There are many issues surrounding children growing up in Christian homes these days that may draw them away from Christ and His Word. Some examples include high academic demands, addiction to games and even early exposure to notions of sex and drugs in popular media. However, it is posited that the issue most detrimental to the spiritual growth of these children is none other than Christian parents neglecting their duty of teaching God’s Word to their children. This paper seeks to highlight that this issue of parental neglect has deep and far-reaching implications and arguably is a root cause of other issues faced by children these days.

Teaching Duty of Parents

There is no doubt that parents are commanded to teach the Word of God to their children. The Bible is clear, the responsibility of nurturing the spiritual growth of a child lies mainly on the parents. God plainly instructed Moses in Deuteronomy 4:10 “Gather me the people, and I will make them hear my words, that they may learn to fear me all the days that they shall live upon the earth, and that they may teach their children.”

In Deuteronomy 6:7 and 11:19, it is further emphasized that parents are to let no opportunity slip in teaching their children about the Word of God, “And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up” (Deuteronomy 6:6-7).

It is also noteworthy that it is not just head knowledge that parents should be concerned about, but to go above and beyond in teaching their children to obey the Word of God (Deuteronomy 32:45-46). Such a commandment to teach is also given to parents in the New Testament, “And ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and ad-monition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).

The instruction to Christian parents to teach their children the Word of God is indisputable, but the next question is this, why? The answer can be found in Psalm 78:1-8, “We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and is strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done . . . That the generation to come might know them . . . that they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments . . .”. Christian parents are commanded to teach their children the Word and works of God so that their children may also come to receive salvation, have a personal relationship with God and thereby continue the ministry of faithful witness on this earth.

Nature of Neglected Duty

Nonetheless, reality is that as the world progresses with its focus on the pursuit of affluence, more and more Christian homes are joining the ranks of dual-income families in the bid to gain more material possessions for a life of comfort. Naturally, when both parents are working, these children are left to the care of specialized child care centres, close relatives (e.g. grandparents), domestic helpers, or even on their own without adult supervision. Not only are countless moments to teach and apply the Word of God direct to the lives of their children lost, family worship and Bible reading time is necessarily compromised with lessen time spent with their children. Essentially, these dual-income homes where the father and the mother are having full-time careers are falling short of the standard commanded in the Bible and are spending insufficient time in teaching their children about the Word of God, neglecting their duties as Christian parents. Such negligence comes at a great price – the spiritual jeopardy of their children.

Impact of Neglected Duty

First and foremost, contrary to faith and obedience, what these children pick up will be a completely different set of attitude towards the Word of God. What they will learn is a lackadaisical attitude towards the learning and obeying of God’s Word, that spiritual things can take a back seat to other pursuits in life. Similar to the actions exhibited by their parents, they would also be drawn towards chasing after an affluent lifestyle, deeming that worldly ambitions and pursuits are more important in life. When monetary goals become the priority in one’s life, it is impossible that these children will grow up to have a close walk with God. This is taught in Matthew 6:24 “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon”. A child who has learnt the Word of God well from his or her parents’ teachings and examples will know rather that it is pertinent to first seek after spiritual things in life (Matthew 6:33).

Secondly, a serious lack of biblical supervision will arise with the issue of parental neglect in teaching God’s Word to their children. This is especially dangerous in these last days when there is no lack of worldly and sinful activities surrounding the child. These messages attack them from popular media and are propagated amongst peers. Importantly, it must be noted that even the public education system can be a proponent of worldliness with its focus on secular wisdom. It is ever so easy for a child to be led astray. As such, it is crucial for Christian parents to faithfully teach the Word of God to their children from young if they are to be protected and guarded from the snares of the world with biblical wisdom, for the devil indeed “as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). Without the Word of God to guard, one falls prey to the attacks of the devil easily. Not-withstanding, as they grow and have more interactions with the world, children whom have been taught well with the Word of God will be able to echo the words of the Psalmist in Psalm 119:11“Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee”, guarding against the spiritual darkness of the world.

Thirdly, these children left to the care of others may be raised up by unbelieving caregivers who are themselves without spiritual understanding. Not only will the children be without the Word of God, they will be exposed to heathen ideologies and practices. The exposure to such heathen notions is dangerous to the souls of the children as they may easily turn away from the living and true God to the worship of false idols. It is a very real state of the human heart. Therefore God repeatedly commanded the children of Israel to leave no traces of their enemies as they conquered the promise land and commanded total separatism (Deuteronomy 7:1-5).

The warning is real as it is seen in the period of Judges, how an entire generation, not knowing the God of their fathers, fell away from the faith as they look to the false gods of surrounding nations. This is recorded in Judges 2:10-13 “. . . and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the LORD, nor yet the works which he has done for Israel. . . . And they forsook the LORD God of their fathers . . . and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them . . .” The turning away from God of an entire generation of Israelites due to a lack of knowledge of God and exposure to the heathens can easily be repeated in the lives of the next genera-tion of children if Christian parents do not faithfully uphold their duties of teaching and allow their children to have a good understanding of who God is, especially when these children live in this internet age with so much dangerous information out there.


Children growing up in Christian homes are living in perilous conditions these days. Worldliness and sinfulness lie a step away, or even a click away. However, the spiritual battleground originates first in the home. The early foundation years of a child go a long way in shaping life. As depicted in Proverbs 22:6, “train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it”. Christian parents must take heed. Neglected teaching duty of today is a surety towards the spiritual destruction of children God has given responsibility to. The faithlessness of the world is not what these children need to see repeated in their homes. Christian parents must indeed see the urgency to be faithful in the teaching of God’s Word to their children and in being good faithful examples for their children amidst the darkness of the world. It must be warned, that the neglected duty of parents in teaching the Word of God is ultimately a danger, and arguably the greatest in impact, children are left to face today.

[The above article by Shermaine Tan, an FEBC student, was submitted as partial fulfilment for a Childhood Education course under Mrs Jemima Khoo.]