After my first child was born, I spent hours reading Scripture and thinking through what God expects of me as a parent. Then I came across Calvin’s commentaries and found among all the rich theological truths that pastors and theologians discuss and debate a nugget of truth for parents in his commentary on Psalm 78.

What John Calvin Taught Me About Parenthood

There is much to learn from Calvin about justification, soteriology, and God’s sovereignty, but there are also a few lessons we can learn from him about our responsibilities as parents.

After my first child was born, I spent hours reading Scripture and thinking through what God expects of me as a parent. Then I came across Calvin’s commentaries and found among all the rich theological truths that pastors and theologians discuss and debate a nugget of truth for parents in his commentary on Psalm 78.

 

Have you ever played a word association game? Let’s do one now. What’s the first thought that comes to mind when you think of John Calvin? Perhaps you thought of the words predestination, reformation, and theology. I doubt you thought of parenthood.

Calvin on Psalm 78

After my first child was born, I spent hours reading Scripture and thinking through what God expects of me as a parent. Then I came across Calvin’s commentaries and found among all the rich theological truths that pastors and theologians discuss and debate a nugget of truth for parents in his commentary on Psalm 78.

Psalm 78 is a psalm about the importance of passing on God’s word to the next generation. It recounted past events in the life of God’s people, detailing to the future generations all that God has done. Multiple times the psalmist used the words, “remember” and “forget.” The song writer wanted Israel to never forget what God has done and for them to continue telling that story for generations to come.

“He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children, that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments” (vs. 5-7).

In Calvin’s commentary on Psalm 78, he says this: “The decree then is this, That the fathers being instructed in the doctrine of the law themselves, should recount, as it were, from the mouth of God, to their children, that they had been not only once delivered, but also gathered into one body as his Church, that throughout all ages they might yield a holy and pure obedience to him as their deliverer.”1

This is something we all know as Christians. We know that we need to teach our children God’s word. We know we are to teach them the gospel, the goods news of what Christ has done for them. We know that we must teach them this good news, not once but over and over throughout their lives.

  1. It is our duty as parents to teach our children about what Christ has done.
  2. We also need to teach our children that they are part of the Body of Christ and united together in Christ.
  3. God uses parents as one of the means by which he provides for the salvation of our children.

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