Devotional: Proverbs 22:6

Introduction to Devotional: Proverbs 22:6

The Bible, a revered text in Christianity, contains a wealth of wisdom spanning numerous books, each offering unique lessons and insights. These teachings are pivotal in guiding believers on their spiritual path and daily lives. In this analysis, we turn our attention to a prominent verse from the Old Testament: Proverbs 22:6 from the New International Version (NIV). The verse reads:

Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.

Devotional: Proverbs 22:6


The Book of Proverbs, traditionally attributed to King Solomon, is a collection of sayings and teachings that aim to impart wisdom and understanding. Written during Solomon’s reign in the 10th century BC, these proverbs offer practical advice for daily living, emphasizing moral and spiritual instruction. Proverbs 22:6 is nestled within these collections as a guiding principle for upbringing and education.

The Book of Proverbs stands as a bridge between divine commandments and practical life, offering insights that are as much about spiritual adherence as they are about common sense. It emphasizes the importance of imparting wisdom from a young age to shape character and decision-making in adulthood.

Verse Analysis

This verse begins with the directive to “Start children off on the way they should go,” suggesting the responsibility of adults, particularly parents or guardians, in guiding the young. The phrase “the way they should go” implies a path of righteousness and moral integrity, rooted in the wisdom of the scriptures.

The latter part, “and even when they are old they will not turn from it,” offers a promise or a hopeful outcome. This suggests that early instruction in wisdom and morality has a lasting impact, enduring throughout a person’s life. The verse emphasizes the formative nature of early education and its long-lasting effects.

Theologically, this verse reflects the Jewish and Christian belief in the foundational role of upbringing in spiritual and moral development. It aligns with the broader scriptural themes of wisdom, guidance, and moral instruction.


Different Christian denominations and Jewish traditions might have nuanced interpretations of this proverb. Generally, it is seen as an affirmation of the importance of early moral and spiritual education. Some may interpret “the way they should go” as specific to religious instruction, while others may see it as more broadly encompassing moral and ethical upbringing.

This verse harmonizes with other biblical teachings that stress the significance of wisdom and instruction (such as Deuteronomy 6:7 and Ephesians 6:4), reinforcing the value placed on nurturing young minds in a way that is pleasing to God.

Application in Daily Life

For believers, this verse serves as a reminder of the crucial role they play in shaping the lives of the young. This can manifest in prioritizing spiritual education, moral guidance, and leading by example.

Practically, it inspires adults to invest in the upbringing of children, not just within their families but also in the wider community. It encourages the creation of environments where children can learn and grow in wisdom and moral strength.

For personal spiritual reflection, this verse is a prompt to consider the impact of one’s early education and to appreciate those who provided guidance, and to pass on this legacy of wisdom to the next generation.


Proverbs 22:6 encapsulates a fundamental principle within the Judeo-Christian tradition – the profound impact of early education and moral guidance on an individual’s life. It underscores the responsibility of adults in shaping the moral and spiritual framework of the young and promises lasting effects of such guidance. This verse not only enlightens us about the importance of early life instruction but also encourages us to perpetuate a legacy of wisdom and righteousness, thereby enriching both individual lives and the broader community.

5 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Devotional: Proverbs 22:6

What Does Proverbs 22:6 Actually Mean?

Proverbs 22:6 advises that if children are educated and guided in the right way from an early age, they will retain and follow these teachings throughout their life. The verse underscores the importance of instilling moral and ethical values in children early on.

Does This Verse Guarantee That a Child Will Never Stray From Their Upbringing?

While this verse highlights the lasting impact of early education, it doesn’t guarantee that a child will never stray. It emphasizes the likelihood of good early teaching having a long-term effect, but individual choice and free will play a role in a person’s life decisions.

How Should This Verse Guide Parents and Educators?

This verse serves as a reminder for parents and educators to focus on imparting moral and spiritual teachings to children from a young age. It encourages them to consider the long-term impact of their guidance and to approach this responsibility with seriousness and thoughtfulness.

What Does “The Way They Should Go” Refer to in This Verse?

“The way they should go” is generally interpreted as a path of moral integrity and righteousness, grounded in spiritual and ethical principles. It can vary in specific application, depending on cultural, religious, and individual family values.

What Role Does Free Will Play in the Context of This Proverb?

While the proverb emphasizes the influence of early upbringing, it acknowledges the role of individual free will. As children grow, they make their own choices, and these choices might sometimes diverge from their early teachings, reflecting the dynamic between upbringing and personal agency.

How Does Proverbs 22:6 Fit Into the Overall Theme of the Book of Proverbs?

Proverbs 22:6 is consistent with the overarching theme of the Book of Proverbs, which is the imparting of wisdom and moral instruction. The book emphasizes the value of acquiring and practicing wisdom from a young age. This particular verse highlights the role of guidance and education in shaping a person’s future character and decisions, aligning with the book’s focus on wisdom as a foundational aspect of a well-lived life.

Does This Verse Suggest a Method of Teaching or Discipline for Children?

While Proverbs 22:6 doesn’t specify a particular method of teaching or discipline, it underscores the importance of direction and instruction in a child’s early life. The verse implies that the approach should be one that instills strong moral and ethical principles. The specific methods might vary depending on cultural, familial, and individual contexts, but the goal remains consistent: to guide children towards a path of righteousness and integrity.

How Do the Themes Expressed in 1 Proverbs 22:6 Relate to or Find Echoes in Other Verses and Passages in the Bible?

Proverbs 22:6 is a widely cited verse that speaks to the importance of early education and moral upbringing in shaping a person’s future. It underscores the enduring impact of formative guidance and the role of caregivers in instilling lasting values. Let’s delve into this theme:

Deuteronomy 6:6-7 – “These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”
Relation: This passage reflects the principle in Proverbs 22:6 by emphasizing the importance of teaching children God’s commandments continuously, ensuring they are deeply ingrained.

Ephesians 6:4 – “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”
Relation: This verse in Ephesians complements Proverbs 22:6 by advising parents on the nature of their instruction – to nurture their children in the ways of the Lord.

2 Timothy 3:15 – “And how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.”
Relation: Timothy’s early education in the Scriptures, as mentioned here, aligns with the advice in Proverbs 22:6, illustrating the positive outcome of early spiritual training.

Psalm 127:3-4 – “Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth.”
Relation: This Psalm reflects the value and potential of children, akin to the perspective in Proverbs 22:6, where proper guidance is seen as crucial for realizing this potential.

Proverbs 6:20-22 – “My son, keep your father’s command and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. Bind them always on your heart; fasten them around your neck. When you walk, they will guide you; when you sleep, they will watch over you; when you awake, they will speak to you.”
Relation: This passage in Proverbs reiterates the lasting impact of parental teaching, paralleling the long-term influence of early education as mentioned in Proverbs 22:6.

Proverbs 22:6 emphasizes the lasting impact of formative education and moral upbringing. This principle is echoed throughout the Bible, underscoring the responsibility of parents and caregivers to instill enduring values and guidance in children. These teachings, deeply rooted in youth, are seen as foundational for a life aligned with wisdom and righteousness.

A Prayer Inspired by Proverbs 22:6

As we turn our hearts and minds towards the wisdom of Proverbs 22:6, let us reflect on the profound responsibility and privilege it is to guide and nurture the young. This verse reminds us of the lasting impact that early teaching and moral guidance can have on a child’s life. In prayer, we seek divine assistance and wisdom in this vital task, asking for guidance to lead the young in the way they should go. Let us now come together in prayer, seeking strength and wisdom from above.

Our Prayer Inspired by Devotional: Proverbs 22:6

Heavenly Father,

We come before You with humble hearts, acknowledging Your infinite wisdom and grace. As we reflect on the teachings of Proverbs 22:6, we are reminded of the significant role we play in shaping the lives of our children and the young around us.

Lord, we ask for Your guidance in this sacred responsibility. Grant us the wisdom to teach and lead in a way that reflects Your love and righteousness. Help us to be examples of Your compassion, integrity, and truth, so that the young may see Your light in us and be inspired to walk in Your ways.

We pray for patience, understanding, and a loving spirit as we guide the young minds entrusted to our care. May we be attentive to their needs, wise in our counsel, and steadfast in our love for them. Help us to provide not just knowledge, but also the wisdom to apply it in ways that honor You.

Dear God, we also pray for the children and young people in our lives. May Your hand be upon them, guiding their steps and protecting their paths. Help them to absorb the teachings and values that will lead them to a life of righteousness and fulfillment. May they grow strong in character, rich in spirit, and abundant in compassion.

We understand that true wisdom comes from You, and so we humbly ask for Your continuous guidance in this journey of teaching and learning. May our efforts bear fruit in the lives of the young, and may they always find their way back to Your teachings, even as they grow older.

In Your Holy Name, we pray,


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