Training Children for God

Proverbs 10:1; 13:24; 15:5,10,12; 19:13,18; 20:11; 22:6,15; 23:13-16; 29:17 — lots of teaching in The Book about training children correctly

CLP had this same lesson eight years ago! Click that link to read more of what I wrote for that lesson. Meanwhile, here are some tidbits from it…

  • What should be my motivation in disciplining another?
  • Is the “right” to discipline my child something I need to “earn”?
  • Am I as open to being trained as I am to doing the training?
  • How does God measure the success of my child training?
  • What should be my attitude toward those parents who train differently than I do?

What should be among our chief aims in child training?

  • acquisition of wisdom
  • development of prudence
  • openness to reproof
  • selection of the right way
  • rejection of foolishness
  • demonstration of pure and right work
  • deliverance from hell

Consulting my Spanish Reina-Valera 1960 Bible will at times give me a perspective quite different from what my English King James Version gives. Take Proverbs 19:18.

“Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.”

“Castiga a tu hijo en tanto que hay esperanza; Mas no se apresure tu alma para destruirlo.” (“Punish your son while there is hope; but don’t let your soul hasten to destroy him.”)

Quite a difference in the second section of the verse, eh?! Using the Spanish rendition, we could conclude that we shouldn’t discipline in haste or we will ruin the child.

Also, having a hasty soul may mean being…

  • angry or frustrated.
  • unjust (not getting all the facts or jumping to conclusions).
  • driven by autopilot (for example, saying “No” for no good reason).

Now take Proverbs 22:6.

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

“Instruye al niño en su camino, Y aun cuando fuere viejo no se apartará de él.” (“Instruct the child in his way, and even when he be old….”)

Now you’re wondering why I didn’t finish my translation. Well, I’ll tell you why: the Spanish verbiage goes fuzzy at that point! What I left untranslated above (“no se apartará de él”) can be translated — correctly — these two ways:

  • “…he will not depart from it.”
  • “…it will not depart from him.”

The first option clearly parallels the thought conveyed in the King James Version. But the second option changes the thrust of the promise!

When thy lips speak right things (Proverbs 23:16) -- training children for God leads to this

“My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother” (Proverbs 1:8).

  • As a parent, I’m glad for verses like this in the Bible! Calls on the child to hear and adhere to the law of the parents. “Hear, hang on to, and live out the teaching and guidance from your parents.”
  • But what about verse 9?!

“For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck” (Proverbs 1:9).

  • So godly parental teaching and guidance will bring the ornament and beauty of grace upon the child.
  • As a parent, though, I ask: “Will my rules make my children more attractive?” In living by them, will they become more gracious, graceful, grace-full?
  • I want my children to value my rules as they would jewels. Then let me make sure that my rules are jewels!

(My above comments are from my teacher’s notes for our congregation’s men’s Sunday School lesson a month ago: Hearing Instruction).

“Withhold not correction from the child: for if you beatest him with the rod, he shall not die” (Proverbs 23:13).

Beat the child with a rod?! That sounds mighty harsh and abusive.

The RVR60 Spanish Bible renders it less so. Here is my translation from it: “Do not refuse to correct the child, because if you punish him with the rod, he won’t die.”

I do not believe God intends for this verse to be applied abusively.

Excerpted and adapted from Train(ing) Children for God

Parents, Do It! — faithful children training, that is

  • justly
  • prayerfully
  • sadly
  • carefully
  • lovingly
  • firmly
  • consistently
  • calmly
  • painfully
  • redemptively
  • patiently
Before he was old enough to make such decisions for himself, Samuel had already been made available to the Lord’s service. And before he was really old enough to be thinking seriously about preparing for service, he was being prepared for that service. Eventually Samuel needed to make a responsible commitment of his own. By the time he got to that point, God had already brought him into ability and availability.

Excerpted from Samuel

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