To say the For Instruction in Righteousness is a compendium of sins would be to miss the point entirely—while it is organized by trespass (from impatience and pride to hatred), the verses and advice following each heading are intended to help kids avoid those sins, and to help parents respond wisely when their children give in to temptation.
Author Pam Forster initially compiled this volume for her own use. Because the Bible is the standard for Christian parents, she doesn't reference psychologists or "parenting experts"; she offers advice and insight gained from raising her own children, but she's clear from the outset that the only authority is Scripture and points again and again to its wisdom.
For Instruction in Righteousness can be used as a reference or provide the model for a family Bible study. Each section is labeled with a sin (pretty much everything is covered!), followed by Bible verses which describe the sin, what happens to those who commit it, and (in the 3rd edition) how the individual struggling with this sin should repent and seek forgiveness.
Stories illustrating the consequences of each sin are also referenced, including the Scriptures where they can be found. But this isn't just about avoiding sin—it's about pursuing righteousness, and after the verses about sin come verses describing and illustrating the correlating virtue (for instance, pride/humility). After many of the verses Forster has included commentary and advice for practical implementation of the principles found there.
Originally published in 1993, For Instruction in Righteousness has consistently proved itself to be an excellent resource for parents trying to raise children whose joy is in the Lord. Doorposts Publishing was born with the initial publication of this book, and while they don't expect those who own an earlier edition to buy this one, it does include over 50 pages of added material, as well as improved formatting.
Two appendices and a reproducible comparison chart (to contrast foolishness vs. wisdom and wickedness vs. righteousness) help parents implement this as a Bible study or as part of family worship. This isn't just a discipline guide—while there is plenty of advice about how to respond when children commit specific sins, the goal is to raise children who not only avoid evil, but who actively love and pursue the Lord of all Creation.
Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here.
- What the Bible says will, or should, happen to a person who sins in this way, with ideas for discipline that parallel these Biblical consequences.
- Instructions the Bible gives for repenting of this sin (newly added!)
- What the Bible likens a person to when he indulges in this sin, with practical object lessons using these examples.
- How God blesses the person who resists temptation to this sin, with parallel ideas for rewards and encouragement for children who show progress in overcoming this sin.
- Stories and people in the Bible that illustrate obedience and disobedience in this area.
- Fully quoted memory verses.
Q. What's the difference between the 2nd and 3rd edition?
A. The third edition has about 50 more pages. The Forsters added more verses and ideas to most of the chapters as a result of 18 more years of Bible study and parenting experience. The new edition has also been re-organized and re-typeset in an easier-to-read, updated font. This blog post compares the two side by side.
Q. I already have an earlier edition. Should I buy the new one?
A. First, you should know that their goal in revising this book is not to make you buy it again if you already have one. They want to keep their books up-to-date and offer the best quality possible, and this means making updates from time to time. You'll find a few benefits to upgrading your book, but unless you can sell your used copy or give it to a friend (or if your friend never returned your copy that she borrowed!), don't feel like you need to upgrade.
Q. Is this really the third edition?
A. Yes. The first edition of FIIR was offered from 1993 to 1995 in a black and white 3-ring binder. They made revisions in 1995 and began offering the more popular spiral binding and the cover you're familiar with. No significant changes were made to this 1995 edition until the 2011 third edition. This particular printing is a softcover edition, with lay-flat perfect binding.
Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he's a husband and father who loves church, good food, and weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here
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