Introduction: How do we view children? Do we look upon them as
blessings or an expensive nuisance? Before my wife and I had any
children, she jokingly told some young parents we were going to have
a baby. The reaction of the other couple was most interesting. They
seemed to take glee in the fact that we now were entering the same
swamp as they were in – we were going to have to face the challenges
of raising children! Their reaction did not encourage us to become
parents. Let’s plunge into our study and see what the Bible says
about the blessings and challenges of having children!

  1. The Blessing

    1. Read Psalms 127:3. How does the Bible view the gift of
      children? Are they a blessing or a curse? (They are a
      reward. This reminds me of a wife who complained that she
      was just a “trophy wife” — to which the husband
      responded, “What contest in hades did I win?” Unlike the
      joke about the trophy wife, God tells us that we “win” a
      wonderful reward in life when we have children.)

      1. When the Bible says that children are a “heritage”
        from the Lord, what does that mean? (The Hebrew word
        means “an inheritance,” or an “heirloom.” They are
        “from the Lord” in that God’s original plan in Eden
        was that Adam and Eve would bear children. See
        Genesis 1:28 and Genesis 2:24.)

        1. How are children like an heirloom we inherit?
          (Heirlooms remind us of the past. Our children
          remind us of ourselves and our parents.)

    2. Read Psalms 127:4-5. What does it mean that sons are like
      arrows and it is good to have a “quiver” full of them?
      (Children help to support the parents. They are supposed
      to be a buffer against the problems in life and old age.)

      1. Why does the text refer to “sons born in one’s
        youth?” (The sense of the text is fathers and sons
        working together. If the father is old, he may not be
        able to work with his sons or may not live to be

    3. My wife is the second of four children. Her parents were
      poor and after their first child they decided to wait to
      have another until they could “afford it.” Years later a
      friend said to them, “If you wait to have a child until
      you can afford it, you will never have another child.” My
      wife’s parents accepted the friend’s advice, and my wife
      was born. What do you think about the friend’s advice?
      (The advice turned out to be right – and a fabulous
      blessing to me. My wife never lacked anything she needed
      when growing up and her parents ended up paying for her
      four years of private college.)

      1. Is the friend’s advice Biblical? (If you read the
        quarterly, you will find in Monday’s lesson all sorts
        of “hand-wringing” about being a parent with
        questions like “What purpose would a child serve?” Do
        I have the “emotional resources” to have a child?
        While I have known couples who were lousy parents,
        the Bible teaches that children are a blessing. How
        many people say, “I’m not sure I’m qualified to be
        rich” when they suddenly come into money?)

  2. Parental Responsibility

    1. Instead of asking whether you are worthy of having
      children, let’s ask “What does God require of parents?”
      Read Deuteronomy 6:6-9.

      1. What economic and philosophical requirements does God
        set for parenting? (Nothing is said here about
        economic prerequisites to having children.)

        1. Is there a cultural reason for that? (In an
          agrarian society, children would be a source of
          income, not just an expense.)

        2. Read 1 Timothy 5:8. Could this be considered
          economic advice on having children? (This is the
          closest I could find to finding a Bible
          statement about parents having to have a certain
          amount of money before they could have a child.)

      2. What does God say are the obligations of parents when
        they have children? (To teach them God’s law.)

    2. Read Deuteronomy 11:18-21. What link is their between the
      quality and length of life and parents fulfilling their
      obligation to teach obedience to God’s law? (Living in
      Canaan was God’s reward to His people. Teaching children
      obedience to God extends the quality and length of life of
      both the parents and the children.)

    3. Read Proverbs 19:18. How does this explain the ability of
      parents to extend the life of their children?

    4. Read 1 Samuel 3:13-14. What obligation does this suggest
      that parents have towards their children? What did Eli
      fail to do with regard to his sons?(He failed to restrain
      them when it came to known sin.)

    5. Read Ephesians 6:4. What other obligation do parents have
      towards their children? (Not to exasperate them.)

      1. How can we avoid exasperating our children? (The
        Bible tells us that bringing children up in the
        training and instruction of God is the path to avoid
        exasperating your children.)

        1. Have you found that to be true? (Parents get
          into trouble when they are inconsistent. When
          parents are inconsistent, children are not sure
          of the boundary “lines” and therefore they can
          become exasperated.)

    6. Can children exasperate their parents? How can we avoid
      that? (Read Proverbs 29:17. By disciplining our children.)

    7. Instead of saying, “Potential parents, you must pass a
      test of income and motives before you have children,” the
      Bible views children as a gift from God and says “Now that
      you are parents, teach your children to love and obey

  3. Eternal Rewards

    1. Did you notice when we read about Eli and his sons, it
      seemed that both the parent and the sons were in trouble
      for the sins of the sons? Read Exodus 20:5-6. What impact
      can sinning parents have on their children?

      1. What impact can sinning children have on their

    2. Read Ezekiel 18:4. Will a sinful parent cause a righteous
      child to lose eternal life?

      1. If not, then what is Exodus 20:5-6 speaking about?
        (The Bible teaches what we can observe: parents pass
        on to their children good and bad traits. These may
        present character issues which we need to address in
        our effort to live a holy life. But, these inherited
        character traits will not cause us to lose eternal

    3. Will a sinful child cause a righteous parent to lose
      eternal life? (In Ezekiel 18:5-9 we read about the life of
      a righteous man. Read Ezekiel 18:9. In Ezekiel 18:10-13
      we read that this man has a wicked son and the facts of
      the life of this son. Read Ezekiel 18:13. In Ezekiel
      18:14-18 we read that a grandson is born who lives a
      righteous life. Read Ezekiel 18:17-18.)

    4. Read Ezekiel 18:19-20. How would you summarize God’s
      thinking? (We may talk about the impact of parents and
      children on the life of the other, but God teaches that
      everyone is responsible for his or her own salvation.)

    5. Even though parents cannot cause their children to lose
      eternal life, can the way a parent raises his children
      cause the parent to lose eternal life? (Read Matthew 18:5-6 indicates that this is a serious sin. Of course, Jesus
      came to forgive us of our sins.)

    6. Friend, God desires you to have children. They are a
      blessing and a reward. God, however, expects you, as the
      parent, to be very careful in raising your children. Will
      you take your God-given responsibilities as a parent

  4. Next week: Disciples Making Disciples.