and the Inspiration of Scripture
By Kyle Pope
back I watched a program on television that focused on the question of how
parents should raise their children. The program began by looking at the fact
that throughout history parents have held corporal punishment (spanking,
whipping, etc.) to be an acceptable form of discipline for children. The
program then pointed out that the Bible itself teaches physical punishment of
children as a part of training children. The question was then asked—“Can
the Bible, history and tradition all be wrong?” The remainder of the
program featured the claims of “experts” that answered in no uncertain terms—“Yes,
spanking children is wrong!”
may seem like a rather tame statement at first, but I’m afraid that as
Christians we may not realize what we are conceding if we: 1) Accept this view
to be true, or, 2) Allow it to go unchallenged. What we say is that ...
not understand human nature and childhood development! Thus...
must not be heeded on this subject!
sound rather strong but I believe it is the logical consequence of accepting
the view that corparal punishment is wrong.
must first understand what Scripture claims about itself. It is not man’s commentary
on God’s will, but the mind of God revealed directly to man. 2 Peter 1:20-21
declares, “...No prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation for
prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were
moved by the Holy Spirit” (NKJV). 2 Timothy 3:16-17 asserts, “All
Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking,
correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be
thoroughly equipped for every good work” (NIV). This makes it clear that
Scripture is God’s word. One can either accept this or not, but we must
acknowledge what the Bible claims about itself!
are the claims of Scripture on the subject of corporal punishment?
It is commanded by God—“Do
not withhold correction from a child, for if you beat him with a rod, he will
not die” (Proverbs 23:13).
It is constructive to a child—“Foolishness
is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of correction will
drive it far from him” (Proverbs 22:15).
It can be a demonstration of love—“He
who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him
promptly” (Prov. 13:24).
It can lead to wisdom, and
It is shameful to neglect it—“ The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left
to himself brings shame to his mother” (Proverbs 29:15).
It must not be destructive to the child—“Chasten your son while there is
hope, and do not set your heart on his destruction” (Prov. 19:18).
It can benefit a child spiritually—“You shall beat him with a rod
and deliver his soul; from hell
[i.e. sheol]” (Proverbs 23:14).
It can increase the joy of being a parent—“Correct your son, and he will
give you rest; yes, he will give delight to your soul” (Proverbs 29:17).
It is a characteristic of God’s dealings with man—“For whom the Lord loves He
chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives” (Hebrews 12:6).
Those without it are treated as illegitimate children—“But if you are without
chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and
not sons” (Hebrews
Children who have received it owe their parents respect—“Furthermore, we have had human
fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect...” (Hebrews 12:9).
Although intended to be unpleasant it can produce righteous behavior—“Now no chastening seems to be
joyful for the present, but grievous; nevertheless, afterward it yields the
peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it” (Hebrews 12:11).
of this makes it abundantly clear that the Scripture teaches there is a place
for the physical discipline of children in proper parenting. That is not to
sanction all that is done in the name of discipline. Nor does it teach that
abuse is to be treated lightly. But simply that if we claim to accept the Bible
as God’s word we must accept with it what it teaches us about how to raise our
children. This calls on us to place great confidence in the authority of
Scripture, and sometimes to reject the notions of the so-called “experts.”
But what about
generation has seen examples of some of the most horrifying treatment of
children imaginable. Sometimes in the name of discipline and sometimes out of
some perverse pleasure in inflicting pain, children have been brutalized. As
Christians we must stand against this! There is a difference between the
moderate application of discomfort by loving parents and the enduring scars of
brutality inflicted by disturbed and ungodly souls!
keep this distinction clear, the following questions would be beneficial for us
to ask ourselves the next time we discipline our children:
Why are we
(Is it simply out of anger or in an attempt to shape their behavior?)
What do we
want them to learn from this?
(Do we have a conscious objective?)
given them plenty of positive reinforcement to balance things? (Do they see our love for them?)
understand our expectations of them?
(Have we talked with them enough?)
dealing with them in a Christ-like manner? (Are we helping them go to heaven?)
pray that godly mothers and fathers who love the Lord will boldly and
courageously stand up for the unfailing truth of God’s word. At stake is not
simply our belief in the inspiration of the Scriptures, but our children