“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).
Do you ever feel unprepared to address the discipline issues that come up in your household?
The project posted on April 12, “Arming Yourself with the Word,” was intended to be a “training exercise.” It outlined steps for studying God’s definition of love in 1 Corinthians 13. For those of you who invested time in studying the chapter, I hope you could see during the following week, as the opportunities arose, that you were better equipped to help your children love others as God has commanded them to do. Study and meditation left you better prepared for your job.
The diligent piano student practices hours and hours to prepare for a recital. The athlete works out and pushes himself to his limits in anticipation of the big competition. The soldier is subjected to the rigors of boot camp before he steps onto the battlefield. These folks will not have much success if they try to accomplish their tasks without proper preparation. They cannot simply hope things will turn out alright.
In the same way, a God-fearing parent needs to prepare for the inevitable challenges that arise while training his children. He must be ready. If he’s not, he will be tempted to ignore sinful attitudes, or he will become angry when he finally loses patience with the child’s behavior. Or he may simply deal with the child’s outward behavior and never really take the time and thought to address heart issues behind the behavior.
If we are going to obey God, we will have moments throughout the day when we must choose to stop what we are doing to teach and train the children He has put in our care. The wise parent will prepare himself for those opportunities, and he will train his children with the truths of Scripture.
Here are some simple steps for using a topical Bible to help you prepare for training opportunities with your children. These are the same steps that got me so excited many years ago when I started searching God’s Word for answers to my parenting questions. (That search turned into For Instruction in Righteousness, a topical Bible for parents.)
- Find a copy of Nave’s Topical Bible. Online versions are available free, and allow you to copy and paste passages and notes into a document for future reference. You can also purchase print copies without too much expense. In contrast to online versions, these are more portable, and the print version of Nave’s Topical Bible fully quotes most Scripture texts, while online versions often only list references.
- Pray that God will guide your study and equip you for training your child.
- Choose a problem you might be having with one or more of your children. Let’s use lying as an example.
- Using the topical Bible, look up the word lying. Only two passages are listed, and both of these refer to a “lying spirit from God,” which is probably not that applicable to your child training. However, those references are followed by “See FALSEHOOD; HYPOCRISY.”
- Look up falsehood next in Nave’s. Under this heading you will find many verses. As you read these verses, take notes. What is being said about lying? What commands are given? What happens to the liar? To what is a liar compared?
- Notice the section entitled “Instances of” that follows the verse listings. This section provides you with a rich selection of stories from the Bible that you can study. Why did these people choose to lie? What motivated them? What happened to them? Do any of these stories resemble the situation you are dealing with in your child?
- Notice at the end of the verses that more categories related to lying are listed: accusation, false; conspiracy; deceit; deception; false witness, etc. If any of these words apply to the situation you dealing with, turn to that section in the topical Bible and continue your study.
- When you have finished reading all the Scripture passages related to lying, review your notes. Pray for God’s guidance. How can you use God’s Word to help your child repent of lying and learn to tell the truth? What specific verses do you want to read with him? What verses give you a pattern for how he should be disciplined when he does lie? What Bible stories would be useful in instructing him?
- Outline a basic plan – verses, discipline ideas, stories to read, etc. – and put this in a notebook or in a desk drawer for easy reference when you need it. Although this process takes time, with the Holy Spirit’s help, you’ll be prepared the next time your child lies.
These steps can also be modified and used as a Bible study along with an older child. Disciple your child as you study a topic together!