Skip to main content

Are Sons Responsible for the Sins of Their Fathers?

Narcissism: Echo Apologetics presents The Sins of the Fathers

Narcissism: Echo Apologetics presents The Sins of the Fathers

Tormented by Twisted Scripture

There once was a young man who was dear to my heart. He aspired to become a pastor. Unfortunately, it appears the deadly cults and their members targeted him as a teenager. Over the following decades every aspect of his young life came under relentless attack, always with the goal of the victim internalizing the blame. One aspect of this take down campaign includes grinding their mangled scripture of the Holy Bible into his very heart and soul, determined to crush his faith and spirit, along with his mind and body.

This young man grew up in a family of six as the only male child. So he took it upon himself at a tender young age to be the defender during his father's unpredictable drunken physical outbursts. Even though his father was a deacon in the small, dysfunctional Disciples of Christ Church that had broken off from the parent church, he was no example or role model for handling anger in a healthy manner. His father was a hot-tempered alcoholic, and as he would later discover, a pedophile.

Unlike his mother and younger siblings, this young man was not only unwilling to go along with their "resolution," but was outraged by it. He refused to join in on the minimization of the childhood sexual abuse, to minimize it to "one time," "a long time ago," "when Dad was drunk," then scapegoat and ostracize the victim ("forgive and forget"), whiling continuing on as a family as if nothing had ever happened. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon in these situation where childhood sexual abuse existed over an extended period of time, for the mother to actually side with the pedophile husband and father or step-father.

It was clear to even a casual observer that this young man had his own "treatment plan" in mind for his father. So much so that the very first question everyone asked when his father died was whether he did it or not. While you may never hear such a discussion from the pulpit, especially not one with anything other than an "ear tickling" ending, this young man's actions will be further discussed in Honor Thy Narcissistic Abusive Father and Mother? in the near future. Thus, his own parents became his worst enemies, and he became a scapegoat for the rest of his days, and please note, he outlived both of his parents.

This ought not to be, that the ones with enough insight or wisdom to see the truth, combined with the courage to stand up for the truth, should be harassed, slandered, disparaged, manipulated, undermined, stalked, assigned a determined diagnosis or otherwise targeted to any extent on the spectrum by such individuals and groups.

Do not make the mistake of believing this is just one isolated case, or that there are not others fighting similar deadly battles - alone. These battles are difficult for anyone, but may actually be more difficult for a male in some ways. And yet, so much of the online literature overlooks the sons in lieu of the daughters. Let us not forget to embrace the sons! This man was certainly not a "family freeloader" during his years of being targeted, but a kind soul who was failed by his family, church, and the system. Unfortunately, this appears to be happening on a grander scale, and herein lies a portion of our online niche.

Were the sins of the father visited upon this son? In a normal psychological sense the ones that did "visit" were hardly invited guests. They were not celebrated or embraced, but this son wrestled these three "demons" of his father's:

  1. Like other young men of his generation, he wrestled with finding healthier ways to deal with his anger and frustration than those modeled to him as a child.
  2. The son of an alcoholic father is seven times more likely to himself become an alcoholic than the average population.
  3. Psychology will treat pedophilia, such as teaching a pedophile to watch his "triggers," but psychology does not even claim to be able to "cure" pedophilia. This "demon" he wrestled from without not from within. He was not a pedophile. However, more than a decade after his death the stalkers were attempting to rewrite history, slanderously accusing him of such to me, more than a decade after his death.

Drive out the scoffer, and contention will go out, even strife and dishonor will cease. - Proverbs 22:10

Hot-Tempered Man Scripture

Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person, do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn their ways and get yourself ensnared. NIV translation of Proverbs 22:24-25

Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person, do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn their ways and get yourself ensnared. NIV translation of Proverbs 22:24-25

Join us as we continue to attempt to make our message even clearer, knowing that those who are not our intended audience, but for some reason believe the world revolves around them, are committed to misunderstanding. We seek to provide information and resources to untangle abuse victims in every area of life, from the tangled web abusers sometimes weave around their victims.This also includes the topic of Narcissistic Abuse: Legal Awareness which we will shortly be updating concerning the unacceptable behavior and attitude of law enforcement toward victims, as well as the complete and utter lack of any effective response to the ongoing criminal activity or effort to restore victims lives. We are not giving out legal advice, just highlighting the issues and experts.

However, in this instance the topic is regarding spiritual healing which is to assist survivors and victims in thinking about things in ways that may never have occurred to them, always checking their terms, and untangling themselves from mangled, misapplied scripture that may have been used to control, manipulate, shame, frustrate, punish, and even terminate their Christian faith, while the abusers attempt to make God Himself the ultimate flying monkey or scapegoat. We carry a burden for this, and even with all of the theft, manipulation, threats, hackings, druggings, etc., fully intend to continue presenting our online awareness as long as the Lord tarries.

Do not expect the abusers and pretenders of this world, masquerading under a cloak of piety, to appreciate these articles being written or read. For it is the abusive, controlling matriarch who does not want to lose control, especially if she can blame God or the Bible. It is the deadly narcissistic abuser who fears exposure, or even a level playing field. It is the parasitically attached with entitlement issues so out of control they are convinced of their "right" to destroy such lives and souls, and without interference.

First, we read a verse about a hot-tempered person. Then, we search the Scriptures to see what the Bible has to say about the qualifications of a deacon. Lastly, we examine the verses regarding the concept of the sins of the fathers to see if we can get to the intended application and meaning. Should hot-tempered alcoholic pedophiles be deacons? Are we to practice tolerance and judge not? Was his son responsible for his father's sins?

...the righteousness of the righteous will be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked will be upon himself.

The Qualifications of Deacons

Qualifications for Deacons

The Bible identifies "overseers" or "elders" and "deacons" as officers in the Church, spoken of in the pastoral letter of 1 Timothy 3.

Qualifications of an Elder

  • Self-controlled
  • Hospitable
  • Able to teach
  • Not violent but gentle
  • Not quarrelsome
  • Not a lover of money
  • Not a recent convert
  • Has a good reputation with outsiders
  • Not Overbearing
  • Not quick-tempered
  • Loves what is good
  • Upright, holy
  • Disciplined

Qualifications for Elders and Deacons:

  • Above reproach (blameless)
  • Husband of one wife
  • Temperate
  • Respectable
  • Not given to drunkenness
  • Manages his own family well
  • Sees that his children obey him
  • Does not pursue dishonest gain
  • Holds to the truth
  • Sincere
  • Tested
Scroll to Continue

Note: 1 Timothy 3; Titus 1.

So, the Bible instructs us not to make friends with a hot-tempered person let alone give him a position in the church. Recall that the Bible makes a distinction between righteous indignation, such as from anger from injustice, and being "hot tempered" such as having temper tantrums because you did not get your way about something.

It appears the above instructions to the church, given in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1, make it clear that a hot-tempered alcoholic pedophile should never have been given a position as deacon in the church.

The Sins of the Fathers Video

Sins of the Fathers

The following is a list of the occurrences of "the sins of the fathers" in the Bible. Each of these verses are examined more closely.

1. Iniquities of the fathers visited on children.

  • Exodus 20:5
  • Exodus 34:7
  • Numbers 14:18
  • Deuteronomy 5:9

2. God stores a man's sins for his sons.

  • Job 21:19

3. Slaughter for the children because of the iniquity of the fathers.

  • Isaiah 14:21

4. I will repay both their iniquities and their fathers'.

  • Isaiah 65:7

5. The fathers have eaten sour grapes and the children's teeth are set on edge.

  • Jeremiah 31:29
  • Ezekiel 18:2

6. Fathers shall not be put to death for their sons, nor shall sons be put to death for their fathers; everyone shall be put to death for their own sins.

  • Deuteronomy 24:16
  • 2 Kings 14:6
  • 2 Chronicles 25:4

7. Sons shall not bear the iniquity of their father nor vice versa.

  • Ezekiel 18:19, 20

Note that the NASB or New America Standard Bible translation is used in the following unless otherwise indicated. Remember not to get any of our verses out of context.

The Trinity is the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit.

The Trinity is the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Iniquities of the Fathers Visited on Children

The context of Exodus 20 is the giving of the Ten Commandments. God has brought a couple of million Israelites out of Egyptian after about 400 years of bondage or slavery. As the Israelites prepare to enter the Promise Land, God establishes the laws and ordinances, forming the basis for this new society. There are four verses in this section as follows:

Then God spoke all these words, saying, "I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself an idol or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing lovingkindness to a thousand generations to those who love Me and keep My commandments." Exodus 20:4-6

Then the Lord passed by in front of him [Moses] and proclaimed, "The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations. - Exodus 34:7

Iniquity is sin, but as you can see in context it says, "for those who hate Me," as opposed to "those who love Me and keep my commandments" being blessed with God's lovingkindness to the 1,000th generation! So, it is already becoming clear that at least in this instance this verse may have been taken out of context. Biblical text taken out of context is so often used as a pretext. Always keep verses in context!

Additionally, the households at that time where made up of 3 to 4 generations, tightly bonded, of this ancient society. This deep bond accounts for the ancient legal principle of "visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and fourth generations." [NASB Study Bible, p. 855 footnote].

The Lord is slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, forgiving iniquity and transgression; but He will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations.Numbers 14:18

This verse, Numbers 14:18 is Moses pleading to God for the people. Recall the context of what he is referring to, including the qualifications of those who hate Him, and those who love Him and keep his Commandments.

You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, and on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me. - Deuteronomy 5:9

This is Moses repeating the Ten Commandments.

NASB Zondervan Study Bible

God Stores a Man's Sins for His Sons

You say, God stores away a man's iniquity for his sons. Let God repay him so that he may know it. - Job 21:19

This verse is Job declaring that God will deal with the wicked. Once again, recall the original qualifications of the verses he is referring to here.

Because of the Iniquity of the Fathers

Prepare for his sons a place of slaughter
Because of the iniquity of their fathers.
They must not arise and take possession of the earth
And fill the face of the world with cities. - Isaiah 14:21

The bigger context of this verse is first in Isaiah 13, the previous chapter. Isaiah is prophesying about Babylon. This judgment is announced due to "the present Assyrian threat and because Babylon would later bring about the downfall of Judah and Jerusalem between 605 and 586 B.C. Babylon was conquered by Cyrus the Persians (see 45:1 and 47:1) in 539. Subsequently, it came to symbolize the world powers arrayed against God's kingdom. (1 Peter 5:13), and its final destruction is announced in Revelation 14:8; 16:19; 17-18. Here Babylon is still part of the Assyrian empire." [NASB Study Bible Footnotes].

Secondly, in this chapter, chapter 14, the context is Babylon's fall being linked to Israel's restoration, and God's compassion on His people is actually the theme in Chapters 40-66. [NASB Study Bible, p. 978].

"A man's children, as well as his tombstone, were a memorial. The King of Babylon would have neither." [New American Standard Study Bible Footnote]. Additional context of this verse is as follows regarding the ruin of the King of Babylon is:

20 Thou shalt not be joined with them in burial, because thou hast destroyed thy land, and slain thy people: the seed of evildoers shall never be renowned.

21 Prepare slaughter for his children for the iniquity of their fathers; that they do not rise, nor possess the land, nor fill the face of the world with cities.

22 For I will rise up against them, saith the Lord of hosts, and cut off from Babylon the name, and remnant, and son, and nephew, saith the Lord. [KJV]

I Will Repay Both Their Iniquities and Their Fathers'

"I will repay both their iniquities and their fathers'.Both their own iniquities and the iniquities of their fathers together,” says the Lord. “Because they have burned incense on the mountains, And scorned Me on the hills, Therefore I will measure their former work into their bosom.”- Isaiah 65:7

The larger context of this verse is "Israel's Taunt," beginning Chapter 14 with, "When the Lord will have compassion on Jacob and again choose Israel...And it will be in the day when the Lord gives you rest from your pain and turmoil and harsh service in which you have been enslaved, that you will take up this taunt against the king of Babylon, and say, "How the oppressor has ceased, And how fury has ceased! The Lord has broken the staff of the wicked, The scepter of rulers..." [Isaiah 14:1,3,4

"Babylon's fall will be linked with Israel's restoration...However exalted (and almost divine) the king of Babylon may have thought himself, he will go the way of all world rulers - down to the grave. The Babylonian captivity was much like Israel's experience in Egypt." [New American Standard Study Bible Footnotes to Isaiah 14].

God the Son, Jesus.

God the Son, Jesus.

The Fathers Have Eaten Sour Grapes

The fathers have eaten sour grapes and the children's teeth are set on edge.

In those days they will not say again, ‘The fathers have eaten sour grapes, And the children’s teeth are set on edge.-Jeremiah 31:29

Jeremiah is quoting or referring to Ezekiel 18:1-20, as follows:

Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying, "What do you mean by using this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying 'The fathers eat the sour grapes, But the children's teeth are set on edge'? "As I live," declares the Lord God, "you are surely not going to use this proverb in Israel anymore." Behold, all souls are Mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is Mine. The soul who sins will die.

But if a man is righteous and practices justice and righteousness, and does not eat at the mountain shrines or lift his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, or defile his neighbor's wife or approach a woman during her menstrual period - if a man does not oppose anyone, but restores to the debtor his pledge, does not commit robbery, but give his bread to the hungry and covers the naked with clothing, if he does not lend money on interest or take increase, if he keeps his hand from iniquity and executes true justice between man and man, if he walks in My statutes and My ordinances so as to deal faithfully he is righteous and will surely live, declares the Lord God. - Ezekiel 18:1-20

This was apparently a popular proverb that originated in a misunderstanding of such passages as Exodus 20:5 and Number 14:18, which teach that a man's sins can have a negative effect on his descendants. In the time of Jeremiah and Ezekiel, many people felt that God's hand of judgment against them was due not to their own sins, but to the sins of their ancestors. [New American Standard Study Bible Footnotes].

Fathers Shall Not Be Put to Death for Their Sons

Fathers shall not be put to death for their sons, nor shall sons be put to death for their fathers; everyone shall be put to death for their own sins.

  • “Fathers shall not be put to death for their sons, nor shall sons be put to death for their fathers; everyone shall be put to death for his own sin." - Deuteronomy 24:16
  • "But the sons of the slayers he did not put to death, according to what is written in the book of the Law of Moses, as the Lord commanded, saying, 'The fathers shall not be put to death for the sons, nor the sons be put to death for the fathers; but each shall be put to death for his own sin.'” - 2 Kings 14:6
  • "However, he did not put their children to death, but did as it is written in the law in the book of Moses, which the Lord commanded, saying, “Fathers shall not be put to death for sons, nor sons be put to death for fathers, but each shall be put to death for his own sin.” - 2 Chronicles 25:4

Sons Shall Not Bear the Iniquity of Their Father Nor Vice Versa

“Yet you say, ‘Why should the son not bear the punishment for the father’s iniquity?’ When the son has practiced justice and righteousness and has observed all My statutes and done them, he shall surely live." The person who sins will die. The son will not bear the punishment for the father’s iniquity, nor will the father bear the punishment for the son’s iniquity; the righteousness of the righteous will be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked will be upon himself. - Ezekiel 18:19, 20


When an abuser or pretender attempts to beat you with the Bible:

  • Be sure to keep the text in context to prevent it so easily being used as a pretext.
  • Also, even with teams of dedicated scholars, no translation is perfect, and the original languages are much richer than our own. So, researching the translation is also usually a good idea.
  • It is the conclusion of this article that the Bible clearly teaches that we are each responsible for our own sins regardless of how some deadly cults insist on mangling and misapplying scripture.

The Bible says the wages of sin is death, and that we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. It further states that there is no forgiveness of sin with God without the shedding of blood. The substitutionary death of Jesus Christ on the cross replaced the blood sacrifices of animals in the Old Testament. Christ is the perfect, unblemished Lamb of God, dying once and for all a death on the cross for our sins. All we must do is accept Jesus Christ in order to have a personal relationship with the Father through the Son.

The veil in the temple ripping from top to bottom signified our ability to have a personal relationship with Father through the Son. The veil mentioned was the veil in the temple, the veil to the Holy of Holies, the very presence of God, entered by only the designated priest, and only once a year in the Old Testament. That veil ripping from top to bottom signified Jesus Christ clearing the way for sinful man to have a personal relationship with holy God, through His Son, the eternal Great High Priest forever.

The behavior or sins of fathers may cause their children problems, but the children are not responsible for the sins of the fathers. Ever since Adam blamed Eve, and Eve blamed the serpent in the Garden of Eden, human beings have been trying to scapegoat others. Notice that God held each one of them accountable, and did not buy it for a minute. He doesn't buy it today either.

© 2019 Kelly Ann Christensen

Share Your Thoughts

Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on January 12, 2020:

Interesting article. Elaborate and detailed.

Related Articles