Proverbs, Chapter 22 and verse 6 tells us to “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” The welfare, health, and socialization of children was entrusted by God to the parents. They were responsible for the child’s development in all areas of life. The scriptures truly make it clear that we’re responsible for diligent efforts to develop our children spiritually, emotionally, and physically. As far as the spiritual development of our children is concerned, it’s the primary focus of biblical instruction. One commentator observed that, “The root meaning for the term “train up” is ‘palate or roof of the mouth.’ The Arab midwife would take olive oil or crushed dates on her finger and rub the palate of a newborn baby to create in the infant a desire to suck. A real meaning of ‘training’ is to create a taste or desire. Our task is to develop in our children a hunger or desire for spiritual things, to cultivate an urge to follow God.”

This most serious responsibility is sometimes dreadfully neglected. I’ve heard parents say that they want to let their children grow up and choose for themselves whether to believe in God or not! God instructed the children of Israel of the importance of teaching their children about Him and His laws. As they were preparing to enter into the Promised Land, God said, “… these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates” (Deuteronomy 6:7-9).

Another commentator rightly observed, “The Scriptures reveal that from the earliest days of God’s people the family has had more than simply physiological (procreative) and sociological (integrative) purposes. A key element in the biblical purpose of family is educational (communicative), an element through which the child is brought to grips with the reality of God and His Son Jesus Christ, and the ministry of the Holy Spirit. The child learns about God primarily in the context of family, and how he may know God through faith. In addition, the child learns how he should behave in society as a representative of God and God’s people. Parents enjoy the greatest privilege and, at the same time, bear the greatest responsibility for the spiritual education and development of their children.”