Train Up a Child

Reading the Word

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.(Proverbs 22:6, ESV)

Understanding and Applying the Word

Today’s proverb is one of the most well-known passages in the book. We must remember that proverbs are not promises, but general truths. Parents cannot take these words as a hard fact that if they train their child in the teachings of Christ and the Scriptures that the child will always follow and never turn away. Generally speaking, children continue on the path they start on, but some do not.

There is a translation issue that we must think about too because it sheds some light on the meaning of this text. The phrase translated “the way he should go” could also be something along the lines of “whatever way he will go.” With this in mind, it reinforces the need to train our children in the right way because “whatever way” they are trained in is likely the course for their future.

Parents and those who work with children, understand the great importance to train up young people in the ways of the Lord. For most of us, the foundation for our lives is laid in the early years and we will continue to build on it for the rest of our lives.


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Never Stop Learning

Reading the Word

Cease to hear instruction, my son, and you will stray from the words of knowledge.(Proverbs 19:27, ESV)

Understanding and Applying the Word

We must never stop learning. We simply will never know all things. The world is too vast and we are so limited in our abilities. It is a great reminder that God alone is omniscient.

The know-it-all attitude is unbiblical and is to the detriment of the person. We learn a great deal from others and must continue to listen. Do not close your ears to others. They have things to teach you. And we all have things we need to learn.


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The Need for Discipline

Reading the Word

Discipline your son, for there is hope; do not set your heart on putting him to death.(Proverbs 19:18, ESV)

Understanding and Applying the Word

The first half of this psalm tells us to “discipline” our sons (i.e. children). When we hear the word discipline, we may automatically think of punishment, but that is too narrow of an understanding. The Hebrew word carries the meaning of training, directing, correcting, teaching, etc. We are told to do this “for there is hope.” We train our children because there is hope that they will learn and grow to maturity, even if it may not always feel like it!

The second half of the psalm is a warning to parents. We may be tempted to neglect our duty to train our children. This may be because we do not want to spend the time or effort necessary. It could also be that correcting an erring child is no fun and we would rather avoid the confrontation or the hurt feelings or the necessary punishments. However, this is not wise. Such an approach is actually harmful for the development of children.Ultimately, it can lead to their demise.

Children need instruction and training and it starts with parents. We must not neglect our responsibilities in this area because the future welfares of our sons and daughters are at stake.


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Lady Wisdom Calls Out

Proverbs 120 169

Reading the Word

Proverbs 1:20–23 (ESV)

20  Wisdom cries aloud in the street,
in the markets she raises her voice;
21  at the head of the noisy streets she cries out;
at the entrance of the city gates she speaks:
22  “How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple?
How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing
and fools hate knowledge?
23  If you turn at my reproof,
behold, I will pour out my spirit to you;
I will make my words known to you.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Wisdom is personified as a woman who calls out to all. If they will go to her, they can learn from her. She will teach them. With this invitation there are two questions: How long will the simple (unwise) love being so? And how long will scoffers continue to scoff and hate knowledge?

No one chooses to be a fool. Some just think they are already wise and have no need for a teacher. Instead of learning, they scoff at others. Instead of receiving wisdom and knowledge, they reject it and turn from it. Such a mindset sets a person up for many difficulties down the road. Wisdom is a willing teacher if only we are also willing students. Learning requires a willingness to admit being wrong and also to change, which can be hard, but worth it in the end.

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Learning from Your Parents

father talking to his son

Photo by August de Richelieu on Pexels.com

 

Reading the Word

Proverbs 1:8–9 (ESV)

8 Hear, my son, your father’s instruction,
and forsake not your mother’s teaching,
9 for they are a graceful garland for your head
and pendants for your neck.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Yesterday, I posted the opening words to the Book of Proverbs. As I considered those words, I thought, “Why not spend some time in the Book of Proverbs and examine some f the things we learn there?” So, that is what I plan to do for the next several days. Let me know if you have any favorites that you want to be sure to cover because I do not plan to look at every single verse.

In today’s reading, we find one of the chief sources of wisdom that God has given us: our parents. They are with us from the very beginning and are able to teach us about life through their own learning and experiences. If we listen carefully to our parents, we can be spared much trouble in life or the need to learn things “the hard way.” I know that not every parent is a great source of wisdom. Many are not. However, proverbs are statements of general truths and parents are some of the most important teachers we have. It is wise to listen to them.

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The Importance of Teachers

Ephesians 413 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Ephesians 4:11–16 (ESV)

11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Christians are meant to grow. We are meant to grow into the fullness of Christ. This may seem like a tall order, but God has not left us to do this all alone. He has given us his word, his Spirit, his people, and teachers (i.e. pastors and teachers). We read here that the role of pastors and teachers is to “equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood.” The role of our church leaders is to help us grow to Christian maturity through teaching.

Many have a mindset that all a believer needs is a Bible. I understand the reason for this way of thinking. After all, God’s word is sufficient and we do not want to become reliant on others to tell us what that word means. We should read and study it for ourselves. This is absolutely true! However, God has not called us to live autonomously as his people. We are called to live in community as the Church. And God has gifted fellow believers within the Church in unique ways. Some he has given the ability to teach his word to others and we would be unwise to disregard those who God has given us for our benefit. To do so would be to stunt our growth or maybe even wander off in the wrong direction. We need each other and we need the teachers God has given us so we can grow into the likeness of our Savior.

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The Devotion of the Early Church

small church

Shaped by the Word is a daily, Bible-reading devotional. On Sundays, I do not include supplemental material, but I do post a suggested Scripture reading. Please be sure to subscribe to this page so you can follow along each day. Thanks for reading!

Reading the Word

Acts 2:42–47 (ESV)

42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

The True Source of Authority

John 717 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

John 7:14–24 (ESV)

14 About the middle of the feast Jesus went up into the temple and began teaching. 15 The Jews therefore marveled, saying, “How is it that this man has learning, when he has never studied?” 16 So Jesus answered them, “My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me. 17 If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority. 18 The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood. 19 Has not Moses given you the law? Yet none of you keeps the law. Why do you seek to kill me?” 20 The crowd answered, “You have a demon! Who is seeking to kill you?” 21 Jesus answered them, “I did one work, and you all marvel at it. 22 Moses gave you circumcision (not that it is from Moses, but from the fathers), and you circumcise a man on the Sabbath. 23 If on the Sabbath a man receives circumcision, so that the law of Moses may not be broken, are you angry with me because on the Sabbath I made a man’s whole body well? 24 Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.”

Understanding and Applying the Word

In the middle of the Feast of Booths, Jesus went from attending in secret to becoming very public as he began teaching in the temple. The Greek word heiron indicates that Jesus was in the outer court of the temple and would have been very visible. The people were amazed at his knowledge of the Scriptures as he had never had formal training.

When Jesus spoke, he spoke with authority and did not rely on the teaching of others to back up his teaching. Jesus explained that his teaching had authority because it originated with God, not man. Anyone who knew God and desired to live according to God’s will would recognize the truth of Jesus’ teaching. Others taught for their own glory rather than the glory of God.

We must continue to beware of those who seek their own glory rather than the glory of God. There are sure signs to look for. Does the teacher insist on titles and being recognized as superior to others? Does the teacher like to take personal credit for successes rather than give the credit to God? Does the teacher like to talk about himself? Does the teacher speak down towards others and elevate himself? A true teacher of God has authority not because of who he is or what he has accomplished, but because he teaches the truth of God’s word. The authority is in the word, not the teacher and the teacher must submit to that same word.

May we continue to turn to the Scriptures as the final authority in our lives, knowing that they are the revealed teaching of God. We know that they are true and life-giving in all that they teach.

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