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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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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