Proverbs on Family and Parenting

Proverbs on Family and Parenting*

Proverbs teaches us how to live wisely. The wise and godly life, according to Proverbs, pay particular heed to the family. It is, after all, cast largely as a father teaching his son (cf. 31:1-2). Proverbs has plenty to say about parent/child relationship.

1. The parent/child relationship (as in the husband/wife relationship) must begin with mutual respect. Children should not shame and disgrace their parents, but be a source of joy to them; the parents should be the pride of their children (cf. 17:6; 19:26; 20:20; 27:10; 30:11,17). Parents should also care for their children’s practical needs.

2. Without a doubt, however, Proverbs is preoccupied not with the parents’ provision of the children’s practical needs, but their provision of the children’s spiritual needs. The main thing parents must do for children is to teach them.

3. Again and again, Proverbs warns that if a child goes undisciplined, he will become impervious to discipline:

“The rod of correction imparts wisdom, but a child left to himself disgraces his mother” (29:15).

“Discipline your son, for in that there is hope; do not be a willing party to his death” (19:18).

“Teach children how they should live, and they will remember it all their life” (22:6).

“Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him” (22:15).

“Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish him with the rod, he will not die. Punish him with the rod and save his soul from death” (23:13-14).

“The rod and rebuke give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother” (29:15).

4. Now, some of you might ask, “what about child abuse?” Child abuse is a real problem, and we must not belittle it. And Proverbs deeply concerned about the child abuse that occurs when the child is ignored and when parents assume that their children possess a natural responsibility and discretion that they do not possess. Children will not learn such responsibility and discretion apart from their parents’ instruction. You might as well give the car keys to your five-year-old and turn him loose on the streets!

5. In the book of Proverbs, the father instructs his son while he is still young. He gives commands and teaches proverbs to the son. He disciplines and corrects the son he delights in (cf. 1:8; 3:12; 4:1; 6:20; 13:1; 15:5). Proverbs leaves us no doubt about a parents’ active role in these areas. For those of us who are parents, we must be encouraged to be faithful in instructing our children and discipling them at home. And may we find wisdom and strength from God’s Word and from one another. For those of us who are children, we must be encouraged to listen to our parents and respect them as God has placed them to disciple us and instruct us. May we be thankful to our parents who, though imperfectly, have done their part to teach us and guide us. 

* Adapted from “Proverbs: Wisdom for the Ambitious” by Mark Dever.

 

This Week’s Bible Reading Schedule:

Monday: Proverbs 23 Thursday: Proverb 26
Tuesday: Proverbs 24 Friday: Proverb 27
Wednesday: Proverb 25 Saturday: Proverb 28

 

Bible Column & Reading Plan by Rev. Chang Soo Lee
Mississauga Camps Lead Pastor