Everybody loves their dad.
Even the most broken relationships stand on a deep, unshakeable hope for reconciliation.
When we see the very best fatherly relationships, we can’t help but be moved.
There is so much “stuff” of life that comes from the joy of having a father:
- Dad wisdom
- Dad jokes
- Dad jeans
- Dad protection
- Dad love
When movies want to make us cry, they help us to experience an intimate moment between a father and a son or daughter.
When movies want to make us motivated, they show us a dad who kicks into action to protect his family (think every 80’s movie with Arnold Schwarzenegger).
Father’s Day is a beautiful opportunity to celebrate the deep, God-given desire to respect, impress, and follow honorable men in our lives.
These are the men who have shaped us, invested in us, been patient with us, and given us the love and stability we have needed to become mature and competent adults.
What does the Bible say about Fathers?
You may be asking meaningful and deep questions like:
- What does the Bible says about fathers?
- What does the Bible say about a father's responsibility?
- How can I be a good father in the Bible?
- What is the role of a father?
Thinking about what it means to be a father based on the Bible and pondering how that impacts you or fathers around you can lead to some amazing insights and life change. What better time to do this deep thinking than on father's day.
As you prepare for this day, reflect upon and use what the Bible says about fathers to enrich your appreciation of your dad and the older men in your life who have helped you to become the person you are.
Here are eight things we can learn from fathers in the Bible —and eight ways we can praise God for his gift of dads.
Fathers in the Bible
1. Fathers lead families
They have an instinct to cast a vision and execute that vision for their family. In the Bible, God often charges men to be responsible for leading their households in devotion to himself. They have an industrious spirit and an unstoppable grit that God hardwired into them.
The task of leading a family (father's day or no father's day) requires bravery, decisiveness, and devotion to God.
They are uniquely equipped to manifest all of these qualities.
“For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just, so that the Lord will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him.”
“These are the commands, decrees and laws the Lord your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the Lord your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life. Hear, Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, promised you. Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
“But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”
“Whoever fears the Lord has a secure fortress, and for their children it will be a refuge.”
2. Fathers protect
They not only lead—they guard. They are charged to protect the innocent. On father's day and every other day of they ear!
They are meant to be suspicious of their daughter’s boyfriend.
They are driven to make a home for their families.
“Then I said to you, “Do not be terrified; do not be afraid of them. The Lord your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as he did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes, and in the wilderness. There you saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place.”
"In the fear of the Lord one has strong confidence,
and his children will have a refuge."
“Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”
3. Fathers are examples
They are examples for their kids. It’s no coincidence that there is a high correlation between fatherlessness and success of children.
They are meant to take their kids by the hand and train them to become strong adults.
Adulthood is often more caught than taught—this is never more true than when children watch their fathers.
He leaves a good example and is an irreplaceable asset to his kids.
1 Kings 15:11
"And Asa did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, as David his father had done."
"For the LORD detests a perverse man
but takes the upright into his confidence."
"Listen to your father, who gave you life,
and do not despise your mother when she is old."
4. Fathers are guides
They are meant to give wisdom to their kids. This doesn’t mean that every dad has to be a genius. But they have an instinct to want the best for their kids.
Tested by time, dads show their kids how to make wise decisions and serve as a reservoir of wisdom for when circumstances become too complex for his kids.
Dads are meant to guide us.
God designed it this way, and we should lean into this resource.
1 Chronicles 29:17
“I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity. All these things I have given willingly and with honest intent. And now I have seen with joy how willingly your people who are here have given to you.”
“My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline, and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.”
“Listen, my sons, to a father’s instruction; pay attention and gain understanding. I give you sound learning, so do not forsake my teaching. For I too was a son to my father, still tender, and cherished by my mother. Then he taught me, and he said to me, “Take hold of my words with all your heart; keep my commands, and you will live.”
“Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but whoever takes crooked paths will be found out.”
“The one who has knowledge uses words with restraint, and whoever has understanding is even-tempered.”
“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.”
“Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”
"Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged."
2 Timothy 3:15-17
"But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15 and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God[a] may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."
5. Fathers give stability
Great dads are the backbone to the family unit. They provide a steady foundation, a firm handshake, and a consuming hug when we need it.
In Bible verses about fathers, we see that they provide the steadiness that we need to look out from our homes and into the world as we embark on our own home-building.
"He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse."
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church—for we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”
1 Corinthians 16:13-14
“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Act like men.”
1 Timothy 3:2-5
“Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?)"
6. Fathers are loving
Nothing can replace a dad’s love.
Daughters need their dad’s love.
Sons need their dad’s love.
It’s what enables daughters and sons to find a husband or wife to love. The way a dad loves a child will become a template for that child as they seek to find another relationship.
God meant this relationship to reflect how he relates to us as our Heavenly Father. We see this exemplified by fathers in the Bible.
“As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him.”
"Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father?"
7. Fathers take pride in their kids
Dads are invested in their kids.
When you fail, your dad’s there to pick you up. When you succeed, your dad’s there to cheer you on.
There is no feeling quite like that of a dad who sees his child become a woman or man of integrity, love, service, and work ethic.
“Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their opponents in court.”
“Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table. Yes, this will be the blessing for the man who fears the Lord.”
My child, when the Lord God speaks to you, never take his words lightly, and never be upset when he corrects you. For the Father’s discipline comes only from his passionate love and pleasure for you. Even when it seems like his correction is harsh, it’s still better than any father on earth gives to his child. – Proverbs 3:11-12 (The Passion Translation)
“The righteous lead blameless lives; blessed are their children after them.”
“The father of a righteous child has great joy; a man who fathers a wise son rejoices in him.”
3 John 1:4
“It is the greatest joy of my life to hear that my children are consistently living their lives in the ways of truth.”
8. Fathers reflect God’s unique love
They are meant to show us what it’s like to receive love from God. We are made in God’s likeness (Gen. 1:26-28) just like we bear the likeness of our fathers.
When we see a father’s unwavering commitment to a rebellious child, his swelling pride when they do their best, and his willingness to sacrifice everything to be in a relationship, we see the character of God.
As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him.
1 Thessalonians 2:11-12
“For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.”
Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!
“So he got up and went to his father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.”
Over to you
Honor your dad this Father’s Day.
Don’t assume he won’t appreciate being celebrated—even if he’s the silent, non-emotional type.
Give your dad a card and a kind recognition of his added value to your life this Father’s Day. Use these Bible verses about fathers to help you express what’s in your heart.
It will make his entire year.
Check out these additional Bible verse posts
For additional encouraging Bible verses and Bible verse posts, check out these resources:
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- New Testament Books of the Bible: What You Need to Know
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Editor’s Note: This post was updated on May 29, 2020 for accuracy and comprehensiveness.