Maters of Faith: What Are We Teaching Them?

Rev. J. Loren Russell, BA, MDiv

Proverbs 22:6-7 (NKJV)

“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it. The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.”

A proverb is defined in the Oxford Dictionary as “a short, pithy saying in general use, stating a general piece of advice.” It goes on to say that it is “a simple and thoughtful, traditional saying that expresses a perceived truth based on common sense or experience.” The Book of Proverbs is a compilation of sayings, each one standing on its own merit. But it is not a self-help book or guide to success. It is designed to give practical application of rational truths that will impart wisdom. King Solomon, the primary author, wrote these proverbs to his sons to provide guidance on how to order values and build character. Because of the Book of Proverbs, we are able to share in the wisdom passed down from the wisest man who ever lived (1 King 4:29-34).

Solomon says to “train up a child in the way they should go.” This proverb is recognized and known by both those who are readers of the Bible and those who are not. They are even familiar with the second part of the verse that says, “and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” For the most part, society has taken this to heart.

Huge amounts of money are spent on education from preschool all the way through the postgraduate level. Tremendous amounts of money are spent at universities and colleges all over the world. That acquired knowledge should stay with them for the rest of their lives. This is the clearest evidence that society has embraced the directive of training a child in the way they should go. The careers they establish show that they haven’t departed from it.

Unfortunately, people “conveniently” stop there and never read the next part of that verse. Although it is separated by a period, it is a critical part of the verse because it defines what the child needs to learn. Looking closely at the text, we discover that Solomon is teaching his sons an important lesson in financial literacy. “The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.”

Many students come out of institutions of higher learning with enormous debt. This makes them servants to the lender until the debt is paid in full. Those who loan the money become richer while the borrower remains poor.

A practical application of the wisdom of this verse illustrates that the general principles of value and order go beyond Bible study and prayer. This proverb is telling us that it is critical that we teach the practical principles of economics to help our children to negotiate the shrewdness of the world, to stay out of debt, and remain free from being a servant to the lender.

What adjustments do you need to make to train your child, or the children in your life, in the way they should go?

Be Blessed!

Rev. J. Loren Russell is an associate minister at both Goodwill and The Greater Universal Baptist Churches in the Bronx, President/CEO of J. Loren R Consulting, LLC, providing Church Financial & Strategic Consulting, and hosts “Matters of Faith – The Radio Show” on Facebook LIVE, Mondays 8:00 – 10:00 PM. Be sure to Friend “Matters of Faith” on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Email us at Order your copy of Matters of Faith: The Book at

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