In Through the Back Door

 “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
Prov. 22:6

The Bible clearly gives the responsibility of rearing children to the child’s parents. If the parents are Christians then their duty also includes raising their offspring to love, honor, and obey the Lord.  Proverbs 22:6 says that if the child is reared to obey the Lord he will not depart from what he has learned.
“And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture[help grow, training, disciplinary correction] and admonition[cautionary advice about something imminent] of the Lord.” Eph. 6:4

Through the years I have seen many parents raise their children as scripturally as is possible.  They have had daily devotions with them.  They prayed with the children, got them to a good Bible believing church every time the doors were open, enrolled them in a Christian school, participated in the child’s sports and activities, maybe even led them to the Lord, and most importantly, the parents had good, consistent testimonies.  Yet many of these children went wrong.  The children left all they had been taught and engulfed themselves in the ways of the world. Many years later they are still living in sin and far away from God’s plan for them and how they were trained.

The parents trained their children “in the way he should go” (Prov. 22:6), but when the child was on his own he went far away from God.  So many are trusting in Prov. 22:6 in raising their child. Can it possibly be wrong?

After seeing some children of godly parents ruin their lives, I have given some study to this question.  The Bible is NEVER wrong, so there must be something that is being missed. Here are some of what needs to be considered, when a “raised right” child goes in the opposite way God desires of him, and how he was reared:

  1. Proverbs 22:6 points out that when the child “is old, he will not depart from it.” That does not just mean when he is older, that means when he is “old”.  Some may run from God their whole life until they finally realize what they have done and repent of their disobedience. Some stray for a shorter time as the parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-24) illustrates. Many return to the faith and do obey and even serve the Lord.

    There is no guarantee, as the following points will show, but while the children are alive there can still be hope that the seeds of righteousness and godly living may one day flourish in the “old child”.
    “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” Isa. 55:11

  2. As Moody’s Bible Commentary points out, the Proverbs are a “general rule of thumb, not an unmitigated promise. This is a proverb, and proverbs describe the common experiences of God’s people over long periods of time.” There are always exceptions to what should happen in a life.  Many, many children who have been raised to love and live for the Lord have stayed close to Him, but there are those that have deserted God’s way of living and obedience. Sadly, some never turn back to the faith they were shown.

  3. When a child is very young, their behavior often reflects the parental training or lack of it that they have received. However, when they are older, they do have a mind of their own.  They can choose, especially when not under auspices of their parents, to live the way they want and flee obedience to the Lord.

    Although their dodge of righteous living may have involved others, one usually cannot blame “the wrong crowd”; as it was the child’s choice to follow them and not the Lord. If he was really grounded and steadfast, he would not have fallen for the temptation.
    “Who leave the paths of uprightness, to walk in the ways of darkness;” Prov. 2:13

  4. Another reason I believe is responsible for the drifting away of children raised correctly by godly parents, is the ploy of Satan. The enemy of God may have tried to foil the father’s walk for Christ, but the leader of the family withstood the temptations.

    The second avenue of Satan’s attack on the family is often the mother.  If her righteousness stands against his temptations, he then moves onto other members of the family — our children.  He attacks the “backdoor” of the family. Sadly, he is too often successful.

    If he gets to pull our children away from serving God, it may hurt the parents.  They may even quit the ministry they were involved in. Their testimony may also be hampered or weakened so their effectiveness for serving the Lord will not be the same. Through the “backdoor,” Satan can achieve the damage he desires.

    Outside-of-the-family observers may falsely assume that the parents were not raising the child right.  Too many backseat “parents” judge another’s testimony by how the children turn out and make their opinion known to the hurting parents.  However, they have no clue to what really happened. It could even be that their judging further hurts the parents of a wayward child, which could be another victory for Satan.



Rearing a child has always been very difficult.  There is no instruction book teaching a parent exactly what to do in every decision he faces.  The parent who knows most about the child, his temperament and past experiences may choose to deal with the child in a certain way.  He may be right.  He may be wrong.  However, a godly parent is usually doing what he feels is best.

Unfortunately, it may not always be the parent’s fault when the child strays. We all have a free will to obey or disobey the Lord.  That mindset cannot usually be changed by discipline.  It always has everything to do with the young person’s heart.  Because it is usually the child’s choice to go the way he chooses to go, it is not beneficial for the parent to blame himself for what the child has chosen to do. All a parent can do is show the right way.  It is the child’s choice to walk it or not.

Just because some children drift away from serving God is no reason for the parent or other parents not to do their best to raise their children biblically correct.  Do not compromise and back off in raising your children the way that is wise and biblical. Living for the Lord and being obedient is the best way for any to follow. They most likely will not know it if they are not shown it at a young age. Billions of young people have walked the righteous way, because of how they were trained.  Train your child in the way they should go!

  The Fundamental Top 500