Sermon: Raising Children, the Christian Way -- By: Peter J. Gentry

Journal: Journal of Discipleship and Family Ministry
Volume: JDFM 02:2 (Spring 2012)
Article: Sermon: Raising Children, the Christian Way
Author: Peter J. Gentry

Sermon: Raising Children, the Christian Way

Peter J. Gentry

Peter J. Gentry (Ph.D., University of Toronto) is Professor of Old Testament Interpretation at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he brings an expansive knowledge of the biblical languages to his teaching. Before coming to Southern, he served on the faculty of Toronto Baptist Seminary and Bible College for 15 years and taught at the University of Toronto, Heritage Theological Seminary, and Tyndale Theological Seminary. Dr. Gentry is the author of many articles and book reviews, and has given presentations to groups, such as the International Organization for the Study of the Old Testament and the Society of Biblical Literature, of which he is also a member. He is currently editing Ecclesiastes and Proverbs for the Gottingen Septuagint Series and is giving leadership to the Hexapla Institute. His much anticipated book, Kingdom through Covenant: A Biblical-Theological Understanding of the Covenants becomes available Summer 2012.


Three texts in the Christian Scriptures are particularly significant for the topic of raising and rearing children: Deuteronomy 6:4-9, Proverbs, and Ephesians 6:1-4. The selection of these texts is can be defended easily. The Book of Deuteronomy is the heart of the Old Covenant—this is the Romans of the Old Testament. Second, the Book of Proverbs as a whole is a handbook or manual for parents. In Proverbs, the king of Israel is instructing and training his own son to live skillfully and speak well based on the covenant instruction (tora) given in Deuteronomy.1 This instruction is written down for the benefit of every father and mother in the covenant community. Now all of God’s people, both children and parents, can benefit from the instruction and teaching of this wise king (Solomon). In Ephesians 6:1-4, Paul crystallises the teaching from Deuteronomy and Proverbs for members of the New Covenant Community. Since the entire book of Proverbs cannot be expounded here, this brief treatment will focus on 3:1-4, 4:1-4, and the well-known text, 22:5-6.

Basic Texts:

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

4 “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is One. 5 And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and that to the fullest extent. 6 These words that I am instructing you today shall be on your mind. 7 You must repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie d...

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