Email: My 31 year old son was raised in a stable Christian two-parent family. He is now a drug addict criminal. How do I reconcile the Biblical "Train up a child . . . " statement?
Response: Generally speaking the biblical statement about training up a child in the ways of the Lord and he will not depart (Prov. 22:6) is a general rule. It cannot be said that it is a formula that if you do X, Y, and Z that it guarantees the child will be saved.
This illustrates the nature of a “proverb.” A proverb is a literary device whereby a general truth is brought to bear on a specific situation. Many of the proverbs are not absolute guarantees for they express truths that are necessarily conditioned by prevailing circumstances.1
But, we should never give up praying for those who have wandered from what they were brought up with. His life has not yet over, and he is not yet old.
Proverbs 22:6 says, "Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it."
- 1. Walvoord, John F., and Roy B. Zuck, The Bible Knowledge Commentary, (Wheaton, Illinois: Scripture Press Publications, Inc.), 1983, 1985.