Parenting Tips

7 Godly Parenting Principles

Being a parent is hard. In addition, as a Christian, you may also feel increased pressure to raise your kids to be good Christians. Check out these 7 godly parenting principles to help you raise your children in a God honoring home.

If you want to be a part of raising a godly generation, start with learning what the Bible says about raising a godly child. The following principles are firmly grounded in scripture and centered around the gospel.

godly parenting principles

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What Godly Parenting Is

What is godly parenting? And what do I mean by “godly”? As Christians, if we want to know what God says about parenting and how to be godly, we need to look to the Bible. Here’s what scripture says about godliness.

In 1 Timothy 3:16 (WEB), Paul says,

”Without controversy, the mystery of godliness is great:
God was revealed in the flesh,
justified in the spirit,
seen by angels,
preached among the nations,
believed on in the world,
and received up in glory.”

It’s Jesus! Being Christ-like is the definition of godliness according to the Bible! Jesus showed us how to be pleasing to the Father, conformed to His will, and molded to His character.  

If you’re unsure in any area of life how to be godly, look into the life and words of Jesus. He is our godly foundation. If you seek him, depend on him, and pursue living like him you will be well on our way to godliness in all aspects of your life.

It is this pattern of Christ that informs the godly parenting principles that follow. We’ll also examine scriptures directed at parents specifically.

First: Put God First

The first principle of godly or Christ-like parenting is inspired by one of the 10 commandments. The most important commandment according to Jesus is, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37, HCSB).  Or as God said it in Exodus 20:2-3, “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the place of slavery. Do not have other gods besides Me.”

As narcissism has crept its way into the church, so has narcissistic parenting advice. The doctrine that parents are like God or that parents are God on earth is dangerous. It is the original appeal of Satan, “you will be like God” (Genesis 3:5).

Rather, as parents we should have the mind of Christ, “who did not consider equality with God as something to be used for his own advantage” (Philippians 2:6, HCSB).

God is doing just fine in His position, no need for you to step in His place.

As narcissism has crept its way into the church, so has narcissistic parenting advice. The doctrine that parents are like God or that parents are God on earth is dangerous. It is the original appeal of Satan, “you will be like God”… Click To Tweet

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Godly Parenting

Second: Love One Another As Jesus Loves You

In John 13:34 Jesus called his followers to a very high standard “I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another.” We are called to love others, all others, our children included, in the way Jesus showed us to love.

The command to love presupposes there is a choice, an action that you can take. How did Jesus love?  Jesus gave us the example of how to love well. We can love our children like Jesus by choosing to treat them like Jesus treated the disciples. 

Third: Be a Faithful Steward

Do you own your child? Depending on where you live, your government or culture may say yes. In constrast, we who are loyal to the kingdom of God believe “The earth and everything in it, the world and its inhabitants, belong to the LORD;” (Psalm 24:1).

Just as a manager or steward doesn’t own what they are put in charge of, we don’t own our children. Our children belong to God and we are entrusted with their care for a period of time. And we will be held accountable for the care we give them.

Read more about being a biblical steward.

Godly Parenting

Fourth: Do Not Provoke Your Children 

One of the few verses to directly address parents is Ephesians 6:4. In the HCSB version it begins “Don’t stir up anger in your children” The phrase “stir up anger” in sometimes translated “provoke to wrath.” Similarly, Colossian parents are told, “Don’t provoke your children so they won’t be discouraged” (Col 3:20).

This doesn’t mean we have to avoid making our kids mad at all costs. Kids get angry. What makes your child angry in the moment might be what’s best for him. For instance, today my baby became very upset when I took away some AA batteries she found. She got over it. I think what these Bible verses are telling us is not to provoke our children in a way that results in angry, discouraged, or solemn people.

Fifth: Teach God’s Word

Let’s look at the rest of Ephesians 6:4, as we explore biblical teaching on parenting. Paul instructs parents, “but bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord” or other translations say “nourish them in the instruction and admonition of the Lord.” Any way you look at it, we are to teach them God’s instructions! This means teaching the Bible to your child in age appropriate ways.

You can also connect your children with different ministries to help them grow in knowledge about God’s word. Awana is a great ministry that helps children memorize scripture. Additionally, bringing your kids to church and Sunday school as well as other Jesus-loving ministries can help nourish them in the instruction of the Lord.

Sixth: Train Up a Child in the Way

The other part of the instructions in Ephesians 6:4 are to raise kids in the “discipline” of the Lord. The word for discipline (paideia) indicates a training of the whole person – molding them into the likeness and holiness of Christ.  In other words, we are to raise children in a way helps them take their head knowledge and bring it into their lives.

Proverbs 22:6 says “Train up a child in the way he should go.” Jesus is the way. He says in John 14:6 “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father, except through me.”

"There is no walking in the way of Christ, without walking in humility." #humility #faith Click To Tweet

Seventh: Be Humble

In all that we do, we honor Christ if we do it “with all lowliness and humility, with patience, bearing with one another in love; being eager to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:2-3). Jesus our model for living and leading was the most humble person to have ever lived.

He, being the perfect holy God, humbled himself, taking on human form while retaining his Godly nature. And through all this he did not lord his position over us, he didn’t “let us know who’s boss.” He washed feet, went without a home, and submitted to a humiliating death. There is no walking in the way of Christ, without walking in humility.

Get a free Bible verse coloring page for humility! No sign up necessary. Just download and enjoy!

Some Final Thoughts on Being a Godly Parent

These godly parenting principles are not intended to be a formula. They can apply across more than one parenting style. In fact, I’d recommend testing any “biblical parenting styles” against these principles. Do they reflect Jesus life – what he said, did, and how he did it?

One of the benefits of raising a godly family, is that making Christ the model, takes the pressure off of you to be a perfect parent. Instead, you can show them that you too need to rely on his perfection rather than our own.

This is how I modeled my parenting Bible studies – after Christ. Again there, it’s not about formulas, but about following in the patterns of Jesus.

"If we teach our children that Christ is the model, rather than ourselves, it takes the pressure off of us to be perfect parents." #ChristianParenting Click To Tweet

I am not the way. Honestly, I don’t always know exactly what’s right for each of my children, but Jesus does. And he knows what we parents need, too.

“He will tend his flock like a shepherd;

    he will gather the lambs in his arms;

he will carry them in his bosom,

    and gently lead those that are with young.”

– Isaiah 40:11

Thank you Jesus for caring for the care givers!

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Christina Dronen

Christian mom who practices gentle parenting. Author of the Parenting In Christ Bible study discussion guides.

12 Comments

  1. This is like a breath of fresh air! Thank for your honesty and for being upfront about the truth. I was refreshed while reading about being a parent who tries to be like Jesus. Honestly, I had never thought about that before regarding being a parent.

    1. Thanks Melody! There’s always so much to learn as we conform ourselves to Christ – and especially in that role of leadership and guardian as a parent – there’s nuances that I never had to deal with before I had kids! So happy to hear you were refreshed! It’s my hope to refresh, inspire, and encourage by sharing what I am still learning.

  2. Christina,
    Thank you for this! I have to always remind myself that my child belongs to God. I am simply here to do all that you have stated. My job is to love them, guide them, nurture them. When I was reading this something came to mind that I need to remember, Jesus was frequently interrupted. He was usually on his way somewhere and he would come to a stop as soon as a need was brought forth. He didn’t have a bad attitude about it. He just served. I need more of this.

    1. OH my goodness – what a great point about Jesus being interrupted!!! Thank you for sharing that!!! I will try to keep that in my mind as I deal with getting interrupted (which feels like 1000 times some days).

      Bless you Stacey!

  3. Oh, yes! Wonderful message. Love all the principles and the thought that we don’t own our children. I think Hannah in the Bible is a great example of a mother who wanted a child and vowed to give the child to the Lord if He would allow her to conceive. Shouldn’t this be our attitude about every child’s conception? Thanking the Lord for blessing us with children and allowing us the privilege and blessing to parent them on this earth, asking Him to help us do the parenting thing in a way that honors Him, and knowing our kids never really belong to us…they always have and will belong to the Lord.

    1. Thanks Karen! Yes! What a beautiful point about Hannah! And to think of her asking for something she wanted so much but with such an attitude of surrender. She really does encompass so many of the principles here – humility, surrender, keeping God first. Thanks for pointing out this beautiful example and for the encouraging comment. 🙂

  4. Beautiful message and one I applaud! I’m an empty nester now but took seriously these principals and more that you note. One thing that struck me as a young mom of four was the example of Jesus. As I read and watched him lead his disciples, I learned much about how to develop my children into followers of Him. Great read!

    1. Yes!! Jesus with his disciples is the best model for parenting in my opinion. I know Jesus is the best model for everything, but sometimes we forget that just because he didn’t have biological children, that doesn’t mean his life doesn’t have applications for us as parents. What a blessing for your children. 🙂 It’s taken me some time to hear that direction from God.. but he honored that I kept asking, seeking, knocking – trusting that He does care about how we bring up the children in our care enough to help inform us on some of the how-to’s. So grateful to hear from your heart & experience as a mom.

  5. Hi Christina, thank you for reminding us about these Godly parenting principles. Raising Godly children isn’t always easy. It takes a lot of patience and perseverance. One thing’s certain: we have to look at Jesus for the example. He always took time for the children to come to Him which shows just how important they are to Him. The Bible is full of wisdom regarding parenting tips such as: 2 Timothy 3:14-17, 3 John 1:4, and Deuteronomy 6:6. Thanks again for this wonderful post! A great reminder for all Christian parents.

    1. Thanks Ann! So true! Raising children in a godly way does take a lot of patience, perseverance, and surrender! It’s definitely not easy. Thanks for sharing some really great additional scriptures and for the encouragement 🙂

  6. Beautiful and helpful principles. Jesus at the center! “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.” 1 Cor. 11:1
    I love the stress on humility. We are followers of the Lord as parents (and grandparents!)

    1. Amen! Yes – great verse. Paul is a great example of imitating Christ & an inspiration to parents, too. I especially love his relationship with Timothy for that. And I aspire to live so that I can say to my kids too “Imitate me as I imitate Christ.”

      The more I study humility, the more I’m drawn to it. It’s always a safe bet to approach all things with humility!

      Thanks for the encouragement, Pam!

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