Lesson 13

To Make a Disciple

(Proverbs 3, 13, 22, 29)
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Introduction: If you are a parent, especially the parent of a teenager, no doubt you have asked yourself, "What should I do now?" The correct answers to problems are not always obvious. Some say it takes the wisdom of Solomon to raise kids right. Some say the wisdom of Dr. James Dobson. Let's dive into the book of Proverbs and see what God inspired Solomon to write about this important topic!

  1. The Task


    1. Read Proverbs 22:1-6. What does verse 1 tell us should be a major life goal? (A good name.)

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      1. How do verses 2-5 suggest that we achieve that goal? (Being alert and humbly obeying God.)


      2. In your opinion, does verse 6 draw important context from the verses that precede it?


    1. I remember taking the deposition of a hostile and obnoxious witness who was an officer for a nurses union. I innocently asked her what "training" was required for nurses. She responded "nurses are not trained, they are educated!" (I then concluded(not so innocently)"I take it then, you are untrained in your profession?") What do you think "train" means in Proverbs 22:6?


      1. Does it mean (v.3) to teach the child about life's dangers and how to avoid them?


      2. Does it mean (v.4) to teach the child about humbly obeying God?


    2. Our lesson (Sunday) has an interesting paraphrase for verse 6: "Create an environment for life for a child, in keeping with his gifts or bent, and when he is old he will not depart from it." What do you think about that paraphrase?


      1. Is it missing something important? Like the phrase "in the way he should go?" Or, is that idea contained in the phrase, "for life?" Is that idea contained in the phrase "in keeping with his gifts or bent?" (I think the text has been "bent" a great deal to convert "in the way he should go" (an objective standard based on obeying God) to "in keeping with his gifts or bent" (a subjective standard putting the child's apparent will or inclination first).)


    3. Verse 6 also has a phrase I do not want to pass over without discussion. It says, "when he is old." Does that mean we can expect our young people to stray? Or, does it mean you train when the child is young, and when he is old (i.e., out of your hands) he will stay with the program?


    4. We have learned that we have an obligation to train our young children. Let's explore next how we do that.


  1. The Means


    1. Speaking of "bent," let's look next at Proverbs 29:15 and Proverbs 13:24. Spanking students at school is illegal in many (perhaps most) of the United States and dangerous to a teacher's wallet in all. Even parents sometimes find themselves battling arrogant bureaucrats over spanking.


      1. Consider first Proverbs 29:15. The term "rod" here is the same used for a shepherd's rod. What two concepts are compared in this text? (Active correction versus neglecting the child.)


        1. Vine's Dictionary also tells us that the word translated "rod" can refer to a symbol of authority, such as a scepter or it can be "an instrument of warfare and oppression." What do you think God had in mind when you consider His overall dealings with us? Can you see a picture of a shepherd's rod firmly, but gently, used with authority?


        2. Another interesting insight into this word is that it also can mean "tribe." What influence can your "tribe" have on the raising of your children?


    2. Let's read next Proverbs 13:24. Here we have the same Hebrew word for "rod" as in our last text. I thought people refrained from spanking their children because they loved them! This says just the opposite. Can you explain? (If you love your children, and care about how they grow up, you will discipline them!)


      1. The Hebrew word translated "hate" here is "sane'." Is it "insane" to refuse to discipline children? (We don't want to get carried away with "root word" comparisons. I suspect the Hebrew root for "insane" comes from "untrustworthy." However, I think the text is clear you actively harm your children if you refuse to discipline them.)


    3. Read Proverbs 3:11-12. Is discipline a life-long requirement for all of us, not just children?


      1. Is discipline something specially sent down on individuals from God?


        1. Or is it the natural order of things? (Both. This text suggests God's active involvement in our discipline. However, just like gravity, getting in trouble for foolish activity is the order of the world. See Proverbs 16:22)


      2. Have you ever thought that God was disciplining you?


      3. What is God's motive for disciplining us?


      4. If we do not discipline our children, will God discipline them?


      5. Would you rather leave the disciplining to God?


    4. Some of you may still be scrunched down in the back seats, holding your heads in horror at the though of spanking, and saying "his poor children!" Let's look at some clarifying texts. Read Ephesians 6:1-4 and Colossians 3:20-21. How can we discipline our children without "embittering" or "exasperating" them? (The first rule to remember is that the goal is love -- you want to improve their life. If you are angry, if you have not clearly thought out the goal of the discipline, you are missing the most fundamental point. You should never strike a child just to strike him. You should never send a child to his room just to get rid of him. All discipline should have a well-thought out goal. This goal should be arrived at before the heat of the moment or the midst of anger.)


      1. If you have well-considered discipline for your children, will they be happy with it? (Read Proverbs 12:15-16. It is unnatural that someone involved in foolishness will be pleased with correction.)


  2. The Rewards


    1. Read Proverbs 10:1, Proverbs 29:17 and Proverbs 17:21. If your child grows up to obey God, what is your reward? If he grows up to be a fool, what is your reward?


    2. Read Proverbs 19:18 and Proverbs 21:21. What is the reward to the child for proper discipline and training? (A proper upbringing gives your child hope in life. Failure to discipline can bring your child death.)


    3. Friends, if you train your children in the Lord, your life will be better and the lives of your children will be better. If you haven't started that task before, will you do it now?


  3. NEXT WEEK we start a new quarter and a new study on prayer. Our lesson title is: The Model Pray-er and the Model Prayer: Christ.

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