The answer is very straight forward.
The Bible (KJV) never says anything about punishing our children.
However, that does not mean that the scriptures do not teach corrective
discipline. The point of this article is to illustrate that
there is a difference between the two. The Bible teaches us
that we are to use the rod of correction to train our children and
chasten them but punishment, as it is used in the
scriptures, is never directed at children.
When the Bible speaks of
God dealing with His elect for their disobedience it is in terms of
chastening and even scourging,
but that is never said to
be punishment. This passage and others are written in terms of
God correcting our behavior. Here is a view of what the Bible
says regarding punishment.
Isa 10:12 I will punish the fruit of the stout heart of
the king of Assyria, and the glory of his high looks.
Isa 13:11 And I will punish the world for their evil, and
the wicked for their iniquity;
Jer 9:25 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will
punish all them which are circumcised with the uncircumcised;
9:26 Egypt, and Judah, and Edom, and the children of Ammon, and
Moab, and all that are in the utmost corners, that dwell in the
wilderness: for all these nations are uncircumcised, and all the
house of Israel are uncircumcised in the heart.
These three verses illustrate that, in the scriptures, punishment
is given by God to unbelievers, which includes both Jew and Gentile.
And when God deals in punishment it is for the destruction of the
wicked, whether Jew or Gentile.
However, the relationship of God to believers is put forth
Pr 3:11 My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither
be weary of his correction:
3:12 For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the
son in whom he delighteth.
Here is the difference between how God deals with one he loves
and one he does not. God corrects the one he loves. The
Hebrew word for correct is yakach yaw-kahh’ which means:
to prove, decide, judge, rebuke, reprove, correct, be right.
Heb 12:6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth
every son whom he receiveth.
12:7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for
what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?
12:8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are
partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.
Therefore the correction and chastening of our children should
not be looked at as punishment. Some people mistakenly see the
use of a rod as being a tool of punishment. But the Bible does
not look at it that way. Rather, the loving use of a rod is
for training a child in correct behavior and it is for correcting
improper behavior when a child sins in disobedience to his parents.
There is a side of child correction which looks like or has the
appearance, to the average person, of being punishment.
Consider the passage from Pr 23:13-14:
13 Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest
him with the rod, he shall not die.
14 Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from
This is a very strong passage on the use of the rod. There
are several things to take notice of:
- The above verses say this is correction not punishment
- The Hebrew word translated as "beatest" means to spank but
it means the spanking can be administered exceptionally hard
when necessary because;
- This type of correction is for the purpose of delivering a
causing his own death or "going to an early grave."
("hell" in this passage means "grave" not the lake of fire)
Interestingly, the NIV translates "beatest and beat" as punish.
But this conveys the wrong idea of what the passage is teaching and
may indicate one reason why many Christians today have an improper
view of spanking. Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary 10th
Edition, defines punish as: 1a) to impose a penalty on for a
fault, offense, or violation. So far so good but it goes on to
say: 1b) to inflict a penalty for the commission of (an offense)
in retribution or retaliation. While punishment
doesn't have to mean retribution or retaliation, this is what most
people think of when they consider punishment. And when most
people punish their children, retribution and retaliation is what
they are handing out.
But, when we look at Prov 23:13-14 again we see that retribution
and retaliation are not at all what is being taught. The
beating (i.e spanking) is to correct the child's own
self-destructive behavior. Correction as it is taught in this
passage is for the purpose of teaching self-control. A child
must control his desires. When a child is young and small it
is easy enough to control his every action because you are
physically bigger and can keep him bottled up well enough to keep
him from self-injury. But that won't last forever. The
day comes when every child will be set free from his parents.
If he has been properly disciplined, then he has learned to control
himself because he intrinsically understands that for every improper
action there is an equal and opposite chastisement. But if he
has never had Biblical correction, then, depending on his
personality type and having little or no appreciable concept of
suffering the consequences of one's actions, he "goes off the deep
Of my four children, I have one that is particularly hard headed
(just like his father). He always requires more stripes than
the other three and from time to time he requires several sessions
with the rod in order to get the point across. And while I
have, at times, had to chastise him rather vigorously, it has never,
in my view, been punishment. He and I have a very close
relationship and he understands when he has done wrong and he
understands that our fellowship is always restored once the rod of
correction is used to chastise his behavior. Having read the
scriptures thoroughly, I know that those sessions with the rod are
sometimes necessary in order to "deliver his soul from hell."
If I did not do my duty, I would not be the kind of father and
spiritual leader in my home that God has called me to be.
While the rod may be looked at as a means of punishment, scripturally that is
not it's primary use. God's word says that it is to be used out of
love and concern for the welfare of our children. Training
proper behavior and correcting improper behavior are the hallmark
uses of a rod in a Christian home.
Elder James Taylor