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For Instruction in Righteousness (3rd Edition) Review by Krystin Corneilson

Pam Forster
5905 SW Lookingglass Dr.
Gaston, OR 97119

Billed as "A Topical Reference Guide for Biblical Child-Training," For Instruction in Righteousness is a 363-page, spiral-bound whopper of a parenting reference manual! The book starts off with an introduction about using God's Word as the authority in all parenting. From there, the guide is divided into seven chapters of sin categories and then further divided into more specific offenses. For instance, the first chapter is "Sins of a Proud Heart." The subsections include Pride, Self-Righteousness, Hypocrisy, Stubbornness/Self-Will, etc. The final two chapters offer comparisons of the obedient and disobedient as well as additional helps in your parenting journey.

In the introduction, Pam Forster explains that this book was written because "raising children is a humbling experience; each new baby exposes more of my weaknesses, more of my inadequacies, more of my need to rely on my sovereign Lord for strength and guidance." I felt a kinship with the author when she talked about our being the Dr. Spock generation. I too remember my mom's often-used, dog-eared volume of his parenting paperback. The introduction goes on to emphasize that God's Word is our perfect authority for faithfully discipling our children, and then it gives instruction on how to use the rest of the book. A handy three-column chart is included as a visual aid to show what God's Word says, what the parents' responsibility is based on the Word, and then how For Instruction in Righteousness helps the parent.

The "sin" subchapters are laid out in seven sections. First, general information and commandments about the sin are given. The next two segments include what happens (or should happen) to the person engaging in the sin and what that person should do. Then, it points out what the sin is likened to in Scripture, followed by stories in the Bible that demonstrate the consequences of practicing the sin and the blessings of resisting that sin. The sixth section illustrates the blessing for those to resist sin and practice righteousness. Finally, there are memory verses to help fight the temptation to sin.

The comparison chapter highlights many common behavior issues and their more favorable counterparts, such as foolishness vs. wisdom and wickedness vs. righteousness. There's even a blank page for additional comparisons if the need arises. Additional resources include ideas on how to help your child learn from Scripture, how to use For Instruction in Righteousness for Bible study, and the author's thoughts on rewarding children and paying them for work. Last is a listing of useful resources, mostly available on the Doorposts website as well.

The guidebook points out that it can be used for quick reference; for family worship, Bible study and long-term problems; and for unit studies. I would also add that it could be used in Sunday school, for Sunday sermons, and for devotion time at co-ops or other gatherings.

Parenting is hard work and there are dozens if not hundreds of books dedicated to helping us figure it out. However, God wrote the first and only guide that is perfect. For Instruction in Righteousness is a comprehensive, easy-to-use guide that points us to the Bible for true help. Its topical layout makes finding the appropriate Scriptures a cinch and figuring out what to do a less daunting task. It will promote consistency in our parenting, I am sure

Whenever I have ever heard anyone talking about the previous editions of For Instruction in Righteousness, I was impressed by the reverence it received. I wasn't sure any book could live up to such a reputation. When I first received the book, I thought it was too thick for me to ever use without difficulty. I was wrong. So, if there is a "con" to this book, it's that the first impression might be daunting. Getting past that notion, however, it is simple to figure out.

Our family is gearing up for a new homeschool year and that includes a new year of family Bible study. For Instruction in Righteousness will be a much-used resource this year and beyond!

Product review by Krystin Corneilson, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, August 2011