It is important that we know how to interpret Scripture. One key step in hermeneutics (the interpretation of Scripture) is understanding the type of literature we are reading. Wisdom literature like Proverbs must be read and understood a little differently than epistles like Philippians and a lot differently than apocalyptic literature like Revelation and parts of Daniel. Narrative, poetry, wisdom, history, epistle, prophetic - all have to be interpreted a bit differently.
So what’s the purpose of the Proverbs and how should we interpret them? Scripture interprets Scripture.
1 The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel:
2 For learning wisdom and discipline; for understanding insightful sayings;
3 for receiving prudent instruction in righteousness, justice, and integrity;
4 for teaching shrewdness to the inexperienced, knowledge and discretion to a young man—
5 let a wise person listen and increase learning, and let a discerning person obtain guidance—
6 for understanding a proverb or a parable, the words of the wise, and their riddles.
Proverbs aren’t promises. They are short, pithy statements that are easy to remember and designed for teaching, understanding, prudence, and so forth. So when we read this Proverb to train up our children in the way they should go, it shouldn’t be taken as a promise. Ask any parent who raised a prodigal that never came home the heartache we can set ourselves up for if we interpret this as a promise.
What this proverb teaches is instructive for parents. How do we train up our children and launch them on the best path toward Christ? Church attendance is important. Family devotionals are important. But when we consider the forces that push our kids off track, there are a few other resources that we recommend.
Apologetics is the skill of defending what you believe. Our kids must have that skill. The foundation of that skill is being filled by the Spirit. Once that occurs, we have to raise kids who are spiritually fit and intellectually fit. Spiritual fitness comes from doing spiritual workouts: Bible reading, praying, worshiping, and so forth. Intellectual fitness comes from learning how to think well. We have to learn how to evaluate every idea and determine its validity and soundness.
Here are a few resources that you can use to train yourself up so that you can train up your kids. Click the pictures to learn more.