Ephesians 4:13 is the exegesis of Deuteronomy 6:6-7 and Proverbs 22:6. The grand purpose of all Scripture is to point to the revelation of the person of Jesus Christ Himself, John 5:39 “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me,”
Notice the continual reference of the Christian illustrated by Paul as a child that needs assistance by the Scriptures through the ministry of a teacher in order that he may “grow up”…
Ephesians 4:11-16 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, (12) to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, (13) until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, (14) so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. (15) Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, (16) from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
Therefore, if Ephesians 4:11-16 is our base of understanding the previous two portions of Scripture, it will bring to light the intent in two basic principles that point us to our great need for Jesus Christ.
Keeping in mind that from a reformational perspective, we are not born again not by fleshly means or efforts, “who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” John 1:13 – we are called as God’s people to establish, by God’s grace, the culture of the Kingdom of God within our spheres of influence, specifically for this article is the question of raising and educating our children. How are we to do this?
I. Deuteronomy 6:6-7 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. (7) You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.
When considering the book of the law we must remember that, “as it is written: "None is righteous, no, not one; (11) no one understands; no one seeks for God. (12) All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one." (13) "Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive." "The venom of asps is under their lips." (14) "Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness." (15) "Their feet are swift to shed blood; (16) in their paths are ruin and misery, (17) and the way of peace they have not known." (18) "There is no fear of God before their eyes." (19) Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. (20) For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.” Romans 3:10-20.
Our purpose is to use the law lawfully, 1 Timothy 1:8 “Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully,” since no one can come to redemption by a mere adherence to the law. But that the law can and should be used as a taskmaster to drive us to the cross of Jesus Christ, Galatians 3:23-26 “Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. (24) So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. (25) But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, (26) for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith”
So under this context of the right use of the law, Moses in the Torah is calling Israel to rehearse in the hearts and minds of their children the law continuously, persistently, and faithfully. The Hebrew word being to whet, or sharpen (H8150 shanan). Therefore, one can illustrate a workman, daily whetting the mind and heart of his child to prepare him for the correct and appropriate worldview that will in no doubt be necessary to confront the vain philosophies and ideologies and –isms of the world. Again, this having no bearing on the converted heart of the child, but just as a light and banner of truth that will be able to wage war against the contradicting worldviews that stands at odds against God’s Kingdom.
II. Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.
Here in the above verse God is faithfully committing to establish the path of our children when we direct them in the way that God has established. This is further encouragement as illustrated in Deuteronomy 6:6-7 yet, this being directly attached with a promise.
Important again to note that the promise is NOT that the child will be born again, or converted if we are diligent to train them according to the Scriptures. The promise is that he will cause the child to not depart from the culture that reveres the Kingdom, its dominion, and its Lord. Therefore, there is great honor is this training even if it is not attached directly to the conversion of our children.
III. The conclusion and summary of these verses teach us that although God is directly, and solely responsible for conversion, the Law which He has supplied to His people is good for the purposes of preparing the hearts as a taskmaster and drive us to Christ. When parents and educators rely on God’s Word for the establishment of the worldview of their children, God Has covenanted with His people to use those children as lights that would reflect God’s great goodness through the person of Jesus Christ, our Living Word.2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,