Principles About Family in Scripture

I wanted to share some simple insights I found about the attributes of children, mothers, and fathers while reading Scripture today... this is not meant to be an exhaustive list, but simply a list from what I found doing a few word studies ("like child", "like mother" and "like father"), today.

  • Children are like olive shoots... they grow and multiply and signify great blessing. - Ps. 127
  • Children are like arrows... they are to be sharpened and they are to be shot out with a specific, useful purpose.- Ps. 127
  • A weaned child is at ease and comfortable around his mother. - Psalm 131:2
  • Generally, scripture shows that daughters become like their mothers ( Ezekiel 15:44-45), and sons become like their fathers (2 Chron. 30:7-8, John 5:19-20), and children become like their parents (, 2 Ki. 17:40-41, Ps. 78:7-8). This can be either a promise or a curse. We should take it as a challenge.
  • Little children can sometimes understand spiritual things better than even the very wise. - Matt. 11:25
  • It is a terrible thing to lead a child into sin. - Matt. 18:6
  • When a child feels drawn to Jesus, no one should hinder him/her from that desire. - Mark 10:14-15
  • A child speaks, thinks, and reasons like a child, not like a man. - 1 Cor. 13:11
  • Someone who deserves to be treated like an adult will stop speaking, thinking, and reasoning like a child. - 1 Cor. 13:11
  • Fruitfulness is a blessing from God for mothers. - Ps. 127
  • A mother nourishes the little "olive shoots" God has grown on her "vine". - Ps. 127
  • A mother should gently care for her dear little ones. - 1 Thess. 2:6-8
  • Fruitfulness is a blessing from God to fathers. - Ps. 127
  • A father considers what inheritance he will leave his children. - Jere. 3:19
  • A father meets his children's needs and gives good gifts to them. - Luke 11:11-13
  • A father exhorts, encourages, and charges his children in the way they should walk as a member of his family. - 1 Thess. 2:11-12

Perhaps this will help us as mothers and wives and students of God's Word today.


Julie said...

Thanks for compiling these, Jess! I look forward to sitting down with all the passages referenced here and doing a little reading with a cup o' coffee! :)

Besides reading these with an eye to my own family, I want to consider how I can better serve some kids I work with through an afterschool Good News Club. They're wild little things, and it's so easy to get frustrated with them and throw my hands up in the air. But reading through these these passages reminded me that they are not valued at home in the way we value our own children. My time with them is so brief, and I must make the most of it.

Would you mind if I perhaps used this as a handout for our Good News Club parents??? :)

The Durham's said...

First of all, thank you so much for your sweet comments:) You are such an encouragement, and I LOVE reading your blog everytime you write:) I don't always comment, but I always agree and walk away very encouraged, challenged or affirmed. I pray blessings for this area of ministry you have, because He has blessed you with great wisdom that needs to be shared for His glory and you do it well! Bless you guys!

Ticia said...

Thank you for the reminders!

As a parent of teens it gets easy to forget that God has a very real purpose for parents all the way through.


naomi said...

Thank you for taking the time to link all these scriptures. It spoke to me and challenged me as well. Thank you-naomi

Ashley said...

i am so glad you did this one. i have often wondered exactly what the Bible means when talking about a "weaned child". do you have any insight on this? do you think it simply means breastfed? or does it imply self-weaned? or is it more about the age ("child" instead of "baby"). i have often fretted about this verse--i fear my first baby was weaned too early. any more thoughts on this?


Jess said...

Print away! Glad it could be of use to anyone!

I've often wondered about it too... some of my theories are...

* that a weaned child would no longer be fussing for mama's "goods"... but just be content to be still next to mama and enjoy her presence.

* that a weaned child is old enough to be quiet and just enjoy mom.

* that a weaned child is old enough to learn how to sit quietly and calmly to his mother's instructions...

These are some of my thoughts. Have any to add?

Jess said...

One more thought-- from the surrounding context of the chapter:

... makes me think that it might also be talking about how a weaned child is neither haughty nor distrustful. The weaned child is young enough to know that he doesn't know everything and that his mom knows so much more-- but old enough to not be demanding and rude and know his place in the world, as a child.

The weaned child has been through enough with his mom that he trusts her and knows that he can rely on what she says.

Following that logic, then, when verse 1 says:
O LORD, my heart is not lifted up, my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me.
... it's talking about the attitude that a weaned child has. Knowing his place. Knowing that he can't and doesn't know everything. Knowing that his mom is wise and protective and that his best bet is to be calm and quiet and listen to her wisdom.

Thanks for drawing all this out-- I'm getting even more out of it from examining it like this!

Ashley said...

good stuff. thanks! i am going to think about this for awhile longer....thanks for reminding me about it. haven't thought about it in a year or so.

E03 said...

this is good, thank you.

Anonymous said...

Jess and Ashley, the weaned child in biblical times would have been at least a few years old, and in the views of some scholars probably 5 to 7 years old.

That is why Hannah brought Samuel to the rabbis for school "after he was weaned." Jewish learning for boys traditionally began around age 6 or 7.

Even a few centuries after Jesus lived, Jewish religious writings (the Talmud) recommended that mothers nurse children until the age of two, or until the age of four if mother and child were willing, or until the age of five "if the child is sickly."

This is not a prescription for what people should do now--I'm just trying to provide some context for what "weaned child" meant in Biblical times. If your child was weaned as an infant or young toddler, he or she obviously cannot be expected to behave like a five year old.

Laurie B

Mrs. Sarah Lindblom said...

Thanks, this was a great reminder. =)

Jessica Rae said...

Thank you so much for posting this! It's so powerful to see and read these all together like this. I know I have a huge downfall of failing to see/have purpose in my life day to day with my kids so young and the stay at home mom life so "simple" at times. I do want to be sharpening my kids and I want them to leave home with a strong sense of purpose in this life and world-one that is based on the truth of God's word so that they won't be easily distracted by what the world says their lives should be about.
Anyway, thanks!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this. What is so encouraging to me is that these biblical pointers apply to all families regardless of personality types or background, or health issues, etc. I think we tend to focus too much on so many things that aren't included in scripture, and ignore the fundamental truths that ARE in scripture.

Anonymous said...

Also: After reading the entire Psalm 131 (not very long, is it?) I must say, I don't think the point is when or how the child is weaned. I think the principle is that after a child isn't physically relying on the mother for nutrition and comfort, he/she should still be calmed and rested by his/her mother's presence.

I fear that in our society, weaned children are no more comforted by their mothers than by the sixteen year old at Mommy's Day Out.

I think that's the principle here - what do you think?

Jess said...

Psalm 131
I Have Calmed and Quieted My Soul
A Song of Ascents. Of David.

O LORD, my heart is not lifted up;
my eyes are not raised too high;
I do not occupy myself with things
too great and too marvelous for me.
But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child is my soul within me.

O Israel, hope in the LORD
from this time forth and forevermore.

I think the child here trusts, hopes, and believes his mom. He is calm and quieted in her presence. He's not thinking he's great or smart or wise or has great insight. He's aware of his child-ness.

Like I said above, he's not haughty; he's not a know-it-all. He recognizes that there are things "too great and marvelous". I think the weaning just gives a general idea of the age... not specific. That we're not talking about a baby, and we're not talking about a young man/woman heading towards adulthood.

And, yes, I agree that the passage really doesn't "weigh in" on when/how to wean-- I think it's talking about the continued trust that exists between a mom & child even after weaning occurs.