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Five Bible Fathers and Fatherly Deeds to Imitate

Updated on June 18, 2018
MsDora profile image

MsDora—parent, grandparent, Christian counselor—offers suggestions on raising confident, conscientious, responsible, productive children.

Though more often said than done, it is generally accepted that the father’s contribution to the home is his primary duty. “Whatever his cares and business perplexities,” writes Ellen White, “they should not be permitted to overshadow his family.”

The Bible does not present models of perfect fathers, but it reports instances in which imperfect men modeled commitment to fatherly duties. This suggests that human flaws are no excuse to relinquish the duties of parenting. Children learn from their parents what it means to be committed to family, even when life sucks.


Following are five Bible Fathers who performed well in different aspects of fatherhood. Their action is worth of imitation. Bible Quotes below are from the New Living Translation.

Fathers Performing An Aspect of Fatherhood

Joseph, Judah, Benjamin, Dan, Levi, Reuben, Gad, Simeon, Asher, Naphtali, Issachar, Zebulun,Dinah
Affirm the children. - (Genesis 33: 1-20)
Learn parenting. - (Judges 13)
Samuel and several others unnamed
Demonstrate love. - (1 Samuel 1: 1-8)
Keziah, Jemima, Keren-happuch (among 20)
Support family time. - (Job 29)
Prodigal Father
Two Unnamed Sons
Forgive. - (Luke 15:11-32)

(1) Jacob: Affirm the Children

Illustrations by Jim Padgett (courtesy of Sweet Publishing, Ft. Worth, TX, and Gospel Light, Ventura, CA.)
Illustrations by Jim Padgett (courtesy of Sweet Publishing, Ft. Worth, TX, and Gospel Light, Ventura, CA.) | Source

These are the children God has given me. (Genesis 33:5)

Jacob deceived his father into granting him a blessing which rightfully belonged to his twin brother, Esau. Esau became angry and threatened to kill him, so their mother arranged for Jacob to leave home, and the brothers remained distant for many years, until Jacob wrote to Esau:

“Humble greetings from your servant Jacob. Until now I have been living with Uncle Laban, and now I own cattle, donkeys, flocks of sheep and goats, and many servants, both men and women. I have sent these messengers to inform my lord of my coming, hoping that you will be friendly to me.” (Genesis 32: 4, 5)

Notice that Jacob did not mention the children. Most likely, he did not want Esau to include them in any idea he might have for retaliation. When they met, Esau surprised Jacob with eagerness to reconcile; then, Jacob presented the children as his gifts from God.

What if fathers today protected and presented their children as God’s gifts? The children would acknowledge their worth. They would know that what their fathers say about them mean more than what other people say. They would learn to respect themselves and demand respect from others. Imagine how father-child relationships would thrive!

(2) Manoah: Learn Parenting

So Manoah asked [the angel], “When your words come true, what kind of rules should govern the boy’s life and work?” (Judges 13:12)

Manoah’s wife reported that a heavenly being had visited and informed her that she would become pregnant. She said that she had been given some parenting instructions, but Manoah wanted more. His immediate response was “Lord, please let the man of God come back to us again and give us more instructions about this son who is to be born.” (verse 8)

The Benson Commentary suggests some of the questions that Manoah might have asked:

  • “What shall be the method of educating the child?”
  • “What rules shall we observe in bringing him up?”
  • “What profession shall we prepare him for?”
  • “How shall we instruct him, so as to make him fit to be the deliverer of Israel?”

Manoah’s story presents three main challenges for responsible fathers. (1) Parenting is not only the job of the mother, but of the father also. (2) Parenting education begins even before the child is born. (3) God's Word offers parenting instructions and should be consulted through prayer and the Scripture reading.

(3) Elkanah: Demonstrate Love

Why aren’t you eating? Why be downhearted just because you have no children? You have me—isn’t that better than having ten sons?” (1 Samuel 1:8)

Elkanah was already a father. Hannah, one of his two wives, was distressed at being childless. He asked her these questions when she broke down in tears over her barrenness. Seemingly, she found some comfort, for, “then Hannah rose after eating and drinking” (verse 9).

Without understanding the complexities of polygamy, we are satisfied that Elkanah also loved his first wife [Peninnah] and her children (verses 4 and 5). Hopefully, fathers in our culture do not have more than one wife to love, but there is a lesson in this story for them.

Today’s father can learn from Elkanah that among other reasons for loving his wife, it is his duty. Love her with sensitivity. Listen to her, read her countenance, notice her pain, and do not take her tears for granted. Build a relationship that will not buckle under the challenges of parenting. The experts agree that the best way to love the child is to really love his mother.

(4) Job: Support Family Time

Illustrations by Jim Padgett (courtesy of Sweet Publishing, Ft. Worth, TX, and Gospel Light, Ventura, CA.)
Illustrations by Jim Padgett (courtesy of Sweet Publishing, Ft. Worth, TX, and Gospel Light, Ventura, CA.) | Source

When I was in my prime, God’s friendship was felt in my home. . . and my children were around me. (Job 29:4)

Job, in his later years and in the midst of great suffering was reminiscing on happier times. Given his regular practice of interceding with God on his children’s behalf (Job 1: 4, 5), he must have experienced much joy when they were gathered around him at home, in a godly atmosphere. This memory brought him comfort.

In the same speech (verse 18), he looked forward to the end of his days when, “Surely I will die surrounded by my family after a long, good life.” For Job and other fathers like him who made time in the past to be with their children, there is the hope that in the future, their children will make time to be with them.

Quality time with the children provides spiritual, social, and emotional benefits for them, and it is a duty with a lifetime reward.

(5) Prodigal Father: Forgive

We must celebrate with a feast, for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found. (Luke 15: 23, 24)

This parable is popularly titled Parable of the Prodigal Son, referring to the boy's extravagance in spending his money. Still some Bible scholars call it the Parable of the Prodigal Father, referring to the father's extravagance in preparing the feast for his son's return. Either way, the conclusion is that the intensity of the father's forgiveness greatly outweighed the intensity of the son’s folly.

The son had wasted his rich inheritance and went from being privileged to being poor. He was ashamed and afraid to return, but his father met him on the way and welcomed him home. It was instant forgiveness.

Dutiful fathers do not abuse, abandon or disown their children because of disobedience, delinquency or even self-destruction. They reach out to their children with the same understanding, love and forgiveness that their Heavenly offers to them. God loves unconditionally and so do dutiful fathers.

© 2018 Dora Weithers


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    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 3 weeks ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks, Dianna. Fathers like yours deserve an applause; they also deserve respect and appreciation for the lasting impact they made on their offspring. Glad you shared.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 3 weeks ago

      This is a wonderful share on Godly fathers who made an impact on their families and world. I was blessed to have a father who demonstrated many of these good traits.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 5 weeks ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks Denise, That's great helping your children respect and relate to their father. All women, especially single moms, need to remember that the children feel better about themselves when they hear good things about their father.

    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 5 weeks ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      It is refreshing to read examples of fathers and relate them to our current society. Oftentimes, fathers feel that their role is diminished by the independence of modern women. In contrast, these examples show that the father is a vital part of the family, not just for his income and providing, but in helping the children feel loved and accepted. I know in our family, I am an important catalyst in helping our children have a positive relationship with their father.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 5 weeks ago from The Caribbean

      Jo, what a blessing to celebrate a reunion with daughters on Mother's Day. Thanks for sharing.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 5 weeks ago from The Caribbean

      True, Devika. We have to do our share to bless those who are neglected. Thanks for your input.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 5 weeks ago from The Caribbean

      Jackie, what a blessing to grow up with parents who love each other and demonstrate that love to you. Makes it easier to love God and your children.

    • jo miller profile image

      Jo Miller 5 weeks ago from Tennessee

      Wonderful article, Dora, to remind us of the importance of fathers. I'm reading this just after celebrating Mother's Day with my two daughters here in the USA. Both parents are so important.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 5 weeks ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      The many children who don't have parents and the love of their parents remains that way for many years. It gives me lots to think about of how some people can feel in such neglected ways towards their families.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 5 weeks ago from The Beautiful South

      "The best way to love a child is to love his mother." There is so much meaning in that, Dora, and I really appreciated reading it. If man (and woman) followed this one rule we may not need any others. It encompasses what family really means. Looking back on the love my parents had one for another I know that has been such a blessing to me my whole life.

      Another great one Dora and so uplifting and enjoyable to read. Thank you.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 5 weeks ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks, Frank. Hope your week continues to be happy and productive.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 5 weeks ago from Shelton

      What a wonderful hub to read to start the week MsDora.. gives me food for thought

    • CaribTales profile image

      Dora Weithers 5 weeks ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks, Liz. We really can't go wrong with following instructions from the Bible. I appreciate your input.

    • CaribTales profile image

      Dora Weithers 5 weeks ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks, Tim. You were blessed with a good example, thank God! Your children are blessed too, to have a dad who practices responsibility and devotion.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 5 weeks ago from UK

      I really enjoy your biblical and helpful articles. The Bible offers a blueprint for living that we ignore at our peril. Much is made of the role of mothers, but fathers have just as important a part to play in family life.

    • Tim Truzy info4u profile image

      Tim Truzy 5 weeks ago from U.S.A.

      Ms. Dora,

      Informative and instructional for fathers. I try to practice these concepts with my son, to make it easier for my wife, like Louise said.

      One of the things my father did was always find time for the trivial and important things - God bless him, Ms. dora - he worked and tried to stay on the activities of ten kids.

      He knew when to hug and when to punish; he taught us that crying is not unmanly; he taught us that loving God is the most crucial thing young boys and girls could do, and of course, always, always, show respect and caring towards Mom.

      By writing about the responsibilities of the father, you remind us that parenting does not occur in a vacuum; it takes two people or one determined parent with supportive friends and family.

      Great read. Thank you again.



    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 5 weeks ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks, Ioannis. Joseph by himself is a great idea for another article. I might accept the challenge.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 5 weeks ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks, Manatita, for taking the time out of your Kenyan agenda to comment and send wishes. God bless your mission!

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 5 weeks ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks Flourish. I hope everyone reads your statement, "Good fathers make it easier to be a good mother." Count your blessings and have a happy mother's day.

    • Sean Dragon profile image

      Ioannis Arvanitis 5 weeks ago from Greece, Almyros

      I will agree with my brother, Manatita. Such an educational and instructional piece for fathers. I feel honoured as a father. Thank you, my sister, and let me say, my teacher Dora! Thank you for this brilliant article.

      I only want to add, if you let me, a stepfather who, I admire, and I believe that is one of the most significant persons in history. Joseph, stepfather of Jesus!

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 5 weeks ago from london

      An educational and instructional piece for fathers. Happy Mothering Sunday Day, from me here in Kenya

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 5 weeks ago from USA

      Fathers are so important in our lives. I enjoyed reading the lessons you outlined here and it made me thankful for my father and husband, both good men who take their roles as parents seriously. Good fathers make it easier to be a good mother.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 5 weeks ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks, Linda. Now that you say it, recognizing fathers on Mothers Day seems like a good idea, after all. Best to you on Mothers Day!

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 5 weeks ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks, Mary. I think that your favorite is the best one. We all fit the mold of the prodigal child at some point of our lives, so we can all relate to the prodigal Father.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 5 weeks ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks Margie. Yes, I recognize the dilemma for fatherless children, and I wrote some encouragement for them in my previous article. They need it.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 5 weeks ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks, Bill. You were blessed to grow up with a responsible father, and following his cue, I'm sure that you're blessing your children too. Best to you, going forward.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 5 weeks ago from The Caribbean

      Jill, interesting question. Thanks for reading and asking. Based on the instructions the heavenly visitor gave to his wife, Manaoh's questions suggested by the scholars seem like appropriate follow-ups. They already knew Samson's life purpose, so that set the trend for other conversations with the angel.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 5 weeks ago from British Columbia, Canada

      The Bible contains some interesting stories. Thank you for sharing them, Dora. I've always loved the story about the prodigal son. Its message is important.

      I'm glad that you've published this article now. It's nice that fathers get some attention on Mother's Day weekend!

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 5 weeks ago from Ontario, Canada

      Am happy to see how the Bible portrayed fathers. My favourite is the father of the prodigal son who celebrated with a feast his son's coming home, an utter display of forgiveness.

    • Margie Lynn profile image

      Margie Lynn 6 weeks ago from Beautiful Texas Hill Country

      Wonderful article Dora! So many children do not have a father to guide and love them! Thanks!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 6 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      I was lucky, Dora! I had a good role model as a father. He had his flaws, as do we all, but there was no doubt that I was loved. I have tried to follow his lead as a father. :)

    • The Dirt Farmer profile image

      Jill Spencer 6 weeks ago from United States

      Hi MsDora! I wonder how the commentators came up with Manoah's questions. Are they based on expurgated sections of the Scripture or fashioned after similar Biblical stories where the parents ask how they can prepare for the coming of the child or . . . . something else altogether? An interesting article! As always, you made me think. Best to you, Jill


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