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A Biblical View of Childbearing and Fertility


“We are merely servants of God, doing what He has called us to do, rejoicing as we do it, and trusting that He will provide. Therefore, we must hold everything with an open hand, even our fertility, trusting that the Lord knows how many children we should have, when we should have them, and what we need to raise them up in Him.”


The first command from God to man occurs in Genesis 1:28: “be fruitful and multiply.”

It’s curious that there are no conditions surrounding this statement. There are no nuances such as “be fruitful and multiply if you can afford to,” or “be fruitful and multiply unless you want to travel,” or “be fruitful and multiply if you think the world is in a good state to bring children into it,” or “be fruitful and multiply if you think you can handle another child right now.”

No, God’s words to Adam and Eve were clear: be fruitful and multiply.

I often wonder if Christians really take time to consider what this statement means. So often, and almost always for selfish reasons, Christians refrain from having children. If they aren’t on birth control or using condoms, Christian husbands and wives enjoy all the benefits of a good sex life without surrendering the state of their family to the Lord. They want to space their children out, stop having children after a certain number, or maybe not have any children at all.

This isn’t to say that planning and preparing for a family is a bad thing. We are still to be good stewards of what we’ve been given, and Christian husbands and fathers have the responsibility of ensuring that their families are pleasing to the Lord. In doing so, however, both the husband and the wife must surrender all things to Him. That means their job security, their finances, the roof over their head, the food in their pantry, and even the well-being of their children must be held with open hands. So why is it that we forget to hold our fertility with open hands, too?

After all, we tell women struggling with infertility that everything is in the Lord’s timing, that He is good and in control and will open her womb when He wills it. Why, then, do we not remember this when it comes to having more children ourselves? If God is the one to open our wombs because it is His will to, why would we intentionally attempt to avoid His work within us?

There are several things to consider here, and I think the best way to continue making the case for an “open womb” is by examining what Scripture has to say about the subject.

So, what does the Bible say about childbearing?

Children Are a Gift

Psalm 127:3-5 tells us,

“Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them!”

When God imparts a gift to us, whether it is wisdom, patience, discernment, a job, a new house, or a healthy church, we never refuse it. In fact, we pray for those very things — that God would be gracious to give us what we desire and what we need to be more like Him. Why is it then that we refuse more children? If children are a gift from the Lord, do we really have the authority to say, “No more”? If our children are not our own but are given to us by God to steward, raise, and train up for His kingdom, then who are we to say, “That’s enough”?

We Never See Intentional Barrenness in Scripture

In fact, barrenness is never glorified or celebrated, but rather it is grieved over. Sarah, for example, neither rejoiced in her barrenness nor was she content to be barren. In Genesis 16:2, she says to Abraham, “Behold now, the Lord has prevented me from bearing children. Go in to my servant; it may be that I shall obtain children by her.” Sarah longed for children so badly that she encouraged her husband to sleep with another woman so that she could have a child.

In Genesis 30:1, Rachel was jealous of her sister, Leah, who gave their husband, Jacob, multiple children. She struggled with both envy and barrenness. She said to Jacob, “Give me children, or I shall die!”

In Genesis 30:9, “Leah saw that she had ceased bearing children…” It wasn’t Leah who “decided” to stop having children; it was the Lord who did not open her womb again until later on in verse 17.

These are just a few biblical examples of barrenness, but it’s important to note that none of them are intentional. These women struggled to have children because it was not God’s will for them to bear children at that time. Why is it that so many Christian men and women intentionally choose the very thing that grieved women like Sarah, Rachel, and Leah? Perhaps, if Christian couples viewed children as a gift rather than a burden, they would see the problem with rejecting such blessings from God.

God Equips Us for What He Has Called Us To

“Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.”

–Hebrews 13:20-21

If God is sovereign over our fertility and childbearing, then He is also sovereign over the circumstances under which we have them. Our sinful human nature desires to control or be aware of everything that comes our way, but the truth is, God is sovereign and we are not. If it is God’s will for us to have a child, then He will provide a way financially, circumstantially, etc. He equips us for every good work, both spiritually and physically, and we must not doubt this in the midst of growing our families.


In all things, we must remember that nothing actually belongs to us. We are merely servants of God, doing what He has called us to do, rejoicing as we do it, and trusting that He will provide. Therefore, we must hold everything with an open hand, even our fertility, trusting that the Lord knows how many children we should have, when we should have them, and what we need to raise them up in Him.

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.”

–Romans 12:1

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