“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”
This verse emphasizes the importance of training a child at the beginning of his or her life. It is neither a promise nor a command, but a challenge to parents to set their child out on the right path early in life.
The word train, or more accurately, dedicate, is also used in reference to the dedication of the temple (1 Kings 8:63). This Hebrew word for train occurs four times in Old Testament. In the other three instances, it is translated dedicate and refers to the dedication of a home (Deut 20:5) or the Temple (l Kings 8:63; 2 Chro. 7:5).
In Proverbs 22:6, parents are admonished to train their children in the beginning of their life. Train denotes some sort of initiation in the first instruction or direction given to children. It is an act of consecration or setting the child apart unto the Lord. The emphasis is on the advantage of early training in the ways of the Lord. The phrase “in the way he should go” refers to the way that leads to life—the way of righteousness. The way is literally a path. A key theme in the book of Proverbs, way is used in a figurative sense with ethical or moral implications (Pro. 19:9; 14:8; 14:12; 20:4). The way of righteousness is contrasted with the way of the wicked in this book of wisdom.
The emphasis of the book of Proverbs is wise living. The child’s own desires or will are not the focus of this verse. The child’s personality or bent is not the issue. The goal of Proverbs is to teach wisdom, which is grounded in the fear of the Lord (1:7) The way in which the child is to be dedicated is the way of righteousness. Training in godliness must begin early in life.