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By Dottie Tompary – Louisville, Kentucky

Eighteenth century theologian John Wesley once said, “I learned more about Christianity from my mother than from all the theologians in England.”

The Methodist denomination started by Wesley remains influential today, and the still sung Christmas hymn “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” was written by his brother, Charles Wesley. Oh, the ripple effect because of the faithfulness of their mother!

The Power of Parents

“Fathers, don’t stir up anger in your children, but bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4 CSB

This charge isn’t given to Sunday school teachers, sports coaches, or public school teachers—it’s to parents, and we dare not outsource this vital command from God.

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV

Scripture is profitable for training our children, and as we bring them up in the Lord’s instruction, it fully equips them “for every good work.”

A godly home functions on the God-breathed Word!

We may instruct them in sports to be an athlete, in science to be a doctor, but instruction in Scripture to be a man of God—complete, equipped for every good work—is a desire unsurpassable.

If Scripture equips my children for every good work, how do I practically prioritize it in my family?

“And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” Deuteronomy 6:6-7 ESV

We need all three “shalls” listed above. Jesus was a man with God’s Words on his heart that equipped him for his good work.

He taught God’s words diligently. He talked of them as he and his disciples ate together, traveled together, saw miracles together, struggled together, and rejoiced together.

We do the same with our families.

Like John Wesley’s mother, you don’t need to be a theologian to equip your children for every good work. Scripture on your heart will equip you to teach it diligently and talk of it continually.

The command in Deuteronomy 6:7 requires time: both frequent and God-focused. The apostles laid down their nets to follow the Lord Jesus (Matthew 4:20).

Paul counted everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus his Lord.

“But whatever gain I had [referring to worldly titles and accolades], I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord…” Philippians 3:7-8 ESV

Saying “YES” to more God-focused time together may require us to lay down what appears good for God’s best.

A God-Focused Life

Many small consistencies add up to a full God-focused life.

A few ways we work in formal and informal instruction include morning hugs, where I say good morning to my kids and good morning to God with them. I keep books out, so as I read my Bible, they can read theirs.

Then, we do more formal Bible reading over breakfast, switching between the Old and New Testaments. If we’re inspired, we will draw our Bible reading or do something else hands-on.

Christian music is frequently being played. While driving to errands, we pray for God to show us who we need to talk to, and then often when pulling back in the driveway, I say, “Whose house is this?” and they yell “It’s God’s house!”

We listen to Stories for Joshua and practice Scripture memory during car rides. We recall ways God blessed us before bed, we ask God how to bless our friends, and we talk about what God is working throughout the day.

Children should find it completely normal to hear their parents talking about God and to God anytime, anywhere.

Consistency and dialogue will build a solid reverential foundation more than infrequent lectures. It’s never too late to start—even if you have grown children or grandchildren.

Overflow with frequent Godly conversation and watch God equip your children!

Dottie’s Biblical Book Suggestions

Bibles for kids 5 and under:

  • The Rhyme Bible Storybook by L.J. Sattgast
  • The Beginner’s Bible (also on audio)

Bibles for kids 6 and up:

  • The Child’s Story Bible by Catherine Vos
  • Egermeier’s Bible Story Book
  • Bible Stories that Live by Patricia Martin

Books to read with your kids:

  • Little Pilgrim’s Big Journey by Tyler Van Halteren
  • Little Pilgrim’s Progress by Helen L. Taylor
  • Foundations: 12 Biblical Truths to Shape a Family by Ruth Chou Simons
  • Christian Heroes: Then & Now series by Janet and Geoff Benge

Dottie and her husband Matt have three children: Naomi (7), Ezra (5), and Seth (3). Dottie homeschools the kids accompanied by their cat and seven chickens.