Proverbs 22:6 (ESV)

6 Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

When Solomon speaks of the way that a child should go, we can understand two things. First, we can see it as the way that a child should live right now, at his specific age. God’s plans for the life of a child is different than his plans for the life of a grown-up. We should respect this and not expect more maturity from a child than what is fair.

Second, we can see it as the way that the child should live when he is grown up. This includes all the good words and works to which God will call him.

Children should be trained in the way they should go. We train our children by educating them, guiding them, warning them, and disciplining them when necessary. Children are the most responsive to this training when they are still very young (see our discussion under Proverbs 13:24). A wise education starts as early as birth.

Children should receive basic “training” in the Word of God as early as possible. They should know their sin and the grace of God in Jesus Christ. Timothy knew Scripture from a young age (2 Timothy 3:15). Children should also be trained to repent of their sin. This takes a lot of patience; the sinful human heart does not change at once.