Is Proverbs 22:6 a guarantee?

This will be a quick response - A dear Prof of mine in seminary used to say, “A text can only mean what it only meant - a text can never mean what it never meant.” First, we have to remember a proverb is a general wisdom statement which is “generally” true. That is these are statements while being “often true” were never intended to be “promises.” Second, a loose yet more literal translation of this passage might read, “train up a male child in the way he has been bent and when he is old he will not depart from that way.” Third, this passage while having implications towards children being reared in righteousness probably has a wider implication. God ultimately bends our personalities, likes, and such. When children are reared by parents with an eye towards they way God has “bent them,” there is great success in adding to that propensity by the parents time, effort and emphasis. So when I have children that are Divinely bent towards athletics, leadership, or music, or whatever; it is effective that my wife and I encourage those children to continue to develop in these areas. When responsible, those children will grow and will become increasingly effective in those areas. So Finally - this then is not a promise that if a believer trains his child in righteousness he or she may not depart from that faith….it is still generally true. When believers Biblically parent their children….even if they (the child) take an occasional detour from their faith (like the prodigal son)…often because of the sowing of Scripture and the gospel in their youth…gratefully on many occasions you will see them come back to Christ after being beat up by the sin/flesh or the devil.

Straight Ahead!


Dr. Joel Tetreau serves as Senior Pastor, Southeast Valley Bible Church (; Regional Coordinator for IBL West (, Board Member & friend for several different ministries;