Promises and Proverbs

Take the few minutes to listen to this audio from John Piper. He’s addressing something that I think a lot of people are confused about.

The issue is: what constitutes a “promise” in the Bible, and what constitutes a “proverb”?

The issue in question is that of Proverbs 22:6, which says: “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”

Many people consider this a “PROMISE” from God – that if you raise you kids up right, they will be good people who do right things. In particular, many Christians come to this verse in the hope that if they raise up their children to walk with God, then their children are guaranteed to grow up to share their faith – and if that doesn’t happen, then it is “user error”, i.e. the parents didn’t do a good enough job raising their kids up in the right way.

The problem is, there are plenty of kids who come from great, loving, Christian families, who don’t follow their parents’ faith nor their moral/ethical values.  What are we to make of this?

John Piper answers the question well – concerning the nature of proverbs versus the nature of promises, and how we should understand this verse.