Personal Growth

The Tool Every Dad Needs

by John Dalrymple

Tools on a wooden table

What would you like for your birthday?

I get asked this question around this time every year and every year I struggle to come up with a good answer. When in doubt, a good quality tool is always a good gift to ask for or to give. But how do you pick a good tool?

When it comes to power tool brands, men are very opinionated (even though Milwaukee is the best, right guys?) and there is a spectrum of quality with all types of tools: hand tools, garden tools, sharpening tools, measuring tools, etc.

However, there is one tool that sets itself apart as the sharpest, strongest and brightest. What’s more, it never wears out or gets old. It’s the tool that every man needs, without which no man can truly live. It is the Word of God.

Before you stop reading and complain about clickbait, take a few moments to consider what God has to say about the tool every guy needs.

The Sharpest Knife

Many professions require a razor-sharp blade—surgeons, carpenters, and cooks to name a few. Dull knives are like bad friends. They’re inconsistent, they cut roughly, and they often do more harm than good. The writer of Hebrews describes God’s Word as “living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Heb. 4:12) As one commentator observes, “God’s Word has the ability to cut through our human resistance…and break through the pretense and confusion to expose the reality of our innermost being.”1

Some men are known for being very private—like oyster shells, it’s difficult to pry them open and see what’s going on inside. However, God’s Word is like an obsidian blade, piercing the hardest hearts, exposing the deepest secrets, and cutting the nastiest sin out of our lives.

Do you want to grow as a dad? There is no tool that will pierce your heart and expose your sin like God’s Word.

The Strongest Hammer

I grew up swinging an Estwing steel hammer. My dad would often allow me to help him with construction projects, regularly assigning me the demolition role, which I loved (who doesn’t love smashing things?!).

In Jeremiah 23:29, the prophet describes God’s Word as a fire and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces. The message that the prophets delivered to God’s people was often intended to shatter their pride and confront their sin, warning of the judgment to come if they did not repent.

When we humble ourselves under the authority of God’s Word during preaching or in our personal devotions, it’s as if we have placed ourselves on God’s anvil, prepared for Him to turn up the heat and crush hardened parts so that He might form us more into the image of His son, Jesus Christ.

Do you want to grow as a dad? There is no tool that will shatter your pride and shape your character like God’s Word.

The Brightest Flashlight

We didn’t have LED flashlights when I was a kid, but we did have resilient Maglites , so when I was given a full-size LED Maglite a few years ago, I was ecstatic. Security guards, mechanics, and miners are just a few of the occupations that require a bright flashlight for their safety and success.

In Psalm 119, King David describes God’s Word as “a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” (Ps. 119:105) More than just direction for life decisions, this light is intended to provide truth for moral choices and show us the safe path for our feet.

Do you want to grow as a dad? There is no tool that will light your path and guide your footsteps like God’s Word.

Dusty Tools

How many tools do you think you have in your garage or shed or truck? Men are stereotypically notorious for purchasing more tools than they need or use. However, most men would argue that while you might not need them now, it’s always helpful to know that the tools (and backups) are there.

What about God’s Word? In addition to owning lots of tools, chances are you also have a number of Bibles sitting around your house. When was the last time you picked up this tool and let God do His cutting and crushing and constructing in your own heart and life? When is the last time you read your Bible?

Your garage may always seem like it needs just a few more tools but your spiritual life has everything it needs in God’s Word. (2 Tim. 3:16-17) You don’t need five tips for being a better dad you need to read and apply the Bible to your life every day.

If you haven’t used this sharpest, strongest, brightest tool recently, let me encourage you to pick it up. It’s probably accessible on the device you’re using right now. Download YouVersion, start a Bible reading plan, and invite a friend to join you. If you don’t have a good study Bible or journaling Bible, consider asking for one on your next birthday.

If you want to grow as a dad and mature as a man of God, you must have this essential tool in your life.


  1. R. T. France, “Hebrews,” in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews–Revelation (Revised Edition), ed. Tremper Longman III and David E. Garland, vol. 13 (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2006), 68.

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