The so-called "right to privacy" is a hot-button issue in many modern societies, and within that discussion, the question of a child's right to privacy is often raised. Christians take positions in the debate, and at least sometimes point to the Bible to make their case. Evangelical author Edward T. Welch writes:

Scripture seems to lean in the direction of rejecting the concept of privacy in the parent-child relationship. (Addictions, 95)

Welch doesn't provide any explicit biblical support for this claim, so my question is: what is the biblical basis against the idea of a child's right to privacy in relation to their parents?

Here I am talking about children who are legal minors living with their parents, and I'm specifically asking about their privacy within the parent-child relationship. The question of a child's privacy within the church or society at large is a separate issue. I'm also focusing on the question of a right to privacy, not whether it is biblical for parents to give their child privacy in certain situations.


According to the Bible, children are supposed to be obedient to their parents. (Colossians 3:20, Ephesians 6:1-3) So the parents get to decide how much privacy to give or not to give their children, and children are not automatically afforded a certain amount of privacy. A parent that is living by Bible principals would consider what is best for their child. Some parents feel that a certain amount of privacy will earn their child's trust and help their child to open up to them about important matters.

There are certain extreme situations where a child would have the right to privacy if the parent would abuse the lack of privacy in a wicked way. Even though the parent has authority over the child, God has authority over the parent and the child. So if the parent tries to use their authority over the child in a way that contradicts God's expressed will, there might be a reason for the child or others to protect the child's privacy against that parent. (Acts 5:29). But generally, unless this is an extreme situation, the Bible is not always giving other people permission to assign the child privacy from their parents, even if it is questionable whether or not the parent is acting in harmony with God's will. At the same time, the government also has authority over both the child and the parent, so they could give the child certain privacy rights, as long as those rights don't make it impossible for the child or the parent to be obedient to God. (Romans 13:1)

  • 1
    I don't see what the Acts 5 reference has to do with this topic. Can you check that and edit your answer to clarify?
    – Caleb
    Dec 31 '16 at 9:33

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