Question: If I train up my child in the "way he should go," does that mean he will never rebel? (Prov. 22:6).


Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”

Some people take this as a promise that if they are diligent to teach their children the gospel, raise them in a Christian home, and provide opportunities for discipleship, then they will never rebel.

Further study reveals two common schools of thought:

1. The “way he should go” does not actually refer to adherence to the Law as understood in the Old Testament context of spiritual growth, but rather, a dedication to pursuing the natural gifts and talents of the child. In other words, encouraging and equipping growing kids to pursue the passion that God has given them—be it in the arts, athletics, education, law, medicine, etc.

And/ or:

2. The verse is saying that if you give a child an appetite for spiritual things, he will continue in the process of spiritual growth. However, not only this passage, but the Proverbs themselves are not to be interpreted as promises but as principles. So, although the principle is true that directing a child on the correct path in life will equip them for success, it is not a hard and fast promise of guaranteed results.

Of all the stories in all the biblical narratives, and in all the exhortations from every epistle, one clear observation can unquestionably be realized: only one central figure from the whole of scripture was free of a rebellious nature. I’m sure you figured it out—it’s Jesus.

So, the simple answer is "no." Consistently the pattern throughout history is that even the most holy and righteous of human beings have failed in some way—without exception.  However, we can take comfort in knowing that God uses our rebellions and our failures to increase His Glory and repeatedly demonstrate His Grace!