Children bring us joy and a sense of purpose . . . and they can downright frustrate us too! Whether we’re parents or serve in kids’ ministry, children may actually be what gets us up in the morning (metaphorically or literally speaking). So it’s no surprise that we often look to Bible verses about children for guidance and encouragement.
Happily, the Bible is full of great verses about children. Some of them, like Proverbs 22:6 (“Train up a child in the way he should go…”) are so familiar to us they don’t have as much impact as they used to.
So we created a roundup of more unusual passages to help reignite our passion for these little ones and remind us of how God values children.
Here’s a special treat, though: The Bible verses about children that follow illustrate not only how God views children but how we ourselves are beloved children in God’s eyes.
At salvation, we come to Christ as children, admitting our inability to save ourselves and relying on God to do for us what we could never do for ourselves. Afterward, though, too often we think that the Christian life is supposed to be different, that we are to “grow up” and start carrying our own load. This often looks like us trying to do things to show or prove our maturity. That’s called “works.”
Paul reminds us in Galatians 3:2–3 that we are to continue in Christ exactly the same way we began: in dependence, surrender, and the admission that we can’t do it, but He can.
Remind you of being a child?
In this list of unusual Bible verses about children, we’ll explore several themes in the relationship between God and His children: protection, trust, compassion, discipline, love, and dependence.
Bible Verses about Children: Protection
In many of these Bible verses about children, we see God as protector. He is the Good Father and the Good Shepherd of His sheep.
But Moses answered, “Don’t be afraid! Stand still and you will see the Lord save you today. You will never see these Egyptians again after today. You only need to remain calm; the Lord will fight for you.” (NCV)
A parent’s job is to protect his or her child. Christians—children or adults—can rightly see themselves as children of the living God whose role and joy it is to take care of us. Embrace this surrender because God is the one who does the heavy lifting in your life.
The Lord our God will lead the way. He will fight on our side, just as he did when we saw him do all those things to the Egyptians. And you know that the Lord has taken care of us the whole time we’ve been in the desert, just as you might carry one of your children.” (CEV)
Children in our culture face so many adult-level issues and challenges—they witness things they should never see. Part of our role as educators and parents is to protect them, if we can. Not so they’re hothouse flowers that can’t exist in real life, but so they can just be kids. God portrays Himself as a good father who wants to carry us through this life. We need that ourselves, and the kids in our care need it too—from Him and from us.
God, your love is so precious!
You protect people as a bird protects her young under her wings.
They eat the rich food in your house.
You let them drink from your river of pleasure. (ICB)
Again and again, God refers to Himself as a protector of His children. Here, David also depicts Him as the source of life-giving food and water. The children under our care need to know that they too can take refuge in the shadow of God’s wings.
For You have been my help,
And in the shadow of Your wings I sing for joy.
My soul clings to You;
Your right hand upholds me. (NASB)
Outside the home (and tragically, sometimes within it), children face complicated and dangerous situations. Both children and adults can easily be overwhelmed by the forces at play. One of the joys of Christianity is that we can run to our Father and He will protect us.
The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run into it and are safe. (MEV)
When our fears rise, don’t we long for a strong tower to run into? Let the storm fall, let the enemy crash against the wall, because now we are behind gates that will never fall. Children today need to know they can run to the protection of Jesus Christ.
The Lord your God is in your midst, a Mighty One, who will save. He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will renew you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing. (MEV)
Picture the new daddy bending over the cradle where his newborn lies, singing softly of his joy, pride, and love. Take in that father’s unspoken vow to protect his baby with his life and to devote himself to raising her well. As children’s ministry leaders, we carry a measure of this responsibility too. But don’t overlook that you are also the baby in the cradle and your Lord sings with joy over you.
And they were bringing children to Him so that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant and said to them, “Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.” And He took them in His arms and began blessing them, laying His hands on them. (NASB)
What things block children from finding their way into Jesus’ arms today? The disciples didn’t have malice in their hearts, but they—like the Pharisees—nevertheless prevented people coming to Jesus. Where we sense anyone being hindered from coming nearer to Christ, we must intervene.
Jesus spoke to his disciples. “Things that make people sin are sure to come,” he said. “But how terrible it will be for anyone who causes those things to come! Suppose people lead one of these little ones to sin. It would be better for those people to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck.” (NIRV)
When Jesus spoke of “little ones,” He doubtless had children in mind. But He was probably thinking about adults, as well. Even with the best intentions, we can sometimes communicate the things of God improperly or unclearly. This verse reminds us to be on our knees asking God to speak through us so that His little ones do not stumble.
Bible Verses about Children: Trust
The child’s primary job is not to go fight battles but to humbly rely on the Father as protector.
“Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.” (NLT)
To be still. Calmed. It is what every child (of any age) needs so often in this life. We can teach kids that there is someone they can always run to for protection and reassurance.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight. (NASB)
Imagine waiting in the water for your daughter as she stands freezing on the side of the pool. She’s looking down, weighing her trust in you against her fear. Likewise, God waits for us to trust Him enough to jump into His arms.
About that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?” Jesus called a little child to him and put the child among them. Then he said, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. So anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. And anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf is welcoming me.” (NLT)
This has got to be one of the Bible verses about children most packed with lessons. For starters, we see that children are better prepared to receive Christ than any adult on the planet—because they already know they can’t save themselves. We also see that Jesus’s metaphor for the Christian life is to become like children: dependent, trusting, and relying on God.
Bible Verses about Children: Compassion
The Father has tender compassion toward His children. Over and over, Jesus was moved to action by the compassion He felt for the little ones of the world. That includes us as well as the children we serve.
As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on his faithful followers. (NET)
It’s not hard to muster up compassion for children. (Well, maybe once in a while … it’s a little hard.) But sometimes we can forget that God never finds it hard to muster up compassion for us, either.
“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (NASB)
Is there a Scripture more comforting than this? Who is weary and heavy-laden? Isn’t that you? Isn’t that the children we reach? Who doesn’t long for someone stronger and wiser to lift the burden away? This is a picture of the Christian life. If we’re still trying to carry the weight, we’re not living the way Christ intended.
You are God’s dear children, so try to be like him. Live a life of love. Love others just as Christ loved us. He gave himself for us—a sweet-smelling offering and sacrifice to God. (ERV)
When Jesus walked the earth, He imitated His Father as a beloved son. He gave His life to rescue us. What lengths of love and compassion should we go to as we imitate the one who imitated the Father? Some of the children we serve will come to imitate us. How imperative, then, for us to imitate the One who is love!
Bible Verses about Children: Discipline
If even Jesus learned obedience on earth (Hebrews 5:8), how much more will God discipline us? This is the surest marker that He loves us and intends to use us in His service.
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. (NIV)
Sometimes, we hesitate to discipline a child who is misbehaving. But when we withhold correction, are we really being loving? God loves us too much not to discipline us, His children, and we must love the kids entrusted to us in the same way.
Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far away. (NIV)
We can think it’s harsh or even cruel to say “No” to a child or to assign consequences for bad choices, but why should our parenting be different from God’s way of dealing with us? Do not be afraid to discipline in love.
Bible Verses about Children: Love
Love is the chief attitude of God’s heart toward His children. We see love also in the value and dignity He ascribes to children.
But the Lord says,
“Can a woman forget her baby?
Can she forget the child who came from her body?
Even if she can forget her children,
I cannot forget you.
I drew a picture of you on my hand.” (ERV)
Imagine a mother who chooses an adoptive family for her child soon after birth. Does she still think about that child with love? Of course. If a human mother would never forget a child she’s seen only briefly, how much more does God have us on His mind? How much more are we engraved on His hands and always in His heart?
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your old men will dream dreams,
your young men will see visions.
Even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days.” (NIV)
One of the joys of the Christian life is that God’s Spirit resides in us at all times. Children are worthy of respect and dignity because God counts them as worthy and even chosen vessels for His most important messages.
“Whoever accepts you also accepts me, and whoever accepts me also accepts the One who sent me. Whoever meets a prophet and accepts him will receive the reward of a prophet. And whoever accepts a good person because that person is good will receive the reward of a good person. Those who give one of these little ones a cup of cold water because they are my followers will truly get their reward.” (NCV)
At Christmastime, children sometimes say they wish they could give Jesus a present. You can use this Bible verse to explain that giving to someone in need is a way to give a gift directly to Jesus. For children’s leaders and parents, this passage reminds us that when we serve children, we are giving a gift directly to our Lord.
Blind and lame people came to him in the temple courtyard, and he healed them. When the chief priests and the experts in Moses’ Teachings saw the amazing miracles he performed and the children shouting in the temple courtyard, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” they were irritated. They said to him, “Do you hear what these children are saying?” Jesus replied, “Yes, I do. Have you never read, ‘From the mouths of little children and infants, you have created praise’?” (GW)
If we are to become like children in our Christian lives, then maybe we ought to do a bit more running around and shouting about the great things Jesus has done!
He took hold of her hand, and said to her, ‘Talitha koum’, which means ‘Time to get up, little girl!’ At once the girl got up and walked about. (She was twelve years old.) They were astonished out of their wits. (NTE)
Can you imagine being this little girl? Perhaps you’d slipped into blackness or were already journeying toward God’s throne, and you’re pulled back by the gentlest of voices. You open your eyes, and there is the face of Jesus. He’s holding your hand and giving you back to your parents, who burst into tears of joy and relief. How God values children! How He knows the pain of losing a beloved daughter or son. How He longs for the time when these things are no more.
The true light that shines on everyone was coming into the world. The Word was in the world, but no one knew him, though God had made the world with his Word. He came into his own world, but his own nation did not welcome him. Yet some people accepted him and put their faith in him. So he gave them the right to be the children of God. They were not God’s children by nature or because of any human desires. God himself was the one who made them his children. (CEV)
In one sense, all humans are the children of God. But in the eternal salvation sense, only those who receive Jesus are the children of God. We have the extreme honor of making God’s appeal directly to children: “Accept Jesus and become children of God!”
“From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us.” (NIV)
This Bible verse means that your times with children at home or abroad or in any “unexpected” context are not random at all. In eternity past, God appointed you to interact with them in the name of Jesus.
For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him. (NASB)
Among many lessons we could draw from these Bible verses, we see that the Spirit of God, who comes into us at salvation, yearns toward the Father. That yearning pulls us along with Him. We join with the Father and the Spirit and the Son, and we know that we truly belong there.
Since you are God’s children, God sent the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, and the Spirit cries out, “Father.” So now you are not a slave; you are God’s child, and God will give you the blessing he promised, because you are his child. (NCV)
That kid who won’t stop wandering off or whispering to his neighbor in class … is a royal child of God. Every Christian child, even those deeply hurt or afraid, has a wonderful inheritance in store. Incidentally, so does every Christian adult.
Bible Verses about Children: Dependence
No attitude more perfectly captures the Christian life than one of dependence upon God. If any wisdom is going to come, it will have to come from Him. If anyone is going to make a way through the chaos and confusion of this world, it is only with Him. Christianity began for each of us in an act of surrender and dependence, and the Christian life is meant to continue in the same way.
“Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (NASB)
This Bible verse reminds us that it’s the Father’s job to provide for tomorrow. Whether you are a kid or a kids’ pastor, your first and last recourse must be dependence on God.
Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner. For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing; and the Father will show Him greater works than these, so that you will marvel.” (NASB)
Jesus always had His eyes out for the things His Father was up to. And, like an adoring son, He imitated His Father and helped complete whatever task His Father was doing. If Jesus walked in such a dependent posture regarding His Father, shouldn’t we walk in dependence upon Him?
“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.” (ESV)
Though the word “child” is not mentioned here, there may be no clearer picture in Scripture that the Christian must be childlike to grow. Abide. Remain. Stay snuggled in His arms. Soak up His love. And good fruit will grow from you.
2 Corinthians 12:9–10
Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (NLT)
God told Paul—and who would be a better model of a mature Christian than Paul?—to stop trying to be strong and instead be weak and dependent and childlike. As Christians, maturity comes when we are strong in God’s strength and not our own (alleged) strength.
1 John 3:1–2
Think how much the Father loves us. He loves us so much that he lets us be called his children, as we truly are. But since the people of this world did not know who Christ is, they don’t know who we are. My dear friends, we are already God’s children, though what we will be hasn’t yet been seen. But we do know that when Christ returns, we will be like him, because we will see him as he truly is. (CEV)
The world doesn’t know what to do when it encounters real love. Some acts are so loving and selfless as to be incomprehensible to the world. So long as we live here and walk in the selfless love of Christ, we really will be like weird aliens to those around us. And what we are now isn’t even close to what we will be when we are perfected.
As kids’ ministry leaders, we have the great blessing of being reminded week after week what it’s like to be a child. Children (and sheep!) are probably God’s favorite metaphors for how He intends humans to relate to Him.
We hope these unusual Bible verses about children have given you fresh eyes to see both the little ones you serve and your own life as a child of God.