Proverbs 22:1-6 When Proverbs Don’t Come True

A good name is more desirable than great riches;
    to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.
2 Rich and poor have this in common:
    The Lord is the Maker of them all.
3 The prudent see danger and take refuge,
    but the simple keep going and pay the penalty.
4 Humility is the fear of the Lord;
    its wages are riches and honor and life.
5 In the paths of the wicked are snares and pitfalls,
    but those who would preserve their life stay far from them.

6 Start children off on the way they should go,
    and even when they are old they will not turn from it.

When Proverbs Don’t Come True

Raising your child up in the way they should go is often taken as a promise from God that if you do this, they will grow up to become outstanding citizens.  It is sometimes taken by those who want to raise capitalist Christians who will get high paying jobs, attend respectable churches and get a ranch house in the suburbs.  The way a child should go has nothing to do with some of our North American materialistic ideas and everything to do with the kingdom of God.  Remember that the Kingdom of God is what children should be taught is of the utmost importance.  If we instruct children in the ways of The Kingdom of God, it is less likely that they will depart from that way.  Proverbs, though are no gaurantee.  Proverbs are principles that are generally true that we should think about as principles for living.  There are, of course, examples of those who have raised a child in Kingdom principles and the child has rebelled against those principles entirely.  This does not negate the general truth of the proverb, it shows that the proverb is only a general truth.


  1. How do the Proverbs bring us back to the general principle that they are words of instruction for children and parents?
  2. Where do paths of instruction lead?
  3. What, then, is the goal of Jewish education?
  4. What is the goal of western education?
  5. Where would your teaching of your children lead them?

About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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