"Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." Proverbs 22:6 (NKJV)
"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household." Acts 16:31 (NKJV)
Underlying the erroneous thinking that "A Godly Home Guarantees Godly Kids" is a wrong understanding of what the Bible actually teaches. As mentioned, Proverbs 22:6 and Acts 16:31 are seen as iron-clad promises to be claimed and, as long as we do our part, the promise will definitely come into reality.
However, let us look deeper at these verses and see what the verses actually teach us. We'll look at four points, two today and two tomorrow:
1. Proverbs are not promises and Biblical narratives contain observations not hard and fast teachings.
Proverbs are general God-breathed observations on life put into a short, pithy statement. They are generally correct but there can be exceptions to the rule. The righteous aren’t always honored. The wicked sometimes succeed. The diligent can lose it all. The lazy can strike it rich and kids brought up well in the Lord can still be rebellious, even to the end.
Acts 16:31 are not God’s words, but the God-inspired words of Paul and Silas to the Philippian Jailer. They are right in his situation but are not a universal promise to be claimed by parents of all eras.
2. The Hebrew word for "Train" in Proverbs 22:6 is "chanak" (strongs 2596), which is best interpreted as "dedicate".
Our kids are to be dedicated to the Lord from the start. Just like Hannah dedicated Samuel to the service of the Lord, naming him prophetically as one who would lead Israel to hear the Lord once more (his name means "heard of the Lord"). This proverb only refers to one aspect of child-rearing, that is dedicating your kids to what the Lord has in store for them and helping them to succeed in this with proper discipline and spiritual guidance.
So, even though there is no hard and fast promise that our kids will turn out right when we bring them up rightly, this is generally the case. Hence, we need to dedicate our kids to His ways for them and He'll take care of the rest.
Train a kid in the way he should go
Does not mean that he will steal the show.
In fact he may be stolen by another crowd,
So we need humility and not be over proud.
"Father, help me dedicate my kids (physical or spiritual) to Your way, not mine or theirs. Let me have the spirit of Hannah who committed Samuel to your service and allowed him to go in your ways. Amen."