Proverbs 22:6a: Train Up a Child?

Proverbs 22:6a: Train Up a Child?

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Hildebrandt, Theodore A. “Proverbs 22:6a: Train Up a Child?.” Grace Theological Journal 9 (1998): 3–19.

Careful consideration of lexical and contextual factors suggests that “train up a child in the way he should go” needs to be reexamined.  The verb “to train” really refers to a bestowal of status and responsibility.  The noun translated “child” denotes the status of a late adolescent rather than a child. “In the way he should go” is best understood as “according to what is expected.”  The original intent then of this verse addresses a late adolescent’s entrance into his place in adult society.  This should be done with celebration and encouragement—giving him respect, status and responsibilities commensurate with his position as a young adult.  This reinterpretation necessitates fresh application of the proverb beyond the concerns of childrearing.

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