As we study the book of Proverbs, we should remember two things: That life is short, and that our eternal existence is greatly influenced by how we live here on earth. It is imperative, then, that we not waste our time through rash and foolish decisions which not only jeopardize our eternal destiny, but can also make this life miserable.

The value of wisdom is especially seen in family relationships. "He who troubles his own house will inherit the wind; and the foolish shall be servant to the wise of heart." (Prov. 11:29). Life is too short and families grow too fast for us to raise a family through "trial and error."

I. Wisdom in providing for a family

A. Many people would say that providing the "necessities" of life food, clothing, shelter are most important in providing for a family. Others would say that luxuries, particularly things that parents never had when they were children, are also needed. Many people also want to provide a good education for their children. While all of these things have merit, inspired wisdom from the book of Proverbs teaches us not to place emphasis upon material things.

B. What the family needs

1. A fear of the Lord (Prov. 15:16). Even more than riches, your family needs you to set an example through your deep and abiding respect for the Lord. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge (Prov. 1:7). It prolongs life (10:27). It is the key to avoiding sin (16:6) and is the key to true wealth (22:4). The fear of the Lord, then, is perhaps the most important "provision" that one can give to his or her family.

2. Love (Prov. 15:17). Providing an environment where love reigns is more important than providing material abundance.

Troubled children come from homes where love, not money, is lacking!

3. A peaceful family life (Prov. 17:1). Where there is peace and tranquility in a family, material affluence matters little, but what value is there in wealth if family members are always fighting over the things money provides?

4. Spiritual provisions. Wise parents will see that spiritual provisions are more important than material things. They will see that their family receives what is truly important, even if it means cutting back on less important things.

C. How should parents provide for their families?

1. Be righteous (Prov. 20:7). This means that parents will put the kingdom of God first in their lives (Matt. 6:33). God watches out for His faithful children and sees that their needs are adequately met! Children of righteous parents are truly blessed, but parents who fail to put God first go through life without God's providential help, and their children may suffer as a result.

2. Concentrate on acquiring wisdom and knowledge instead of wealth (Prov. 24:3, 4). This would involve a careful study and application of God's Word, especially a book like Proverbs, but it also involves living a dedicated life as a disciple (learner) of Jesus Christ, in whom are hidden the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Col. 2:2, 3).

II. Wisdom in raising children

A. Inspired wisdom is explicit in the proper use of discipline. Used properly, discipline is a demonstration of true love (Prov. 13:24). Proper discipline serves to remove foolishness from the child (22:15) and imparts wisdom and avoids shame (29:15). Proper discipline has its rewards (29:17).

B. More wisdom from family verse

1. Proverbs 22:6 is commonly translated, "Train up a child in the way he should go." This means that a child's development depends on his or her training, especially in spiritual matters.

2. Literally, the verse can be translated, "Train up a child according to his way." That is, train up a child according to his or her inclinations. For example, don't try to force a child who is mechanically inclined to be a doctor or a lawyer. However, I might add that trying to force children to go against their aptitude may encourage them to rebel in all areas of parental influence, including spiritual.


Since so much of our happiness (or lack of it) is affected by our family life, we should take advantage of the wisdom offered in the book of Proverbs. Jesus said, "If you love me, you will obey what I command" (John 14:15). Make Jesus the center of all your relationships


General Conference Ministerial Association