Does the Bible teach that godly parents who raise their children as they ought have a Divine promise that their children will be saved and live for Him, or is such only a possibility? If they do what is right, can they be certain that God will save their children and lead them to follow Him, or must they fear that, despite doing everything that they ought to do, their children could end up tormented in fire and brimstone for all eternity, so that it would have been better for them to have never been born (Mark 14:21)? A number of texts of Scripture relate to the question.
The locus classicus for the doctrine that parents have a Divine promise that their children will be saved and live for God if they are raised properly is Proverbs 22:6:
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
The natural and obvious reading of this passage is that the verse is a promise—if one obeys the command to train up a child in the way he should go, in the way of spiritual and ethical righteousness, then when the child is old, he will not depart from it. The meaning of the verse is accurately rendered in the Authorized Version. Proverbs 22:6 is exemplified, with very significant linguistic parallels, in other books of the Bible:
“And he walked in all the ways of Asa his father; he turned not aside from it, doing that which was right in the eyes of the LORD.” (1 Kings 22:43a)
“And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, and walked in all the way of David his father, and turned not aside to the right hand or to the left.” (2 Kings 22:2)
“And he walked in the way of Asa his father, and departed not from it, doing that which was right in the sight of the LORD.” (2 Chronicles 20:32)
“And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, and walked in the ways of David his father, and declined neither to the right hand, nor to the left.” (2 Chronicles 34:2)
Proverbs 22:6 therefore states that a child trained up in holiness will not depart from that righteous way. But is the verse a promise, or only a principle that can—and will—fail at different times? The verse is unquestionably a promise, a certainty guaranteed by the omnipotent and faithful God. Every time “will not depart,” the future tense of the verb in question, appears in the Old Testament, and God is making the statement, certainty, not mere possibility, is in view. Thus, Proverbs 22:6 means exactly what it appears to mean to one who simply takes the verse at face value—a child who is trained up in the way he should go will not depart from that right way.
 :hÎ…n`R;mIm r…wñsÎy_aáøl Ny#Iq◊zÅyŒ_y`I;k M¶A…g wóø;k√råd y∞IÚp_lAo rAoÅ…nAlœ JKâOnSj
The Targum reads: :hynym yfsn absn dk ald hyjrwa lybql aylfl jkwa
 “Train up” (JKâOnSj) is an imperative: “Train [thou] up,” not a future indicative, “If thou shalt train up.”
 Nothing in Proverbs 22:6 breathes the slightest hint that a child that is trained up properly may reject Christ and go into the world, but when he reaches old age he will repent and turn to the Lord and the way of righteousness. The verb rendered “when he is old” in the verse, a Hiphil of Nqz, means “to grow older” (The Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament (HALOT), Ludwig Koehler and Walter Baumgartner, trans. & ed. M.E.J. Richardson). As the child grows older year after year and decade after decade, he will continue in the way of righteousness, not reject it and then repent decades later when he has dishonored God, destroyed his life, filled his parents with shame and grief, and become an old man. Compare the continuity of development in the only other Hiphil of Nqz in the Old Testament, Job 14:8.
 y∞IÚp_lAo means “according to” (cf. Exodus 17:1, h¡DOwh◊y y∞IÚp_lAo, “according to the commandment of the LORD”). The Hebrew wóø;k√råd y∞IÚp_lAo, rendered in KJV margin as “in his way,” means “in the way he should go.” The idea of the text is a moral command—the way of righteousness—not some sort of other training, such as training a child in job skills. This is evident because the verb Knj, “with Vl to train up Pr 22:6,” (HALOT), means, in all the other texts where it is found, “to dedicate” (ibid.) or consecrate to Jehovah (Deuteronomy 20:5; 1 Kings 8:63; 2 Chronicles 7:5). The verb is related to the noun h;Dk¨nSj, which is always used of a believer’s dedication or consecration of an object to his God (Numbers 7:10–11, 84, 88; Psalm 30:1; Daniel 3:2–3 (here of an idolator dedicating something to the false god in which he believes); Ezra 6:16–17; Nehemiah 12:27; 2 Chronicles 7:9; cf. JKwønSj, “Enoch,” the holy man whose name means “dedicated [to God],” Genesis 5:24. Thus, Proverbs 22:6 speaks of a training up that is a consecration to God, not to an ability to lean how to farm or to engage in building construction. That training in “his way” (wóø;k√råd) is in “the way that he should go” in the sense of the way of holiness, rather than in some morally neutral way or way of professional skills, is likewise evident from a consideration of the entire verse. Every time the verb “depart” (rws) in Proverbs 22:6b is found in the book of Proverbs, it is related to spiritual or ethical departing, never to a morally neutral departing (Proverbs 3:7; 4:24, 27; 5:7; 9:4, 16; 11:22; 13:14, 19; 14:16, 27; 15:24; 16:6, 17; 22:6; 27:22; 28:9). The righteous “depart from evil” (3:7; 13:19; 14:16; 16:6, 17) and “from the snares of death” (13:14; 14:27) and “from hell” (Proverbs 15:24) and “depart not” from righteousness (5:7). Furthermore, every time the verb “depart” controls a clause with the word “way” (JK®r®;d) in Scripture the departure relates to spiritual and ethical matters (Exodus 32:8; Deuteronomy 9:12, 16; 11:28; 31:29; Judges 2:17; Psalm 119:29; Isaiah 30:11; Lamentations 3:11; Malachi 2:8; cf. Job 21:14; 34:27; Proverbs 16:17). Thus, the “way” from which the child that has been trained up and consecrated to Jehovah will not depart is the way of holiness and spiritual righteousness, the way of the faithful people of God.
 Proverbs 22:6; 1 Kings 22:43; 2 Kings 22:2; 2 Chronicles 20:32; 34:2 all contain the verb “depart” (rws) negated with the same particle (aøl) connected to the verb with a maqqef, and the same word “way” (JK®r®;d) as in Proverbs 22:6. The texts allude to each other.
 Note that the failure of 1 Kings 22:43b is not one of Jehoshaphat’s personal piety, but took place because “as yet the people had not prepared their hearts unto the God of their fathers” (2 Chronicles 20:33).
 Compare the positive instances of not departing from righteousness in 2 Kings 18:6; 27:2; and the instances of not departing from evil in 2 Kings 3:3; 10:29, 31; 13:2, 6, 11; 14:24; 15:18, 24, 28; 17:22.
 Technically, the imperfect form of rws when the verb is not conveying an imperatival force or some idea other than a simple affirmation about the future and is not connected to a waw-conversive, or when in the perfect tense rws refers to a simple future idea because of the context and the presence of waw-conversive.
 That is, a text such as Judges 9:29 does not count. Gaal the son of Ebed is not infallibly faithful in his promises—but Jehovah is. Similar instances to Judges 9:29, where a man is making an affirmation about the future, appear in Judges 20:8; Job 15:30; 27:5.
 The forty verses in the category in question are: Genesis 49:10; Exodus 8:11; 23:25; 33:23; Deuteronomy 2:27; 7:4, 15; 31:29; Judges 9:29; 16:17; 1 Samuel 17:46; 2 Samuel 7:15; 12:10; 2 Kings 23:27; Is 3:18; 5:5; 10:27; 11:13; 14:25; 25:8; 31:2; Jeremiah 32:40; Ezekiel 11:18–19; 16:42; 23:25; 26:16; 36:26; Hosea 2:17; Amos 6:7; Zephaniah 3:11; Zechariah 9:7; Job 34:20; Proverbs 22:6; 27:22; Daniel 11:31; 12:11; 1 Chronicles 17:13; 2 Chronicles 30:9; 33:8. Isaiah 18:5 might also fit. None of these texts can be proven to be anything less than a promise, while the overwhelming majority are clearly infallibly certain promises. The burden of proof is on the advocate of the view that Proverbs 22:6 is merely a principle that will fail at times to find a text where his weakened sense of the verb in question unquestionably appears. His position fails to meet that burden of proof. Even if texts where the verb was a principle instead of a promise appeared in the Bible—and there are no clear instances—the person who would deny that Proverbs 22:6 is a promise would need to prove that the “principle” sense is not just found somewhere in the Bible, but is the actual idea in Proverbs 22:6, against the overwhelming majority of instances where the verb conveys an actual promise—and this also cannot be done.