Examples of Good and Bad Fathers in the Bible

While it’s hard to find someone who is perfect I have created a list of good and bad fathers in the Bible. I also explore what the Bible says are the qualities and actions that define a good father and the consequences of being a bad father.

It could be debated that some of the good fathers also did some not-so-good things and vice-versa for bad fathers. There is only one “good” father and that is God.

List Of Good Fathers In The Bible

  1. Noah
    • Demonstrated faith and obedience by building the Ark (Genesis 6)
    • Protected his family from the Flood, ensuring their survival
    • Blessed by God with a covenant and the promise of never again destroying the earth with a flood
  2. Abraham
    • Showcased faith in God, even willing to sacrifice Isaac (Genesis 22)
    • Father of many nations, as promised by God
    • Blessed with descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky
  3. Joseph (Mary’s husband)
    • Exhibited righteousness and compassion for Mary (Matthew 1:19-21)
    • Acted as a protective guardian for Jesus, fleeing to Egypt to save Him
    • Provided a stable and nurturing environment for Jesus’ upbringing
  4. Jairus
    • Demonstrated faith in Jesus for the healing of his daughter (Luke 8:40-56)
    • His daughter was resurrected by Jesus, showcasing the power of faith
    • Served as an example of a father’s relentless pursuit for his child’s well-being
  5. Jehoiada
    • Protected Joash, the rightful king, from Athaliah (2 Kings 11:17)
    • His guidance helped Joash in restoring the temple and renewing the covenant
    • Contributed to a period of peace and reverence for God in the kingdom
  6. Mordecai
    • Raised Esther with love and guidance, influencing her strong character (Book of Esther)
    • Played a key role in saving the Jewish people from annihilation
    • Honored by the king for his loyalty and wisdom
  7. Job
    • Maintained his faith and integrity despite severe trials (Book of Job)
    • Prayed for his children and offered sacrifices for their well-being
    • God restored Job’s fortunes, giving him twice as much as he had before
  8. Manoah (Samson’s father)
    • Sought God’s guidance in raising Samson (Judges 13)
    • His son Samson became one of the major judges of Israel
    • Demonstrated a commitment to following God’s instructions
  9. David
    • Despite his flaws, loved his children deeply (2 Samuel 18:33)
    • Solomon, his son, became a wise and prosperous king
    • Through his lineage, Jesus Christ was born, fulfilling God’s promise
  10. Zacharias
    • Exhibited righteousness and obedience to God (Luke 1)
    • Father to John the Baptist, who prepared the way for Jesus
    • Blessed with a child in his old age, as a sign of God’s favor
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What Makes a Good Father Biblically?

  1. Loving and Compassionate:
    • Luke 15:20-24: The parable of the prodigal son illustrates a father’s unconditional love and forgiveness. The father welcomes back his wayward son with open arms, celebrating his return. This demonstrates the father’s enduring love and compassion.
    • Ephesians 6:4: Fathers are instructed to bring up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, rather than provoking them to wrath. This encourages a balance of discipline and love.
  2. Provider and Protector:
    • 1 Timothy 5:8: It states that if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. This highlights the father’s role as a provider.
    • Exodus 12: During the Passover, the fathers were responsible for ensuring the safety of their families by marking their doorposts as God commanded, thus protecting their firstborn from the final plague.
  3. Spiritual Leader:
    • Deuteronomy 6:6-7: Fathers are commanded to teach God’s commandments diligently to their children and talk of them when sitting in the house, walking by the way, lying down, and rising up. This underscores the father’s role in spiritual education.
    • Joshua 24:15: Joshua declares, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” This shows the father’s leadership in committing his family to follow God.
  4. Disciplinarian with Wisdom:
    • Proverbs 3:11-12: Fathers are encouraged not to despise the Lord’s discipline and to recognize that the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in. This suggests a balance of discipline and affection.
    • Hebrews 12:7-11: This passage speaks about enduring hardship as discipline. God disciplines us for our good, so that we may share in his holiness. The discipline of a father can lead to peace and righteousness.
  5. Role Model of Integrity and Righteousness:
    • Job 1:1-5: Job was described as a man who was blameless and upright. He regularly offered burnt offerings for his children, thinking, “Perhaps my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.” This shows his concern for their spiritual well-being.
    • Genesis 18:19: God chose Abraham to direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just. Abraham’s role as a father included guiding his family in God’s ways.
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List Of Bad Fathers In The Bible

  • Eli (1 Samuel 2:22-36, 4:17-18)
    • Eli’s sons, Hophni and Phinehas, committed sins in their roles as priests.
    • Eli failed to restrain them, leading to a prophecy against his household.
    • His lineage lost the priesthood, and both sons died on the same day.
  • Samuel (1 Samuel 8:1-5)
    • Samuel’s sons did not walk in his ways, turning aside after dishonest gain, taking bribes, and perverting justice.
    • This misconduct led the elders of Israel to request a king, changing Israel’s governance.
  • David (2 Samuel 13:1-29, 15:1-12, 18:9-15)
    • Amnon, David’s son, committed rape and was later killed by his brother Absalom.
    • Absalom rebelled against David, declaring himself king and leading a civil war.
    • David’s passivity and failure to discipline his sons led to turmoil and tragedy in his family.
  • Solomon (1 Kings 11:1-13)
    • Despite his wisdom, Solomon’s many foreign wives led him into idolatry.
    • This disobedience resulted in the kingdom being torn apart after his death.
  • Manasseh (2 Kings 21:1-18)
    • He committed idolatry, child sacrifice, witchcraft, and other evils.
    • His actions provoked God’s anger, leading to prophecies against Jerusalem.
  • Ahaz (2 Kings 16:1-4)
    • Ahaz engaged in idol worship and even sacrificed his son.
    • His reign saw Judah’s spiritual decline and increased vulnerability to enemies.