What the Wise Parent Teaches Their Children from Proverbs

A wise parent teaches his/her children many things.  John MacArthur highlight ten critical lessons about wisdom from Proverbs in What the Bible Teaches about Parenting.  We should teach our kids to:

  1. Fear God (Proverbs 1:7, 9:10) by:
    1. Revering His holiness with a sacred awe of His absolute majesty
    2. Fearing His displeasure – In the presence of God, true wisdom trembles with a holy, healthy sense of terror and apprehension. Children need to understand that God is angry with the wicked and will punish evil doers (Psalm 7:11-13).  They need to understand that when they disobey they set themselves against a holy God who deals out consequences for those who violate His righteous principles. The proper goal of Biblical parenting is to teach a child to fear violating God’s standards not your own.  The goal is to have them fear being chastened by God.  Genuine faith acknowledges God’s right to chasten, His right to punish and His right to judge.  This fear will prolong their life (14:27), give them a full life (14:27, 19:23), spare them grief by keeping them from evil (16:6), give them profit in God (15:16) and give them confidence (14:26)
  2. Guard their minds (4:23, Psalm 101:3).  The truest test of our character is our thought life (Proverbs 23:7).  Out of our thoughts come our conduct (Mark 7:20-22).  You have the responsibility to steer children towards what edifies and away from what does not.  You cannot isolate them so you must train them to be discerning and cultivate wholesome thoughts (Philippians 4:8)
  3. Obey their parents (1, 8; 4:1-4; 6:20-23; Exodus 20:12).  This involves discipline, chastening and correction (3:11-12; 13:24).  Chastening helps conform their minds to wisdom and removes foolishness from their hearts (22:15; 23:13-14). The love that leads to proper disciple is a strong and robust love that demands obedience and punishes disobedience because that is what’s best for the child. The parent should be grieved about the need to administer punishment and can therefore grieve with the child over the consequence of sin.    Chastening must be firm and consistent.  If parents are inconsistent children will begin to regard the discipline as arbitrary and capricious.
  4. Select their friends carefully (1:10-18, 13:20; 1 Corinthians 15:33) –  Your kids moral standards – their language, activities, media consumption – will likely not rise above the lowest common denominator of their friends.  They need to learn how to discern who will lift them up and who will tear them down and draw them away from God
  5. Control their lusts (2:16-19, 5:3-5; 6:23-33, 7:6-27; 2 Timothy 2:22) – This temptation is strong and kids need to be aware of how easy it is to slip down the slope.  This involves ensuring that they know how to protect their eyes and their minds and avoiding willfully exposing themselves to temptation to avoid reproach that can last a lifetime
  6. Enjoy their spouses (5:15-20) – Prepare them to save themselves for marriage and channel their passion to their spouse.  Show them the satisfaction you’ve found in marriage by what you say about your wife/husband
  7. Watch their words (4:24, 10:11, 10:19, 12:18, 12:22, 15:7, 16:23, 20:15) – Explain to them when it is better not to talk, never to use obscene words and the importance of truthfulness.  If a person can train his conscience to live with a lie, his/her conscience will become useless to keep him/her from any sin
  8. Pursue their work (6:6-11, 10:4-5, 22:29) – Children need to learn to work hard when they’re being  watched and when they’re not.  They need to learn discipline and not be lazy.
  9. Manage their money but not to seek riches (3:9-10, 11:24-28, 15:27, 19:17, 23:4) – All we receive is to be used for God’s glory, so our resources must be used to honor God and help others.  Scripture often links moral truth and financial principles, so how money is used is a spiritual issue
  10. Love their neighbors (3:27-29, 25:21-22) – This is the second greatest commandment according to Jesus (Matthew 22:39).  We are to love those lovable and unlovable

On the flip side, if you fail to teach your children to:

  • fear God, the devil will teach them to hate God
  • guard their minds, the devil will teach them to have a corrupt mind
  • obey their parents, the devil will teach them to rebel and break parents’ hearts
  • select friends carefully, the devil will choose their companions for them
  • control their lusts, the devil will teach them to fulfill their lusts
  • enjoy their spouses, the devil will teach them to destroy their marriages
  • watch their words, the devil will fill their mouths with filth
  • pursue their work, the devil will make their laziness a tool of hell
  • manager their money, the devil will teach them to squander it on riotous living
  • love their neighbors, the devil will teach them to love only themselves


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1 Response to What the Wise Parent Teaches Their Children from Proverbs

  1. Pingback: Practical Ways to Teach the Bible to Kids | James' Mirror – Christian Discipleship Guide

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