiritual training? Of course not. The more biblical influences your kids have, the better. But should a parent fully delegate the entirety (or even the vast majority) of that teaching to others? No, we should not.
That would not only contradict everything God has to say about parents, but it would also disregard all of the commands Christians have to disciple and one-another. Every time God commands His people to teach other followers of Christ, that applies to parents and their born again children. And every time God commands that believers teach the unsaved about Him, that too applies to us and our unregenerate children.
There is no legitimate way a Christian parent could justify leaving the spiritual instruction of their kids to someone else.
But we’ll talk more about this momentarily.
Let’s consider our next word which is simply the noun form of the word we just learned.
This is the word that appears in our theme passage II Timothy 3:16. “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching.”
Again, this is simply the noun form of the verb we just learned.
In the New American Standard, this word is translated “teaching,” “teachings,” and “instruction” a total of nine times. But it’s translated “doctrine” and “doctrines” twelve times.
Here are a couple examples. Titus 2:7 reads, “in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine.”
We referenced II Timothy 4:3 a number of times in our False Parents series. It says, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires.”
And the vast, vast majority of the time this word is used, it’s talking about spiritual teaching. It may have been false doctrine or heretical teaching, or it may have been talking about the “doctrine conforming to godliness,” but it’s not merely talking about passing on logistical information.
Again, we as parents must take full responsibility for what our children know and understand about the Bible.
Please take a moment and really search your heart and parenting. Do your children receive the bulk of the spiritual education from you or other people?
Why? Is there really a good reason?
Maybe you think that you aren’t equipped — you don’t have the answers — to teach your kids. And yes, our modern society would have us think that we need to outsource all of our education because we “aren’t capable of teaching our children.”
But — as a homeschool parent — I completely disagree with that notion on every level.
You were given to your children by God specifically because — when you submit to God and His will for your life — you are the best teacher for your kids . . . especially when it comes to spiritual truth.
Yes, you likely have more to learn about the Bible, but as you learn it, you need to be sharing it with your kids as you rise up and as you walk by the way and as you lie down.
Now, if I were to subdivide this list of teaching words, I think we could categorize them as such: The first section might be called “The Content of our Teaching.” This includes the basic noun and verb for teaching, and theses words do a good job of defining the spiritual content of our teaching.
And though this second group still has everything to do with content, it adds a new layer. This group may be called “The Authority of our Teaching.”
And the first of these authoritative words is . . .
3. To Instruct
Now, that may not sound any more authoritative than the previous words, but the Greek word we’re going to learn now is paraggellō.
BibleStudyTools.com defines this word as “to transmit a message along from one to another, to declare, announce” or “to command, order, charge.”
This word is translated many ways in the English Bible. Here are some examples: instruct, instructed, instruction, and instructing. But it’s also translated order, charge, command, commanded, commanding, direct, directed, and prescribe.
The reason we’re doing this study is so that we can expand our understanding of God’s expectations for our parenting. This unique word should help us understand that teaching is not merely a passive process.
The public school system is teaching teachers to believe that as long as they speak the information, it doesn’t matter if the students actually listen or perform. Their job is merely to throw the information into the ether.
But here we see that biblical instruction should be more than mere impartation of knowledge. Accompanying the truth we teach is an expectation that the truth be learned and followed.
Now, I want to cite some passages from I Timothy, but before I do I need to acknowledge that some people believe that I and II Timothy are specifically for pastors because Paul used those letters to continue teaching Timothy important lessons he needed to learn — in part — as he ministered to the church in Ephesus.
But just because Timothy happened to be a pastor, and just because Paul speaks specifically about pastors in the books, doesn’t mean that most of those expectations are meant only for pastors. Nay, nay. They’re for all Christians.
For example, with the exception of the fact that a pastor should be able to teach better than most, the list of qualifications for an elder is identical to the expectations for any man of God.
I say all of this lest you think, “Yes, well, Aaron, those passages don’t really have anything to do with parenting.”
Actually, they do. Allow me to illustrate.
In I Timothy 4:6-10 Paul writes, “In pointing out these things to the brethren, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine which you have been following. 7 But have nothing to do with worldly fables fit only for old women. On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; 8 for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. 9 It is a trustworthy statement deserving full acceptance. 10 For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers.”
Those commands are fit for all of God’s people. And — if they are — then when God puts another person under my spiritual care as a pastor or counselor or discipler . . . or parent . . . I have the responsibility to teach those under my care that they too should submit to these commands.
This is why the very next verse reads, “Prescribe and teach these things.”
That word “teach” is the first word we studied, but this information shouldn’t just be taught. Paul is telling us that these are the commands of God, therefore you shouldn’t just teach them as a good way to live, but you must prescribe them as the only way to live.
I suppose then, we should now go back and revise our original definition of parental teaching. I used to say that teaching encompasses telling our kids what is right and what is wrong. Now I would say that teaching is “telling our kids what is right and what is wrong and charging them to do what’s right.”
Of course, this beautifully transitions into our next biblical tool of reproof. But, we’ll talk about that next time.
But I want to quickly discuss 5 other ideas that are all part of the biblical teaching tool, and this next word definitely fits well under “The Authority of our Teaching.”
The next is . . .
4. To Preach
Now, again, this may sound like a form of teaching in which only a small group of people participate.
But we need to recognize that the word translated “preach” has three main meanings.
So, yes, pastors are supposed to preach, but all of God’s people are commanded to preach as well.
For example, in Luke 8, Jesus has just cast out a legion of demons from a man. And instead of granting the man’s wish to accompany his new Lord, Jesus tells him, “Return to your house and describe what great things God has done for you.”
And the very next sentence says, “So he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city what great things Jesus had done for him.”
My friends, all of God’s people should be salt and light in this world, proclaiming the glories of what God has done for us, so that when they see our good works, they can’t help but glorify our Father Who is in heaven (Matthew 5:13,16).
Of course we need to preach Christ to our kids! Of course we need to proclaim to them the great things God has done for us.
I Timothy 4:1-2 reads, “I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.”
Yes, we should apply this verse to our preacher boys, but why does it not apply to parents? We need to be ready at all times (rising, walking, lying) to proclaim the word, reprove, rebuke, and exhort our kids with great patience and instruction.
And I love that this word too also includes the idea of communicating something with authority to which our kids must listen and obey.
Do you preach the Bible to your kids? I don’t necessarily mean in a fire and brimstone diatribe or even just presenting it like morality tales. Do you help you kids know, understand, and live the Bible?
Do you proclaim the glories of God? If you’d like to know more about how to do that, I would invite you to check out The Celebration of God.
Alright, let’s talk about the last word in “The Authority” category, and it may surprise you.
5. To Encourage
This word is yet another example of the fact that it can be dangerous to read our modern understandings of English words into the Scriptures.
There are a couple Greek words that may be translated as “encourage,” but I want to focus on just one of those.
Our word is parakaleo. This word may sound very familiar to some of you, and I’ll expound in a moment. For now, let’s consider a working definition.
Parakaleo can mean: “to call to one's side, comfort, to strive to appease by entreaty, to console, to encourage and strengthen by consolation, to comfort, to receive consolation, be comforted, to encourage, strengthen, etc.”
And I think those words — for the most part — align with our modern understanding. We like to think of encouragement as being a comforting, uplifting, happy experience.
But this word can also mean “to admonish, exhort, to beg, entreat, beseech, to instruct, and teach.”
And though the word has been translated in our Bibles as “encouraging and comfort,” it has also been translated as “implore, implored, imploring, entreat, plead, pleaded, appeal, appealing, making appeal, beseeching, exhort, exhortations, exhorting, exhorted, exhorts, conciliate, invited, beg, begging, urged, urging, requested.”
Hebrews 3:12-14 reads, “Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. 13 But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called ‘Today,’ so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end.”
This encouragement is not as simple as “You’re doing a great job, keep it up!” This encouragement has to do with fleeing unbelief and not being hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
This is the same word used to describe the masses of people who would implore Him to heal them. This is word translated “urge” in Romans 12:1, “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.”
Exhortation is a strong urging to do something. It’s not merely an encouraging word to keep on keeping on, it’s a call, a proclamation, and imploring to continue . . . or change.
But, yes, this word is also used to describe the Comforter, the Holy Spirit. It can refer to comforting someone.
For example, in II Corinthians 7:6, Paul talks about how God comforts the depressed and comforted Paul Himself by sending Titus to Him. And in I Thessalonians Paul talks about being comforted by their faith.
I hope you can see why this is the third of the “Authority” words. We need to encourage our kids, not with empty words they may take or leave, but with truth to which they need to submit.
When my child comes home upset that “no one at school likes me,” I needn’t feel the need to say something trite like, “I’m sure that’s not true. I’m sure there’s someone there that likes you.”
Well, mom, dad, what if that’s not true? What if your child is standing for Christ, and — like Joseph — he’s all alone?
Why not encourage your child with eternal truth?
“In one way I’m sorry to hear that. I definitely wouldn’t wish discomfort on my child, but on the other hand, I have to believe that God is doing exactly what He promised. This time of trial and testing is being used by Him to conform you into His image. He wants you to have joy in this struggle because He’s working it out for good in your life.”
Of course, if my child is over-exaggerating because he’s simply not being treated the way he wants to be treated, my encouragement would sound very similar. “Listen, buddy, God has some important lessons He wants you to learn. You may not be getting all of the attention you want, but you’re getting exactly the attention that God wants you to get. He’s trying to teach you something about yourself. What do you think it may be?”
Okay, so far we learned about two words that show us that our parental teaching needs to be packed with spiritual content.
And then we learned that our parental teaching need to be authoritative.
Now, these last three ideas are going to be about “The Purpose of our Teaching.”
Yes, teaching is designed to teach, but what is the end goal of our teaching? We’re telling our kids what is right and what is wrong, and we’re imploring them, charging them, and urging them to do what is right and flee from what’s wrong.
But to what end?
6. To Edify
The Greek word most often used to communicate edifying and edification is oikodomeō. It’s most often translated edifies, edified, built, build, builders, building, rebuild, and strengthened because the term is an engineering or construction term.
It’s used primarily of building houses and erecting buildings, but it’s also used metaphorically to communicate founding something or promoting something or causing something to grow and be strengthened.
Let’s look at I Thessalonians 5:8-11, "Since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation. 9 For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together with Him. 11 Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing."
Yes, that word “encourage” is the word we just learned. And I’m sure you can tell why these two are paired up here. Paul wants to urge our fellow Christians to live in the way he just described so that we will be built up into the final product to which God is calling us.
And what is that final product?
7. To Make Disciples
In Matthew 28, Jesus commission His followers using a singular Greek word. But we don’t have one English word that does the Greek word justice, so everywhere in Scripture this word is translated “become a disciple,” “made . . . disciples,” or “make disciples.”
And that’s exactly what it means.
We are to be intentional, premeditated, disciple-making Ambassador Parents for God.
And how do we make disciples? Well, Jesus gives us our marching orders. He says, “baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you.”
We must first evangelize them, and when they commit in faith to God as their Creator, Savior, and Lord, they are to be baptized and then they are to be taught everything that Jesus has commanded us.
The word “teaching” is the very word with which we started. Once again, we see the content of our teaching. And that content has a purpose . . . that our children would become disciples of God and grow in their conformity to Him.
And with that I want to end with one of the more famous parenting passages which continues this theme of “The Purpose of our Teaching.”
8. To Bring Them Up
Ephesians 6:4 implores parents to “bring [their children] up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”
This Greek word is used only twice in the New Testament, and each time it communicates the idea of bringing something to maturity, or nourishing it.
The only other place this word is used is a chapter earlier in Ephesians when Paul says, “28 Husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; 29 for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church.”
And what is the end goal of this nourishment? What does it look like to be mature? Well, we’re to bring up our kids in the discipline and instruction of the Lord with the goal that they attain to that discipline and instruction.
We’re going to talk more in future episodes about what discipline and instruction mean. These words are actually two of our remaining tools for parenting.
But — for now — we see that God calls all parents to be His Ambassadors. And He gives them the Bible to use to do the job. And the first task for which the Bible was created is to teach.
But teaching is not simply relegated to our letters and numbers. The content of our teaching must be primarily focused on the precepts of God, the spiritual instruction of our children.
But that instruction is not a passive process where we allow our kids to think whatever they want about what we’re saying. It’s not a laidback hope that our kids might one day agree with what we’re teaching them . . . it’s a passionate urging. Our teaching is to have authority.
It’s okay for my kids to dress differently than I as long as they dress is modest and Christ-honoring. It’s okay for my kids to like sports (I don’t particularly). It’s okay for my kids to enjoy foods I don’t like. My parenting doesn’t have to be authoritative in those areas, but when it comes to the most important things I need to teach my kids — spiritual truth — my teaching needs to carry the authority of God, the One Who commands our obedience.
But the purpose of this authoritative teaching is not conformity to my standard. It’s not so that I can live my life through my kids or somehow benefit from them in the future.
The end goal of this kind of teaching is that my children will become something . . . not necessarily a great athlete or a surgeon or a preacher, but a follower of Christ whatever occupation to which He may call them.
We teach our kids the truths of God with the authority of God so that they may be servants of God.
We teach our kids what is right and what is wrong, and we urge them to do right and flee from wrong because God demands that we conform to right and refuse to do wrong.
That must be the goal of our teaching.
The title of today’s show is “How Does God Want Me to Teach My Child?”
We now know how.
We know what the content should be. We know that it must be authoritative. And we know what the end goal is.
So, the next question is, are you teaching your kids the way God would have you?
Is God and His Word your constant content?
Do you proclaim His truth as something to which you children must submit?
And are you doing so because you want nothing more than for your kids than to be good and faithful servants of the Lord?
Well, if you’re anything like I, then no, you’re far from perfect.
But, Lord willing, today’s episode will be one more way that God is equipping you to be the parent He’s called and created you to be.
Now, I really hope you’re going to share this episode with your friends. We all need to do a better job teaching our kids. But I also hope that if you look at your parenting and see very little teaching that can be described as we did today, please contact us at Counselor@TruthLoveParent.com or (828) 423-0894. We would love to help you.
And, regardless of how well you’re teaching your kids, I hope you’ll join us next time as we open God’s Word to discover how to parent our children for life and godliness.
To that end, we’ll be asking “How Does God Want Me to Reprove My Child?”
Join The TLP Family and receive email updates when we publish new articles and episodes.
Subscribe to Our Podcast