Bible Study Guides – Centered in the Family

April 8, 2012 – April 14, 2012

Key Text

“Gather me the people together, 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.” Deuteronomy 4:10.

Study Help: Education, 20–22, 33–35, 187.


“The education centering in the family was that which prevailed in the days of the patriarchs.” Education, 33.


  • What schools did Christ attend, and how did this reflect the educational method given in Eden before the fall? John 7:14, 15.

Note: “The system of education established in Eden centered in the family.” Education, 33.

“The child Jesus did not receive instruction in the synagogue schools. His mother was His first human teacher. From her lips and from the scrolls of the prophets, He learned of heavenly things. The very words which He Himself had spoken to Moses for Israel He was now taught at His mother’s knee. As He advanced from childhood to youth, He did not seek the schools of the rabbis. He needed not the education to be obtained from such sources; for God was His instructor.

“The question asked during the Saviour’s ministry, ‘How knoweth this man letters, having never learned?’ does not indicate that Jesus was unable to read, but merely that He had not received a rabbinical education. John 7:15.” The Desire of Ages, 70.

  • From what other source did Jesus obtain wisdom? Matthew 6:28, 29.

Note: “He who had made all things studied the lessons which His [Jesus’] own hand had written in earth and sea and sky. Apart from the unholy ways of the world, He gathered stores of scientific knowledge from nature.” The Desire of Ages, 70.


  • What characterized the sons of Eli, and why? I Samuel 2:12.

Note: “They [Eli’s sons] had no proper appreciation of the character of God or of the sacredness of His law. His service was to them a common thing. From childhood they had been accustomed to the sanctuary and its service; but instead of becoming more reverent, they had lost all sense of its holiness and significance.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 575, 576.

  • How did Eli’s weakness bring God’s frown—and serious disaster—upon Israel? I Samuel 2:29; 4:2, 10, 11, 18, 19, 22.

Note: “Loving peace and ease, he [Eli] did not exercise his authority to correct the evil habits and passions of his children. Rather than contend with them or punish them, he would submit to their will and give them their own way. … The priest and judge of Israel had not been left in darkness as to the duty of restraining and governing the children that God had given to his care. But Eli shrank from this duty, because it involved crossing the will of his sons, and would make it necessary to punish and deny them.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 575.

  • Why are we in danger of bringing a curse upon ourselves by desecrating God’s sanctuary in allowing our children to wander off and band together at the worship hour? Joel 2:16; Habakkuk 2:20.

Note: “Disorder and irreverence have become prevalent [in God’s holy sanctuary], and God has been dishonored. When the leaders in the church, ministers and people, father and mothers, have not had elevated views of this matter, what could be expected of the inexperienced children? They are too often found in groups, away from the parents, who should have charge of them. Notwithstanding they are in the presence of God, and His eye is looking upon them, they are light and trifling, they whisper and laugh, are careless, irreverent, and inattentive.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 496, 497.


  • What warning is given to every mistakenly fond, indulgent parent? Proverbs 22:15.

Note: “The fond father [Eli] overlooked the faults and sins of his sons in their childhood, flattering himself that after a time they would outgrow their evil tendencies. Many are now making a similar mistake. They think they know a better way of training their children than that which God has given in His word. They foster wrong tendencies in them, urging as an excuse, ‘They are too young to be punished. Wait till they become older, and can be reasoned with.’ Thus wrong habits are left to strengthen until they become second nature.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 578, 579.

“Children are left to come up instead of being trained up. The poor little children are thought not to know or understand a correction at ten or twelve months old, and they begin to show stubbornness very young. Parents suffer them to indulge in evil tempers and passions without subduing or correcting them, and by so doing they cherish and nourish these evil passions until they grow with their growth and strengthen with their strength.” The Review and Herald, September 19, 1854. (Emphasis author’s.)

“You excuse yourself by saying that your children are now beyond your control, too old for you to command. In this you mistake. None of your children are too old to respect your authority and obey your commands while they have the shelter of your roof.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 623, 624.

  • Before having a baby, what should first be considered about the complexity of raising a child to God’s standard of righteousness?

Note: “The question to be settled by you is, ‘Am I raising a family of children to strengthen the influence and swell the ranks of the powers of darkness, or am I bringing up children for Christ?’ …

“Fathers and mothers, when you know that you are deficient in a knowledge of how to train your children for the Master, why do you not learn your lessons? Why do you continue to bring children into the world to swell the numbers in Satan’s ranks? Is God pleased with this showing?” The Adventist Home, 163, 164.


  • What could God confidently say about Abraham? Genesis 18:19.

Note: “He [Abraham] would not only fear the Lord himself, but would cultivate religion in his home. He would instruct his family in righteousness. The law of God would be the rule in his household.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 141.

  • What key principle did Abraham embody in educating his children? II Corinthians 6:17, 18.

Note: “Abraham sought by every means in his power to guard the inmates of his encampment against mingling with the heathen and witnessing their idolatrous practices, for he knew that familiarity with evil would insensibly corrupt the principles. The greatest care was exercised to shut out every form of false religion and to impress the mind with the majesty and glory of the living God as the true object of worship.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 141.

  • As far as opposition to idolatry is concerned, what parallel can be seen between Abraham and Paul? I Corinthians 10:14.
  • Describe the fruit of Abraham’s way of educating, as shown in Isaac when he heard that he was to be offered as a sacrifice. Genesis 22:1, 2, 6–10.

Note: “It was with terror and amazement that Isaac learned his fate, but he offered no resistance. He could have escaped his doom, had he chosen to do so; the grief-stricken old man, exhausted with the struggle of those three terrible days, could not have opposed the will of the vigorous youth. But Isaac had been trained from childhood to ready, trusting obedience, and as the purpose of God was opened before him, he yielded a willing submission. He was a sharer in Abraham’s faith, and he felt that he was honored in being called to give his life as an offering to God. He tenderly seeks to lighten the father’s grief, and encourages his nerveless hands to bind the cords that confine him to the altar.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 152.


  • What characterized Abraham’s daily life, and how should our life reflect it? Genesis 13:3, 4; 26:5; Psalm 119:1.

Note: “If ever there was a time when every house should be a house of prayer, it is now. Fathers and mothers should often lift up their hearts to God in humble supplication for themselves and their children. Let the father, as priest of the household, lay upon the altar of God the morning and evening sacrifice, while the wife and children unite in prayer and praise. In such a household Jesus will love to tarry.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 144.

  • Explain the depth of God’s longing for us today. Deuteronomy 4:10.

Note: “There are few parents who realize how important it is to give to their children the influence of a godly example. Yet this is far more potent than precept. No other means is so effective in training them in right lines. The children and youth must have a true copy in right-doing if they succeed in overcoming sin and perfecting a Christian character. This copy they should find in the lives of their parents.” In Heavenly Places, 212.

“Children must see in the lives of their parents that consistency which is in accordance with their faith.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 621.

“Your hired helpers should understand that they are not at liberty to infringe upon any of your rules in regard to the management of your children. If they fail to comply with this requirement, and secretly indulge your children in that which you have forbidden, discharge them at once. Let nothing interfere with your family government.” The Signs of the Times, December 19, 1878.


1 Where and how did both Adam and Jesus obtain their education?

2 What did Eli falsely assume about the evil ways of his toddlers?

3 What is often underestimated in bringing babies into the world?

4 How can we teach our children to become more like Isaac?

5 How can we become more like Abraham in guiding our homes?

Copyright © 2008 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.