In the Training of the Lord

A distinct imperative for every Christian home is for children to be brought up “in the training of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). It is distinct, not because children are not brought up in homes, for they certainly are brought up. Nor is it distinct because children are not taught to love and worship; for all parents are worshippers and in their training of their children they will teach their children to worship and love something. The imperative is distinct, because all training in a Christian home is qualified and emphatically defined by the phrase “of the Lord.” All training in a Christian home is consistent with the authority of the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

The word, “training” comes from the Greek word, paideia. According to Strong’s Dictionary, paideia is defined as, “The whole training and education of children (which relates to the cultivation of mind and morals...).” This training is far more than academics; it is far more than learning a skill for a job; it is a training that teaches a person how to think and how to live. It is an education that teaches the purpose of life, cultivates the passions for life, and establishes the priorities in life. Every child receives a paideia! The paideia that a child receives will influence his entire way of life!

The Greco-Roman world in Ephesus had a huge emphasis on paideia in the life of a child. They took the raising of their children seriously. However, they did not cultivate the minds and the morals of their children in the things of the Lord. Rather, they were walking in the futility of their minds, because they were alienated from the life of God (Ephesians 4:17). These homes and parents would bring up their children in the training of a false god. After all, if you don’t know the true God, all you are left with is idols. The culture of the city of Ephesus centered on the temple of the great goddess Diana (Acts 19:27). The children of the city were primarily brought up in the training of this false god. There is nothing new under the sun. Although the names of the idol changes, children are either being brought up in the training of the Lord or in the training of a false god.

It is imperative that the Christian home brings up their children in the training of the Lord. And the good news for Christian parents is, in Christ, we are blessed with everything we need to train our children under the authority of the Lordship of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1-3). The question remains, how does one train a child in the things of the Lord? There is an old expression that is very true in the book of Ephesians, more is caught than taught. In other words, the way you live your life is a paideia for training your children. In Ephesians there is a huge emphasis on our “walk.” To be clear, our walk will include times of speaking the truth (Ephesians 4:15, 25) and teaching our children (admonition of the Lord in Ephesians 6:4 literally means to put in mind), but it includes far more than that. In Ephesians 5:15, the entire church was commanded to see or examine how they were walking.

Here are some questions that will help every parent see how he is walking and therefore how he is training his child. 1. As my children have watched me and listened to me, what would they say is the purpose of life? (Ephesians 1:3, 2:8-10; 3:21) 2. If my children were to follow me, would their passions, priorities and practices reflect the Lordship of Jesus Christ? (Ephesians 5:17) 3. Is the way I bring up my children distinct from the ways that those who do not know God bring up their children? (Ephesians 2:1-3; 4:17; 5:12; 5:8).

Parents, and fathers specifically, by God’s grace, may we grow in our walk with our Lord, and be intentional in bringing our children up “in the training of the Lord.”
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