Train up youths in his path; then when they age, they will not depart from it.
I have read a couple of interesting comments on this much misappropriated verse.
First, that some interpret “in his path” to the training of a child according to their individual personalities and giftings. To know the person of each child. To me that says that though there is one right way to live, there are indeed many different methods or roads, if you will, to get there. I certainly do not train Gabriela and Zayra the exact same way. That would be detrimental in many ways for them.
Yet, Longman reminds us with:
Some have argued that this simply means that children are to be raised according to their natural tendencies. Yet this clearly would not be supported by the understanding of the rest of the book that it takes work, discipline, and even physical coercion to encourage a person to take the right direction in life.
The book of Proverbs is consistent in teaching that there is one and only one right way. It also acknowledges that there is a wrong path to be avoided. The idea is to train a child in the way of wisdom as explicated in the book of Proverbs. And this is none other that God’s (“his”) path.
Also, the second part is misunderstood as a promise, but Proverbs does not give promises, but rather what is likely to come, all things being equal. Understanding this saves us from unnecessary guilt or pride when our children turn out to take the wrong or right path.
And one other interpretation I found very interesting, it states it in the ironic sense:
That is, “train up children in their way,” the way they want to go, and they will never leave that dastardly way!
I guess be careful letting your kids do whatever the heck they want, because it will be nearly impossible for them to live the rest of their lives unselfishly!
The world’s sin is that it refuses to believe in me. [NLT]
This reiterates the notion that the ultimate sin according to John is the world’s unbelief with regard to Jesus. Jesus came to “take away” the sin of the world, but the offer of salvation in Jesus becomes effectual only when those whom God has given to Jesus out of the world put their trust in Jesus.
Thus there is a level playing field: the world at large and the Jews alike are sinners and must believe in Jesus for salvation. As long as they persist in their unbelief, the Jews are no better than the world; in fact, they are part of it. Paul’s words ring true: “There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of His blood–to be received by faith” (Romans 3:22-25). In this cluster of assertions Johannine and Pauline theology are in perfect harmony.