Like much of theology, one must study “the entire counsel of God” as we say. You cannot just cherry pick verses and think you can develop a theology. That being said, blogs aren’t long so they can’t to do that. This post, to some, might have a controversial beginning. But if you know me, controversy is no stranger to my life. I like to think I’m in the company of Jesus in that regard.
Some of what I want and need to address in my blog is some of my past theology which I believe needs to be corrected. It’s not that I’m bitter of my past or think it should all be thrown to the wind. But I think that as Christians we need to continue to be truth seekers.
One verse I heard a lot growing up is Proverbs 22:6. The passage says, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” How I used to understand this passage is that if a teenager or young adult was in rebellion to God or totally turned their back on God, they’re parents failed. This verse provides direct connection between how one trains their child and how they turn out right? I mean, the verse says, “he will not depart.” Sounds pretty black and white.
Let’s learn a little about how to understand the Bible. The Bible, like most other writings, needs to be understood within it’s genre. So I don’t read a Stephen King novel the same way as a David McCullough book on history, or a love letter from my wife, or a memo from work. Each needs to be understood in the genre within which it is written.
So to understand Proverbs 22:6 we need to understand what a proverbs is. A proverb is a “general truth.” What does “general truth” mean? It means that a statement is true generally, or most of the time. A proverb, which many cultures and societies have, is not true 100% of the time. How is this understood within the Bible? If the Bible is true 100% of the time, doesn’t that mean that Proverbs is true 100% of the time? No it doesn’t. It means that in general the proverbs in the Bible are true. We need to think about this when we are studying proverbs in the Bible.
So what does that mean for this Proverbs passage? It means that if you raise your child in God’s ways, in general they will turn out to be a follower of God. This is not a guarantee though. This post is meant to give hope to the parent who has raised their child in God’s ways, whose child has fallen away from God. It’s hope to them that if they have done what they are supposed to do that it is not necessarily their fault their child has fallen away from God.
I believe there is still hope for those who have fallen away. But I want to give hope to parents who have laid false blame on their shoulders for their child’s (or adult child’s) life. I hope it is a refreshment to you.
Next time you are reading through Proverbs, remember the “general truth” rule. There are several passages within Proverbs, which if interpreted as 100% truth instead of a general truth will lead us astray.
Thanks for taking time to read this Maddening Theology post. If you enjoyed this content you can find Pastor Tim’s sermons at www.cornerstoneforestcity.org. You can also join us at 520 Marion St. Browndale, Pa 18421 on Sundays at 10:45 AM. To make following the blog easier you can also register. You can also join us on Facebook at Cornerstone Forest City. Also, don’t forget to download our APP on iTunes or Googleplay.