“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6
This verse has been the subject of much discussion over the years. Some have interpreted it to say that if we train our children right, they may depart for a while, but, in the end, they will return to it. This is not at all what the verse says. It says that the way we train our children is the they will go.
There are some things that must be kept in mind if we are to properly understand this verse. We must understand that none of us are perfect parents and make some mistakes in the training of our children. We must also remember that our children are free moral agents and can reject the training we give them.
This week I saw two more young men who were raised in good Christian homes that have fallen by the way side. I know the parents in both cases and I have no doubt that they love the Lord and tried to raise their children right.
I wish I could say that these two young men were exceptional, but they are not. We are seeing more and more of this. The question for me is WHY?
Not being able to look into the hearts of the children that are going astray, and not being able to see everything the parents have done in training their children, it is difficult to say exactly why, in any specific case, this is happening. On the other hand there are some broad principles that we have gotten away from that have something to do with this issue.
One of the best passages on training children is Deuteronomy Chapter 6. In chapter 5 Moses had called the people together and had rehearsed the statutes and judgments of God. Chapter 6 starts with the exhortation to do the commandments and to pass them on to their sons, and their son’s sons. Verses 5-9 tell how it is to be done.
It starts with the fathers loving the Lord God with all their hearts, souls, and might. This is followed by the precepts of God being in the hearts of the fathers. These are difficult things and none of us do them perfectly. They should, however, be the goal of every child of God. When we fail we should repent and make things right with God and man (including our sons).
Proverbs 4:27 says, “Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil.” The turn not part tells us not to deviate, even in the most minor parts, from God’s commandments. The second part of this verse tells us that when we do we are to get back on the right track as quickly as possible.
Deuteronomy 6:7-9 gives us the specific ways we are to teach our children. First we are to talk about God’s precepts when we are sitting in our homes, walking in our daily lives, before bedtime and when we get up. In other words, the things of God should fill our thoughts. They should be more important that basketball, football, baseball, stock car racing, or anything else.
The next principle found here is that the precepts of God are to be lived out in our lives. We understand the importance of our testimony before the lost world, but do we understand its importance before our children?
Let me give just one example. This principle was followed by most families (even non-Christian families) when I was growing up, and even more so in the generation before me. Today it is largely ignored in most Christian families and the Passage I am going to give you is re-interpreted to mean something other that what it says.
“But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine: That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience. The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.” Titus 2:1-5
First I would like to point out that this is talking about things “which become sound doctrine.” We should also note that this passage ends with “that the word of God be not blasphemed.” This makes what appears between these two statements very important.
All of the principles in this passage need to be followed, but there is one that has been explained way by many in our present day. It is found in verse 5 where it says the the older women are to teach the younger women to be “keepers at home.” This phrase is a translation of one Greek word meaning “a stayer at home.” The root word means to guard and is coupled with the Greek word for home. It means that the younger women are to be at home as a guard to secure the home from injury or loss.
I have heard preachers say it means to be a keeper of the home. Even Strong, in his Greek lexicon makes it mean domestically inclined or a good housekeeper. While our young women should be both of these, that is not the meaning of this passage. It means to be there physically and guard the home.
I understand the times in which we live. Sometimes it seems necessary for the wife to have a job outside of the home. My question is this; Is it more important to have more of this world’s goods, or is it more important to follow God’s precepts? I understand that there may be times when we have no choice. When I was growing up my father had an accident and was not able to return to work for over six months. If my mother had not worked we would have lost everything. However, as soon as my father returned to work my mother quit.
God didn’t give His precepts to make our lives miserable, He gave them to make our lives better. Many of our problems come because we neglect what God has to say.
This is only one example. Another would be that men have left their role as fathers and put the emphasis on their jobs. Ephesians 6:4 says, “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” Fathers are to be the leaders in the home. They are to nurture or feed the children on the precepts of God’s word. They are to admonish or warn them of the results of not keeping God’s precepts.
Most fathers today are more interested in playing ball with their sons than teaching them the Word of God. They leave that part up to the mother, the Sunday school teacher, and the pastor. After all, they don’t have much time and they want to be their children’s friend. Children don’t need friends, they need parents.
There are other things causing us to loose our children, but getting these principles right will go a long way in solving the problem.
Copyright 2017 Pierre Coovert, All rights reserved