Sunday, April 5, 2009

Book Review:

Lou Priolo. Teach Them Diligently: How to Use the Scriptures in Child Training (Woodruff, SC: Timeless Texts, 2000).

Abstract: This work assists parents in the role of child training in that it clearly explains the need for the parent to know the Scriptures, understand the Scripture, and apply the Scriptures to every aspect of life—including parenting! He focuses on the reality that child rearing involves the Holy Spirit, the Scriptures, and time. With God’s help and with His sufficient Word, the Christian parent and implement God’s Word in every aspect of parenting and trust God to bring about the result that would bring Him the greatest honor and glory.

Review by: Geoffrey R. Kirkland

associate pastor l CCC

Priolo begins the work by stating: “There are at least three essential ingredients necessary to produce the Christ-like maturity you are to be endeavoring to produce in your children. They are the Spirit, the Scriptures, and time” (2). Noteworthy, the Scriptures can be learned by any child as soon as he is capable of understanding anything! Of course, Priolo argues through the course of the book, the goal of parenting is to make the child like Christ. That is an impossible task humanly speaking, but nonetheless, it is the task which God has sovereignty granted to all parents!

After the introductory chapter, he proves the necessity of teaching the Scriptures to the children. In fact, he spends a bulk of the chapter exhorting the parents to know the Word themselves first! He says: “If you are going to teach your children God’s Word, you must know the Scriptures yourself” (11). To quote him at length:

What then are the means whereby you may impress these Scriptures on your heart? They are regular Bible reading and Bible study, biblical discourse (letting the word of Christ richly dwell within you involves ‘teaching and admonishing one another with psalms [and] hymns [and] spiritual songs,’ etc.), especially with your children (‘and you 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 up’), listening to the teaching and preaching of God’s Word, and, perhaps most importantly, daily meditation on the Scriptures (which we shall study later). Yet beyond all of this, having God’s Word on your hearts means that the Scriptures are governing all areas of your life. When God’s Word is on your heart, it affects your entire life” (13).

An important truth as revealed in Deuteronomy 6 is the reality of teaching the child “in the milieu”—that is, in the situation itself.

The necessity of convicting and correcting with God’s Word is also important as the parent not only seeks to teach the Word of God, but the parent must convict the child of sin and correct that behavior to put off the sin and put on Christ as Lord.

Not only is the book very theological (which it is) and biblical (which it is), but it is loaded with very practical helps. He gives, for instance, some practical examples of training the child with the Scriptures: start the child on a regular program of Scripture memory, train the child to meditate on Scripture, apply appropriate Scripture passages to all areas of life, train the child to obey your instructions the first time, train the child to communicate biblically, and train the child to think biblically about all aspects of life.

He includes a helpful chapter on disciplining children and ascertaining how and when to discipline the child. How young is too young? How old is too old? When should the discipline take place? In public? In private? Hard? Soft? What if the child says, “I’m sorry?” All of these are questions that Priolo answers with biblical support in the chapter entitled The Rod and Reproof.

Perhaps the biggest lesson I learned from the book was Priolo’s emphasis on teaching the child in the moment. If the child is caught in a lie, take the time and get to the root issue in the child’s heart, bring appropriate Scriptures to the fore, and help the child himself think through how he ought to change and what practical ways he can start to implement this change!

I would highly recommend this book to any young married couple who will soon have children. I would also commend this book to all couples who are in the midst of raising children. Not only are there practical helps contained in the book, but Scripture verses are replete in every chapter! It is, indeed, a manual on how to use the Scriptures in child training


Anonymous said...

Good review son!

Here's a link to Lou Priolo's has some useful resources (articles and MP3s).



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