Introduction: If you are a parent, especially the parent of a
teenager, no doubt you have asked yourself, “What should I do now?”
The correct answers to problems are not always obvious. Some say it
takes the wisdom of Solomon to raise kids right. Some say the wisdom
of Dr. James Dobson. Let’s dive into the book of Proverbs and see
what God inspired Solomon to write about this important topic!
- The Task
- Read Proverbs 22:1-6. What does verse 1 tell us should be
a major life goal? (A good name.)
- How do verses 2-5 suggest that we achieve that goal?
(Being alert and humbly obeying God.)
- In your opinion, does verse 6 draw important context
from the verses that precede it?
- I remember taking the deposition of a hostile and
obnoxious witness who was an officer for a nurses union.
I innocently asked her what “training” was required for
nurses. She responded “nurses are not trained, they are
educated!” (I then concluded(not so innocently)”I take it
then, you are untrained in your profession?”) What do you
think “train” means in Proverbs 22:6?
- Does it mean (v.3) to teach the child about life’s
dangers and how to avoid them?
- Does it mean (v.4) to teach the child about humbly
- Our lesson (Sunday) has an interesting paraphrase for
verse 6: “Create an environment for life for a child, in
keeping with his gifts or bent, and when he is old he will
not depart from it.” What do you think about that
- Is it missing something important? Like the phrase
“in the way he should go?” Or, is that idea contained
in the phrase, “for life?” Is that idea contained in
the phrase “in keeping with his gifts or bent?” (I
think the text has been “bent” a great deal to
convert “in the way he should go” (an objective
standard based on obeying God) to “in keeping with
his gifts or bent” (a subjective standard putting the
child’s apparent will or inclination first).)
- Verse 6 also has a phrase I do not want to pass over
without discussion. It says, “when he is old.” Does that
mean we can expect our young people to stray? Or, does it
mean you train when the child is young, and when he is old
(i.e., out of your hands) he will stay with the program?
- We have learned that we have an obligation to train our
young children. Let’s explore next how we do that.
- The Means
- Speaking of “bent,” let’s look next at Proverbs 29:15 and
Proverbs 13:24. Spanking students at school is illegal in
many (perhaps most) of the United States and dangerous to
a teacher’s wallet in all. Even parents sometimes find
themselves battling arrogant bureaucrats over spanking.
- Consider first Proverbs 29:15. The term “rod” here is
the same used for a shepherd’s rod. What two
concepts are compared in this text? (Active
correction versus neglecting the child.)
- Vine’s Dictionary also tells us that the word
translated “rod” can refer to a symbol of
authority, such as a scepter or it can be “an
instrument of warfare and oppression.” What do
you think God had in mind when you consider His
overall dealings with us? Can you see a picture
of a shepherd’s rod firmly, but gently, used
- Another interesting insight into this word is
that it also can mean “tribe.” What influence
can your “tribe” have on the raising of your
- Let’s read next Proverbs 13:24. Here we have the same
Hebrew word for “rod” as in our last text. I thought
people refrained from spanking their children because they
loved them! This says just the opposite. Can you explain?
(If you love your children, and care about how they grow
up, you will discipline them!)
- The Hebrew word translated “hate” here is “sane’.” Is
it “insane” to refuse to discipline children? (We
don’t want to get carried away with “root word”
comparisons. I suspect the Hebrew root for “insane”
comes from “untrustworthy.” However, I think the
text is clear you actively harm your children if you
refuse to discipline them.)
- Read Proverbs 3:11-12. Is discipline a life-long
requirement for all of us, not just children?
- Is discipline something specially sent down on
individuals from God?
- Or is it the natural order of things? (Both.
This text suggests God’s active involvement in
our discipline. However, just like gravity,
getting in trouble for foolish activity is the
order of the world. See Proverbs 16:22)
- Have you ever thought that God was disciplining you?
- What is God’s motive for disciplining us?
- If we do not discipline our children, will God
- Would you rather leave the disciplining to God?
- Some of you may still be scrunched down in the back seats,
holding your heads in horror at the though of spanking,
and saying “his poor children!” Let’s look at some
clarifying texts. Read Ephesians 6:1-4 and Colossians
3:20-21. How can we discipline our children without
“embittering” or “exasperating” them? (The first rule to
remember is that the goal is love — you want to improve
their life. If you are angry, if you have not clearly
thought out the goal of the discipline, you are missing
the most fundamental point. You should never strike a
child just to strike him. You should never send a child to
his room just to get rid of him. All discipline should
have a well-thought out goal. This goal should be arrived
at before the heat of the moment or the midst of anger.)
- If you have well-considered discipline for your
children, will they be happy with it? (Read Proverbs
12:15-16. It is unnatural that someone involved in
foolishness will be pleased with correction.)
- The Rewards
- Read Proverbs 10:1, Proverbs 29:17 and Proverbs 17:21. If
your child grows up to obey God, what is your reward? If
he grows up to be a fool, what is your reward?
- Read Proverbs 19:18 and Proverbs 21:21. What is the reward
to the child for proper discipline and training? (A proper
upbringing gives your child hope in life. Failure to
discipline can bring your child death.)
- Friends, if you train your children in the Lord, your life
will be better and the lives of your children will be
better. If you haven’t started that task before, will you
do it now?
- NEXT WEEK we start a new quarter and a new study on prayer. Our
lesson title is: The Model Pray-er and the Model Prayer: Christ.