Training Children to Obey

The Duke of Windsor once said “Everything in the American home is controlled by switches, except the children!” (Source Unknown)


Children are to obey (v. 1) and (Col. 3:20). There is a difference between between obeying and honoring. To obey means to do as one is told, to honor means to respect and love. Paul gives three reasons children should obey their parents:

1. Because it is the right thing to do (v. 1). Since the parents brought the child into the world, and since they have more knowledge and wisdom, it is right that the child obeys his parents:

2. Because it is commanded (v. 2a). In the Old Testament it was the fifth commandment and in the New Testament we find it in this passage as well as Colossians 3:20.

3. Because obedience brings blessing (vv. 2b-3). The Christian child who honors his parents can expect two blessing:

a. That “it may be well with thee” (v. 3). God enriches the life of the obedient child.

b. That “thou mayest live long on the earth” (v. 3).This doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone who has died young has dishonored his parents. Paul isstating a principle that when children obey their parents in the Lord, they will escape a good deal ofsin and danger and thus avoid the things that could threaten or shorten their lives.

Paul tells us that fathers have several responsibilities toward their children. They are not to cause their children to become bitter, which leads to wrath (the explosion on the outside of harbored feelings on the inside) (v. 4). Instead fathers are to give constant training, disciplining and counsel in the Word of God (Prov. 29:15; 13:1; 13;24). Our children do not always appreciate our counsel, but that does not eliminate the obligation we have to instruct and encourage them. Children, if left to themselves, will be rebels. They naturally do everything wrong (Prov.29:15). Disobedience to parents is a sin (Rom. 1:30; II Tim. 3:2) so it is necessary for parents to train their children to obey promptly, habitually and cheerfully because this is right. 


As a father I have always expected my children to obey me. Is it not reasonable that my heavenly Father expects the same about me?

Ephesians 6:1-4 (English Standard Version)

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