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Bible study: The importance of the family altar

THE Q&A ARTICLE talks about the choice between sending your child to a Lutheran elementary school or to a public school. I know many WELS teachers in the public school setting who are giving another perspective to students without “teaching religion.” I love how they live their faith in the classroom while making sure they do not cross the line. I am also thankful for our WELS children who are being salt and light in public schools!

However, no matter where one chooses to send a child to school, Christian education must begin in the home with the “family altar.” The family altar refers to the custom of having devotions and talking about Jesus in the home.

Someone has said, “If we don’t teach our children to follow Christ, the world will teach them not to.” When God says that he “punish[es] the children for the sins of the parents to the third and fourth generation” (Exodus 20:5), he is illustrating the point that sin and unbelief can be passed down from generation to generation. Our children are great imitators! God also tells us that we can hand down a positive example.

Read Proverbs 22:6; Matthew 18:5,6; and Matthew 19:13-15.

How do these passages shape the way you view your role in the Christian training of your children?

Give examples, one positive and one negative, of the truth that parents hand traits down to their children. Perhaps look at your own life. What traits have you received from your parents?

God wants parents to instruct

It is easy to think of the Great Commission as only applying to the nations “out there,” but as Christian parents we need to realize that the mission of making disciples of all nations starts at home. Your children are part of the “all nations” to which God sends us with the task of making disciples. Deuteronomy 11:19 says, “Teach [these words of mine] to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” God wants this instruction to touch every aspect of life.

Read Deuteronomy 4:9,10; Ephesians 6:4; 1 Timothy 4:10,11.

Family challenge: List three practical ways that your family can connect to God’s truth in your day-to-day lives.

God wants parents to discipline

Discipline is loving correction meant to benefit the one who receives it. What do you call someone who has never been disciplined? Spoiled! God does not want spoiled children, and so he lovingly disciplines us as part of our spiritual training.

Read Hebrews 12:7-11 and Romans 5:3-5.

In what ways does God’s discipline benefit us?

Read Proverbs 13:24 and 19:8.

In what ways does disciplining our children benefit them?

Author: David Scharf
Volume 108, Number 6
Issue: June 2021

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David Scharf

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