Family Discipleship: 14 Bible Verses and Quotes about This Important Task

In his book Family Discipleship, Matt Chandler says we should be leading our homes by doing everything we can “to help [our] family become friends and followers of Jesus Christ.”1 He says that it’s the most crucial, weighty, and enjoyable job we will ever undertake but acknowledges that it’s also a “daunting privilege”—because the assignment comes from God himself. 

At times, the task can seem too heavy to bear—yet it’s a parent’s highest priority. And fortunately, we are not alone in the task. Jesus promised never to leave or forsake us (Heb 13:5), and if he has tasked us with such an important job, be encouraged: he certainly won’t leave us floundering.

Here are 14 encouraging Bible verses and quotes about family discipleship and the important job of raising children to know and love the Lord.

One of the grandest of those responsibilities is the call to all parents to be disciple-makers in their own homes. A disciple-maker is a follower of Christ helping others follow Christ. No matter what your household looks like, your family is the primary instrument and environment for discipleship in all the fantastic and flawed ways that it might be worked out. Your persevering and often thankless spiritual leadership in your home is one of the most important things you will ever do with your life. Your kids need guidance, and you are their guide. . . . To parent without deliberately discipling your child is to build your family’s house on a foundation of sand. God himself has called you to disciple your children: to teach them to obey all that he has commanded and to see Christ formed in them (Matt 28:20; Gal 4:19).2 —Matt Chandler

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. (Deut 6:5–7)

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When the Great Commandment is obeyed, we see one believer loving the Lord with all of his or her affections. When the Great Commandment is reproduced, we find that one believer leading others, beginning with family, to also love the Lord with all their heart, soul, strength, and mind. Family discipleship occurs when this love for Christ is modeled and reproduced in the home.3 —Jonathan Williams

Christian parents … with all my heart would I say to you, do not sin against the child by your ill example or by your negligence as to his salvation, but seek the Holy Spirit that to your own offspring you may fully discharge the solemn duties which providence and grace have thrown upon you.4 —Charles Spurgeon

When your kids ask questions, think of ways that you might give them an invitation for an answer just like Christ did: “Come and you will see” (John 1:39).5 — Matt Chandler

The Great Commission is not just for missionaries and it’s not just for churches. It’s for families. It’s a call to make disciples, to begin with the people in your home, and then to see your family as partners in the gospel, partners in the Great Commission. When this becomes a joy, not a burden, when this becomes natural, not manufactured, and when this becomes intentional, not left to chance, we can truly say that missions are part of the foundation of the home. With this foundation, your family can be a force God uses to redeem the world he created.6—Jonathan Williams

And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. (Josh 24:15)

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. (Prov 22:6)

Ultimately, family discipleship is not about you, your children, or your home. It’s about being obedient to God’s word and fulfilling the Great Commission. If family discipleship just influences persons in your home, then something is wrong. If we and our children are growing spiritually in our daily walk and in understanding of the gospel, there should be a desire to share that good news with others beyond our home. Family discipleship at home should lead to an overflow of the good news to people outside the home at work, school, play, community, and around the world.7 —Dr. Ben Philips

Every Christian family ought to be as it were a little church, consecrated to Christ, and wholly influenced and governed by his rules. And family education and order are some of the chief of the means of grace.… If these are duly maintained, all the means of grace will be like to prosper and be successful.8 —Jonathan Edwards

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You have the divine task of teaching your kids who God is and what he is like. If the goal of our discipleship is trust in Christ, then any moment we can use to tell them about Jesus and his trustworthiness is a step in the right direction. Remind your children of what God has done in the past and what you see him doing in their lives now as well as what you hope he’ll do in the future. God is a personal God, and you have the chance to continually reintroduce your family to him while praising him for who he is and what he’s done.9 —Matt Chandler

Let no Christian parents fall into the delusion that Sunday School is intended to ease them of their personal duties. The first and most natural condition of things is for Christian parents to train up their own children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.10 —Charles Spurgeon

We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders that he has done. (Ps 78:4)

God gives to fallible parents this little boy or girl, who will certainly prove to be far from perfect, to love and train and teach, to bring up, in the “nurture and admonition,” the training and instruction, of the Lord. It’s a serious assignment. There is no higher calling.11 —Elisabeth Elliot

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Need practical help on the family discipleship journey? Explore Christian Family base packages with all the tools you need to do family devotionals, reading plans, Bible studies, and so much more. 

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  1. Matt Chandler, Family Discipleship: Leading Your Home through Time, Moments, and Milestones (Crossway, 2020), 18.
  2. Matt Chandler, Family Discipleship: Leading Your Home through Time, Moments, and Milestones (Crossway, 2020), 31.
  3. Jonathan Williams, Gospel Family: Cultivating Family Discipleship, Family Worship & Family Missions (Lucid Books, 2015), ch. 1.
  4. Charles H. Spurgeon, Spurgeon’s Sermons on Family and Home (Grand Rapids, MI: Kreger, 1995), 92.
  5. Matt Chandler, Family Discipleship: Leading Your Home through Time, Moments, and Milestones (Crossway, 2020), 31.
  6. Jonathan Williams, Gospel Family: Cultivating Family Discipleship, Family Worship & Family Missions (Lucid Books, 2015), ch. 1.
  7. Ben Philips, Journal of Mid-American Baptist Seminary, “Family Discipleship: From Biblical Origin to Practical Application,” (Spring 2018), 73.
  8. Kyle C. Strobel, Formed for the Glory of God: Learning from the Spiritual Practices of Jonathan Edwards (New Haven, CT: IVP Books, 2013), 24.
  9. Matt Chandler, Family Discipleship: Leading Your Home through Time, Moments, and Milestones (Crossway, 2020), 31.
  10. C. H. Spurgeon, Spiritual Parenting (New Kensington, PA: Whitikaer House, 2003), ch. 8, pg. 63
  11. Elisabeth Elliot, The Shaping of a Christian Family: How My Parents Nurtured My Faith (Grand Rapids, MI: Revell, 2005), 120.
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Written by
Karen Engle

Karen Engle is a copy editor for Faithlife. She has a master's in biblical studies and theology from Western Seminary and frequently takes groups to Israel.

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Written by Karen Engle