As Christians, we turn to the Bible as our guide for living. It has much to say to us about spiritual things, but also about what’s practical. So what does the Bible say about children?
1. Children are part of God’s creative plan.
God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. …’—Genesis 1:28 (NIV)
After creating Adam and Eve, God commanded that they be fruitful, or have children. The original design included families with children. Kids weren’t an afterthought. Everything about creation was pronounced good, including his design for children.
2. Children are gifts from God to families.
Children are a heritage from the LORD, offspring a reward from him.—Psalm 127:3 (NIV)
The word “heritage” comes from the root meaning “to get or inherit.” It is an honor and responsibility to be entrusted with a little one from God. We stand beside him to shepherd their growth and development, to advocate for them, and provide for their needs while they’re in our care.
3. Children need nurture and guidance.
Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old, he will not depart from it.—Proverbs 22:6 (ESV)
When planting vines and some bushes, gardeners will attach them to a framework, like a pole or trellis, to keep them from spreading out of control. Kids need solid structure to keep their physical, emotional, social, and spiritual growth on track too. This means we are present in their lives, supporting their growth and development, and leading by our godly example.
4. Children need discipline.
Discipline your children, and they will give you peace; they will bring you the delights you desire.—Proverbs 29:17 (NIV)
There’s no question, disciplining kids is hard work. It takes the fruit of the Spirit — love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control spoken of in Galatians 5:22-23. Parents who really love their kids will discipline them, as God does with us (Hebrews 12:7). Not harshly, but gently with the goal of leading them in the ways of the Lord. Done this way, they’ll become adults that fulfill all the Creator intends for them to become.
5. Orphans, displaced and refugee children, and children living in poverty need special care.
Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor …—Zechariah 7:10 (NIV)
Children are vulnerable even in good circumstances, but when there’s poverty or violence, kids can suffer real damage. The Bible singles out orphans for us to help. Those without fathers are close behind orphans. And children living as refugees (strangers) or displaced by conflict or living in extreme poverty (the poor) are also vulnerable. There is no social or financial safety net for them — no one to provide for their nurture or needs. God asks people who worship him to help take care of kids in such vulnerable places.
6. Children need protection.
… Meanwhile our women and children will live in fortified cities, for protection from the inhabitants in the land.—Numbers 32:17 (NIV)
We live in a world corrupted by evil. Child labor, physical abuse, child exploitation, and child marriage are only some of the challenges kids today may encounter, not to mention things like drug and alcohol addiction, bullying, or gang involvement. God is our deliverer from trouble and enemies, and we should protect kids from people who seek their harm as an extension of our love for him. Some of us are even called further by God to act as advocates or to become professionals in child-protection programs and organizations. But whether a professional or not, we can all be aware and help protect the kids in our lives.
7. Children are blessed by God.
And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.—Mark 10:16 (NIV)
In blessing the children while here on earth as God incarnate, Jesus shows his heart toward little ones. In verse 13 of this passage, the disciples rebuked the people for bringing their kids to Jesus, probably because he was talking with self-important religious leaders. His response was anger at his followers’ ignorance and pettiness. Their actions were unkind and unworthy of disciples. Children aren’t too unimportant to have God’s undivided attention. He always desires to bless them in every way.