Listen:  69 Question 4

This is a very controversial topic.  So many so-called child experts today say that spanking equals physical abuse.  Many say that violence begets violence.  However, I believe that the proper application of spanking as a scriptural means of discipline is not violence at all.

Let’s begin by looking at Hebrews 12:5-7 which says, “And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?”  We see that chastening, or disciplining, is an act of love from a parent to a child.  The word for chastening means to train up a child, to educate, or, by implication, to discipline by punishment.  Notice that chastisement is a teaching tool; a way of training up a child.  To discipline means to teach, so when we properly discipline our children, we are teaching them in a positive direction.  In fact, discipline from the Lord is a true sign of our salvation.  Hebrews 12:8 says, “But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.”  If the Lord doesn’t ever chastise us, then we are not His.  There is a great difference between God’s judgment and His chastening hand.  As believers, we will never experience the judgment of God, but we will receive the loving expression of His discipline.

What type of chastening, or disciplining, does the scripture tell us is proper?  Let’s consider the words of King Solomon in Proverbs 13:24 which says, “He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.”  The Hebrew word for rod is ‘shebet’ (shay bet), which literally means ‘a stick’.  The Hebrew word for betimes is ‘shachar’ which means early.  We see here the needfulness of using discipline early in a child’s life.  It is so hard to change a child’s character when we wait too late to start.  Proverbs 22:6 tells us to, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”  If we wait until that child is a young man or lady, it will almost certainly be too late to effectively discipline them.

Proverbs 22:15 teaches us that, “Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.”  We also read in Proverbs 29:15 that, “The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.”  Solomon, while having many wives himself, had only three children mentioned in the scriptures.  1 Kings 4:11, 1 Kings 4:15 and 1 Kings 11:43 show us that Solomon had two daughters, Taphath and Basemath, and one son, Rehoboam.  So, we can see that Solomon, when speaking of the rod of correction spoke from the viewpoint of an experienced father.  If Solomon had not had any children of his own, it doesn’t seem likely that the Lord would have used him to give advice to parents.

With all that said, I want to emphasize the words, “rod of correction” that we find in Proverbs 22:15.  If that rod ever becomes a “rod of anger” or a “rod of hatred” or a “rod of control”, then it ceases to be a “rod of correction” and would indeed be child abuse.  James 1:20 is clear in telling us that, “…the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.”  When we become angry with our children, we cannot discipline them properly and work the righteousness of God.  Slow down, calm down and pray.  Ask the Lord for guidance in discipling your child.  While the rod of correction is a proper form of discipline, it is not the only form of discipline.  When discipline becomes necessary, ask the Lord how you can best teach your child so they will not continue to commit acts worthy of correction.  (69.4)