Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old, he won’t depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6
What a wonderful promise in God’s Word! It’s so very encouraging to know that the Lord will bless our efforts to train our children, even though at times you may shake your head and wearily wonder if it’s worth all the effort. As a mother of four grown children who all profess Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, I can assure you without a doubt that it’s worth every bit of energy it takes to train your children correctly. And as I look back, I know it’s all by the Grace of God, because I see so many areas where I failed.
As I read the above verse, I had a desire to study the word “train” and the words “the way he should go” and was amazed and edified as these words were expanded, enhanced and their message became fuller. Dwelling on their meanings can give us more awareness of the very great responsibility of training children. I will share with you the following material and ask you to pray for the Holy Spirit to glean the wisdom you need to train your children.
The dictionary has several excellent meanings of the word train:
1. Teach a particular skill or type of behavior through practice and instruction over a period of time; propagate wisdom.
2. Cause to be sharp, discerning or developed as a result of instruction or practice
3. Cause to grow in a particular direction
4. Instruct, teach, coach, tutor, educate, drill, ground, prepare, direct
5. Train physically and mentally
6. Keep under discipline
Then God’s Word says in Ephesians 6:4b, “Rear them (tenderly) in the training and discipline and the counsel and admonition of the Lord.” (Amplified Bible)
Matthew Henry says in his commentary, “Train up a child according as he is capable with a gentle hand–little and often. Take care and pains. As soldiers- to observe the word of command.”
Concerning the words “the way he should go” there are several wonderful quotes:
Matthew Henry says, “not in the way they would go, but should go.”
The Amplified Bible says, “and in keeping with his individual gift or bent.”
Pastor/Teacher John MacArthur says, “There is only one right way, God’s way, the way of life. Early training secures life-long habits. Parents must insist upon this way; teach God’s Word, enforcing it with loving discipline consistently throughout the child’s upbringing.”
A wonderful example of this training in the Bible was Timothy. He was taught the Holy Scriptures from childhood (II Timothy 3:15).
An example of the lack of training in the Bible would be David’s son Absalom (II Samuel chapters 13-18).
As you can see, the process of training starts from birth and continues on until the child is grown. It is not a one time event, but requires close careful instruction and discipline on an on-going basis. If you’ve ever wondered why your child can’t learn something after you’ve told them over and over again, just look at your own life. How much do we fail in our obedience to God on a daily basis? As God so patiently and lovingly deals with us, so must we show that same patience and forbearance with our children.
For more Biblical direction in the area of training, carefully study the following Scriptures:
Proverbs 13:24, Deuteronomy 4:9, Deuteronomy 6:6-8, Deuteronomy 11:18-21, Proverbs 19:18, Proverbs 22:15, Proverbs 23:13-14, Proverbs 29:15, 17, Proverbs 3:11-12, Hebrews 12:7.