Samuel’s training started as soon as he was weaned—in fact even before that (1 Samuel 2:18). Josiah was taught to seek the Lord as a boy (2 Chronicles 34:3). The psalmist learned to trust God from his youth, because he was taught of God from his youth (Psalm 71:5, 17). John the Baptist followed holiness “from his mother’s womb” (Luke 1:15). Jesus was about His Father’s business early in life (Luke 2:40, 49).
Let each parent say to his or her offspring, “Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the Lord” (Psalm 34:11). Parents should put their children in the Bible school nursery class as soon as they can be taken from home. This is much better than waiting until they are ready for the preschool Bible class. Consider Isaiah’s words: “Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts” (Isaiah 28:9). A moth-er once asked a child psychologist when she was to start training her child. He asked how old the child was. Being told he was five years old, he said, “Hurry home. You have already lost the best five years of your child’s life.”
By exposing children to the Bible in their early years, they have the best opportunity to know the mind of God (1 Corinthians 2:10-16). “Give . . . to the young man knowledge and discretion” (Proverbs 1:4).
Start early (2 Timothy 3:15; cf. 1:5) Why start early? (1) Because the days of opportunity are few. From birth to the eight-eenth birthday is only 6,570 days. These will pass much more quickly than we think.
Add to this that teaching opportunities are greatly limited during the first two years (due to capacity), and the last four (due to natural re-sistance), so the days are reduced to 4380. Remove sick days, busy days, days spent away from parents, and school days when interaction is very limited, and truly we see that we must be “redeeming the time, for the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:16)
(2) Because the heart may later close to spiritual instruction. Solomon said that the Creator should be remembered in youth because “evil days” will come when the child may say, “I have no pleasure in them” (Ecclesiastes 12:1). A pediatrician once observed that rearing children is like baking a cake—you don’t realize you’ve got a disaster until it’s too late! It is refreshing today to see so many parents “working hard in the kitchen” to see that their little ones turn out sweet and delightful.
(3) Because the Word has the power to make a difference. “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word” (Psalm 119:9; cf. Romans 1:16). The Word hidden in their hearts will keep them from sinning against God (Psalm 119:11).