Teaching Your Children Wisdom from the Word
The book of Proverbs could be considered a parenting manual. There are many passages in the Bible which speak about marriage, family, and parenting, but Proverbs focuses on imparting wisdom to children. What is wisdom? Wisdom is skillful living. More specifically, wisdom is the application of God’s Word to life through Christ (Col. 2:1-3). As we live and obey God’s Word, we experience peace with God, with ourselves, with others, and His blessings. As we make wise choices and seek to glorify God in all we do, we are rewarded for following His ways (Ps. 1; Josh. 1; Luke 11:28). And as we apply God’s Word to our lives, we come to know Him better and impact people for the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The following is a list of nine topics that you can teach your children from the book of Proverbs just as Solomon taught his children. I recommend that you go over one topic a day or a week with your child, looking up the Scripture references together and memorizing one or two verses from each topic.
1. TEACH YOUR CHILDREN TO FEAR THE LORD
Fearing God means that we honor, revere, worship, obey, serve, and respect Him. Fearing God also means that we do not want to displease Him. We fear the consequences of sin and doing that which God says is evil, wrong, hurtful, or dishonoring to Him and to others. John MacArthur writes that in order to teach children the fear of the Lord, we must teach them God’s attributes (holy, faithful, good, all-knowing, all-present, all-powerful, loving, sovereign, unchanging, merciful, compassionate, just, righteous, etc). Only when they know who God truly is, can they revere Him (What the Bible Says about Parenting, 78).
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. (Prov. 9:10)
See also Prov. 1:7, 14:26-27, 15:3, 15:16, 16:6, 19:23; Matt. 10:28.
2. TEACH YOUR CHILDREN TO GUARD THEIR HEARTS AND MINDS
With so much deception and evil at our children’s fingertips, be it through the internet or a TV remote control, we must protect them and help them guard their hearts. For younger children, monitor what they are watching and listening to. Use an internet filter. It takes diligence to have a pure heart, but the rewards are great (see Matt. 5:3-16). May our children’s hearts be filled with His Word and His Spirit so that they manifest Christ’s character and honor their Father in Heaven.
Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life. (Prov. 4:23)
See also Prov. 3:3, 22:11, 23:19, 28:26; Psalm 101:3-4, 51:10; Phil. 4:8-9; Jer. 17:9-10; Mark 7:20-22.
3. TEACH YOUR CHILDREN TO OBEY THEIR PARENTS
(AND PARENTS MUST FOLLOW THROUGH WITH CONSISTENT AND FAIR DISCIPLINE)
Hear, my son, your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. (Prov. 1:8, cf. 23:22-26)
When your children disobey, they need to be disciplined not only because they are disobeying you, but because they are disobeying God’s command to honor their parents (Ex. 20:12) and therefore they’re ultimately disobeying God (see Prov. 3:11-12).
See also Prov. 4:1-2, 13:24, 19:18, 22:15, 23:13-14, 23:22-25, 29:15, 30:17; Eph. 6:1-3.
4. TEACH YOUR CHILDREN TO CHOOSE THEIR FRIENDS WISELY
Your children may never rise above their friends. Studies show that peers will influence your children as much if not more than you do, depending on how involved you are as a parent. Teach them to select their friends with the utmost care.
He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm. (Prov. 13:20)
See also 1 Cor. 15:33, 5:6; Prov. 1:10-19, 2:10-15, 4:14, 8:13, 12:26, 16:28-29, 18:24, 22:24-25.
5. TEACH YOUR CHILDREN TO WATCH THEIR WORDS
He who guards his mouth and his tongue, guards his soul from troubles. (Prov. 21:23)
See also Prov. 4:24, 10:11, 10:19-21, 10:31-32, 11:13, 12:18, 12:22, 15:7, 16:24,17:20, 17:27-28, 18:21, 20:15, 25:18; Ps. 141:3.
6. TEACH YOUR CHILDREN TO WORK HARD AND TO BE DILIGENT
Poor is he who works with a negligent hand, but the hand of the diligent makes rich. He who gathers in summer is a son who acts wisely, but he who sleeps in harvest is a son who acts shamefully. (Prov. 10:4-5)
See also Prov. 6:6-11, 10:26, 12:24, 12:27, 13:4, 14:23, 18:9, 19:15, 19:24, 21:25, 22:13, 22:29, 24:30-34, 26:16, 28:19; Col. 3:22-25.
7. TEACH YOUR CHILDREN TO MANAGE THEIR MONEY AS STEWARDS OF GOD
All of your money and spending should honor the Lord since He is our provider and owns all things (Ps. 23-24). Be a careful steward or manager (Luke chapters 12, 16) of what God gives you, since our time on earth is short and we will give an account to Christ regarding how we used the time, treasures, and talents He entrusted to us. Give generously to the church and use the rest wisely in a way that glorifies God. (See www.crown.org for excellent resources you can use to teach your children about finances or Randy Alcorn’s Managing God’s Money.)
Honor the Lord from your wealth and from the first of all your produce; so your barns will be filled with plenty and your vats will overflow with new wine. (Prov. 3:9-10)
One who is gracious to a poor man lends to the Lord, and He will repay him for his good deed. (Prov. 19:17)
See also Prov. 11:4, 11:24-28, 15:27, 16:16, 28:20, 22:7, 22:16, 23:4-5; Deut. 8; Matt. 6:19-21, 6:33, 16:24-27; 1 Tim. 6:6-19.
8. TEACH YOUR CHILDREN TO CONTROL THEIR DESIRES
These last two topics should be taught at the appropriate age. It would likely be best to discuss these issues when your children are teenagers or even before they reach the teenage years, especially in light of today’s sexually charged culture. Our children must learn the blessings of abstinence until marriage and God’s design for sexuality.
Do not desire her beauty in your heart, nor let her capture you with her eyelids. For on account of a harlot one is reduced to a loaf of bread, and an adulteress hunts for the precious life. Can a man take fire in his bosom and his clothes not be burned? (Prov. 6:25-27, cf. 5:1-14)
See also Prov. 2, 5-7; Psalm 119:9-11; Matt. 5:27-28; 1 Cor. 6:12-20; Gal. 5:16; 2 Tim. 2:22; 1 Thess. 4:1-8; Rom. 13:14; 1 Pet. 1:14-16; 1 Tim. 4:12; Job 31:1.
See True Love Waits (www.lifeway.com/n/product-family/true-love-waits/) for resources to teach your children about sexual purity, abstinence, and Biblical marriage. I also recommend Passport2Purity from www.familylife.com and Randy Alcorn’s The Purity Principle.
9. TEACH YOUR CHILDREN TO ENJOY THEIR SPOUSES
While some may think that abstinence and purity reveals a God who is out to stifle our joy, just the opposite is true. Sex after marriage is celebrated by God in the Bible.
Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth. (Prov. 5:18)
See also Prov. 5:15-23; 1 Pet. 3:7; Eph. 5:22-33; Eccl. 9:9; 1 Cor. 7:3-5; Heb. 13:4 and the Song of Solomon.
A chapter from What the Bible Says about Parenting by John MacArthur was part of the inspiration for this article. This is a “must-read” book on parenting. I also recommend Barbara Decker’s Proverbs for Parenting. It is an excellent topical arrangement of the Proverbs which you can use to continue discipling your children in God’s wisdom for everyday life. A two-part sermon series that expands upon these topics can be found at www.ccctucson.org (entitled Sowing Seeds of Wisdom under the MEDIA section) along with a study guide for parents with many of these verses written out.
Pastor Steve Ingino is a husband, father, and the Lead Teaching Pastor of Christ Community Church in Tucson, Arizona. He has a passion for the family and reaching the next generation for Christ. His book,
Parenting: 7 Essentials for Children, is available at www.lulu.com.