What Does the Bible Say About Spanking Children?
Proverbs 13:24(KJV): "He that spareth his rod hateth his son:
but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes."
Proverbs 13:24(AMP): "He who spares his rod (of discipline)
hates his son, but he who loves him diligently disciplines and punishes him early."
The practical wisdom found in these verses in the
book of Proverbs covers the subject of child rearing and corporal
punishment. Children who are not properly disciplined, are among the most miserable of
children. Unruly and spoiled children are not the blessings that the Bible says they
should be to parents. When a child is given no boundaries, they feel lost. If they have
been given boundaries, yet those boundaries are not maintained, it causes great harm to a
child, as they will not only be in dangerous territory, they will also lose respect for
authority. This is where we find so many of the children and youth of today. They are
rebels, who not only disrespect authority, but openly defy all authority figures such as
teachers, policemen, clergy, and their own parents. The blame rests upon the parents of
these children, if they have not heeded the advice given in this and other verses found in
This brings us to the subject of how we should
discipline a child who disobeys the rules. There has been much debate on the subject of
corporal punishment (the spanking of a child). Corporal punishment simply means bodily
punishment while the definition of spank in Webster's Dictionary is: 1.) to
strike with something flat, as the open hand, especially on the buttocks, as in
punishment. 2.) to move along swiftly or smartly, a smack given in spanking. This is what
the Bible says about spanking:
Proverbs 22:15: "Foolishness is bound
up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him."
Proverbs 23:13-14: "Withold not
discipline from the child, for if you strike and punish him with the (reed-like) rod, he
will not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from
First of all, discipline of children should begin at
an early age, whenever a child begins to defy the parent. Remember the old saying,
"He who spares the rod, spoils the child." Notice that the Bible says that
all children have foolishness in their hearts. The Bible definition of a fool means
one who is a rebel, so this is saying that all children have rebellion in them and when it
surfaces, it is our duty as parents to drive it out of them. We are to do this by
punishing them with a whack on the buttocks with a small reed-like rod. This rod could be
a switch from a fruit tree branch or a willow tree branch or a small wooden spoon. It is
not to be a large heavy rod or anything that would cause permanent physical damage.
The purpose of a spanking is not to cause any lasting bodily harm, but to cause spiritual
correction. A spanking should be swift and cause short lived pain that makes a
point. That point is that the small pain they feel now will prevent them from
feeling great pain by the act they are committing, which could cause them loss of their
lives in some cases. (For instance, if a child tries to run across the street, they could
be run over and killed.)
Some people say that all spanking is child abuse,
but this is totally wrong. The real abuse to the child is not to spank them when they need
correction. Of course, some parents, who themselves are out of control, can abuse
their children by beating them in angry rages. This is child abuse, however, it does not
justify doing away with spanking children if it is done properly, and for the right
reasons. Parents who beat their children, need help themselves. They are sinful people and
they not only will abuse their children by beating them, but will hurt them in other ways
as well. Many times, these same children are left to go hungry and uncared for. They have
no love. These kind of homes need the love of Christ so that the whole family can be
healed. We are not to spank our children with uncontrolled anger, and thus hand out unjust
Proverbs 19:18(AMP): "Discipline your
son while there is hope, but do not (indulge your angry resentments by undue chastisements
and) set yourself to his ruin."
Proverbs 22:6: "Train up a child in the way he should go: and
when he is old, he will not depart from it."
Godly discipline will keep children from being
dysfunctional later in life. We are told as Christian parents to train our children in the
ways of the Lord and when he grows up, he will not depart from that training. Notice
it says "train" not "teach." Many parents teach their children right
from wrong, but have failed to "train" them to obey. Spanking is part of
the training. Many parents yell and threaten their children, but never follow
through with the proper punishment and therefore their children get their own way. A
disciplined child will bring great delight to parents, while the child left alone will
bring shame to the home.
Proverbs 29:15 &17(AMP):
15 The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a
child left undisciplined brings his mother to shame.
17 Correct your son, and he will give you rest; yes, he will give delight to your heart.
1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.
2 Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise;
3 That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.
4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture
and admonition of the Lord.
Prayer for the Day:
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for my children
and grandchildren. I have learned so much over the years through the parenting process. I
have failed so many times, but You have been there to pick me up and help me overcome the
things that came against me and my children. Lord, being a parent is a challenge
that only with Your help and love can we be the kind of parents that You call us to be.
Lord, I pray for all mothers and fathers who are seeking You for help with their families.
Grant Your help and favor to them. Give them your love, wisdom and patience in
dealing with their children. May all Christians be the godly parents You call them
to be, and may their children be loving and obedient so that we all have happy and blessed
homes. I ask this in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
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