In Jesus we have the sweet smell of success.
In Paul’s day, when Roman generals returned from war in victory, they were usually honored with a large parade. In the parade, the generals would show off their captured loot and conquered captives. After the parade, a victory feast would be prepared and the entire city would celebrate. For the victors, the air was filled with the sweet smell of success. But for the captives, the rich smells were a stinging reminder of defeat.
In 2 Corinthians 2:14-16, Paul used this analogy to describe our success when we fully trust Jesus for salvation. When Jesus removes the stain of sin, we become the “fragrance of Christ.” But to non-Christians, the smell of our Christian walk is nauseating.
We are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life. —2 Corinthians 2:15-16
You have stated that the father is responsible for the spiritual training of the child and you also say that the wife should generally not be working outside the home, so naturally she will be spending much more time with the children than the father. Thus, my question is, cannot much of the spiritual teaching be delegated to the wife, especially if she is gifted in this area? (Understanding the father is still ultimately accountable).
Deuteronomy 4:10 says “They” (parents) should teach their children, and Deuteronomy 6:4-6, which could be instructions to the fathers (see preceding verses and Deuteronomy 5:29), is also best applied to the parents. There are other OT verses that specifically give the responsibility to the dad.
He commanded our fathers, that they should teach them to their children . . . That they may arise and tell them to their children . . . that they should put their confidence in God, and . . . keep His commandments . . . and not be . . . rebellious. —Psalm 78:5-8
In the church age, the husband has the specific overall responsibility for the children’s spiritual teaching as leader of the family.
For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. —Ephesians 5:23
Since the child’s future relationship with the Lord is more important than all else in life, the father should not only be responsible, but actively involved. All the New Testament verses that relate to teaching children have the dads in active teaching roles, not the moms:
Fathers, do not exasperate your children . . . —Colossians 3:21
Fathers do not provoke your children to anger; but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. —Ephesians 6:4
Let deacons be husbands of only one wife, and good managers of their children and their households. —1 Timothy 3:12
. . . keeping his children under control with all dignity. —1 Timothy 3:4
. . . we were exhorting and encouraging and imploring each of you as a father would his own children . . . —1 Thessalonians 2:11
A wife can, and should, supplement and complement this spiritual teaching. She can, of course, under her husband’s instruction, substitute in his absence or in the event of sickness. And since moms often spend more time with the children, as you pointed out, it certainly makes sense that they will be actively involved in the ongoing spiritual training of the children. But in God’s order, we think it is very important that her teaching be under the leadership and guidance of the dad. The spiritual training of their children is ultimately his responsibility.
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Scripture taken from the New American Standard Bible, copyright The Lockman Foundation 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977. Used by permission.
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