What does the Bible have to say about the idea of legacy? Most Bible versions don’t include the word “legacy” even once. Is there such a thing as biblical legacy? I’m convinced there is.
A search on BibleGateway.com shows zero results for “legacy” in most translations, though the site helpfully suggests Proverbs 13:22 as a related result. A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, but the sinner’s wealth is laid up for the righteous (ESV).
Inheritance and heritage are important themes throughout the Bible, important in both old and new covenant theology. And legacy is related to these concepts.
Biblical Legacy: What to Pass On
Legacy focuses on what will endure. It’s about passing on things of lasting value to those who will live on after us. Legacy involves living intentionally and aiming to build into the next generations for their success.
Instead of having nothing to say on the subject, the Bible informs our idea of legacy, as we ask, “What is most significant to pass on to future generations, and how should we go about it?”
Below are 10 verses that I believe shape our understanding of biblical legacy. Note as you read them that biblical legacy is for those with children and those without children.
Stories of what God has done
- Psalm 78.4: We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might, and the wonders that he has done.
- Joshua 4.21-22: And he said to the people of Israel, “When your children ask their fathers in times to come, ‘What do these stones mean?’ then you shall let your children know, ‘Israel passed over this Jordan on dry ground.’”
- Psalm 145.4: One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts.
Guiding truths (by instruction and example)
- Deuteronomy 6.5-7: 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.
- Ephesians 6.4: Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
- Phillipians 4.9: What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
- II Timothy 2.2: And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.
Opportunity to serve and bless others
- John 15.16: You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.
- 1 Peter 4.10: Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.
- Exodus 20.5-6: You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.
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Published July 11, 2017
Topics: Family Legacy