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What Does ‘be fruitful and multiply’ Really Mean?

Yes, we are going to talk about reproduction in this article. No, it will not be exactly what you think. Well, it may be a little bit about what you’re thinking, but we will discuss other things as well. The point is – one of the three main purposes God designed marriage for us to reproduce. So, let’s talk about that because it’s incredibly important!

Genesis 1:26-28

26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

In verse 28 we see God’s blessing and command to “be fruitful and multiply.” So, what does it mean? To put it simply, we are called to reproduce literal and spiritual kids who mature into godly disciples of Jesus.

We know from the whole context of the Bible that family and parenting and raising Godly children is a HUGE theme. In so many different places God commands that parents are supposed to teach and train their kids to follow after the Lord. Deuteronomy 6 is a banner verse for this concept.

Deuteronomy 6:4-7 says, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.

When you get married and you desire to pursue God’s purpose for your marriage you must include making intentional spiritual investment in your kids. It is not enough to bear children and then allow them to grow up following after the ways of the world. That is a poor reflection of the image of God. God has called the mom and dad to model faith and spiritual maturity for their family. We are to teach them how to read the Bible, how to hear from the Lord, how to pray and worship, how to walk by faith and trust God, and so much more.

The 18+ years you have with each child before they likely launch into the world is the training ground for their spiritual development. As we all know, lots more training will occur in the crucible of life, but the foundation parents lay is absolutely critical.

When it comes to ‘spiritual kids’ this is called discipleship. Jesus never had biological children of his own but He raised up spiritual disciples. The last command He gave in Matthew 28:18-20 goes like this, “And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

So part of our purpose as a married couple is to invest spiritually in other. Bringing younger couples alongside and investing in them relationally and spiritually. Providing Biblical guidance and encouragement and seeing them strengthened and matured in the faith. Challenging them to invest in the spiritual lives of their own children.

And what is the goal of ALL this reproduction? Why is this necessary? Go back to Genesis 1:28 ‘And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it…’ God’s desire is to have His heart and character and image ‘FILL THE EARTH’. He wants His kingdom of love, peace, joy, blessing, hope and life to reign over His creation. The very best way this vision is accomplished is through a husband and wife reproducing a spiritual legacy in their own children and in couples and individuals around them.


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