Comment on Proverbs 20:30

A few days ago, I received a request to explain Proverbs 20:30 and thought it might be worthwhile to post my response here (edited and added to a bit).  It’s a lesson we don’t pay enough attention to these days (perhaps because it seems harsh) and, sadly, we see the fruit of that neglect.


Thanks for your question.  I can’t always guarantee such a quick reply, but you happened to catch me at my computer and in want of a break.  So, good timing!

Proverbs 20:30 – “Blows that hurt cleanse away evil, as do stripes the inner depths of the heart.” (NKJV)

At the heart of this verse is the message that punishment for wickedness needs to be harsh or painful enough to make a difference in behavior.  One translator—Martin Luther, I believe—translated the verse this way: “One must restrain evil with severe punishment, and with hard strokes which one feels.”  While we certainly wouldn’t endorse every choice Martin Luther made in his translations, this one gives the correct sense.  It is a statement about effective chastening.

A related New Testament verse is found at Hebrews 12:11 – “Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

We see the fruit of ignoring the wisdom of this passage in our society.  When criminals are “punished” in a way that does not truly “hurt”—such as being given a very light sentence for a terrible crime—rather than being influenced to change their ways, criminals are emboldened to continue and, in some cases, proceed to even greater offenses.  While it isn’t a “silver bullet” solution to our society’s ills (not by a long shot), still there must be on the part of those who would commit crime a fear of the civil authorities and fear of the punishment that those authorities can apply if there is to be peace and order in society (cf. Romans 13:3-4).  Authority unwilling to instill fear produces fearless criminals.

On a smaller scale (in size, not in importance) this proverb speaks to discipline in the home, as well.  When a child is punished for, say, rebellion, in a way that does not “get his attention,” so to speak, he often decides, “Well, if that’s all that I earned then it was worth it!”  While the principle shouldn’t push us to abuse (by any means!), it should remind us to make certain that our discipline causes a strong enough impression on a child’s mind so as to truly motivate him differently the next time the same temptation presents itself.

(I can attest that I certainly saw the fruit of not doing this in the public schools, where a system that has rejected the ability to bring meaningful punishment in many cases has seen itself bereft of being able to truly influence many of the “hard case” students it claims to be so dedicated to.)

I hope this makes sense!  If you have any further question, please feel free and let me know.

Have a great day!

Best regards,
Wallace Smith

14 thoughts on “Comment on Proverbs 20:30

  1. Shannon Rangel

    My husband and I are having a disagreement about this particular verse. He believes this verse tells us that we should spank hard enough to leave a bruise when the situation warrants it. I do not believe that this is what the verse is saying. I believe that when we spank our children we should not leave bruises. I do beleive that spanking does need to be painful enough so that children think twice about repeating the behavior. I would appreciate your opinion on this issue.
    Thank you,

  2. Howdy, Mrs. Rangel, and thanks for the question.

    The point of the verse is effective punishment that helps the one punished along the path to repentance by providing a negative consequence that he or she would rather avoid, and by associating the wrong choice that has been made with a negative experience. In essence, the punishment has to “hurt.” This is a principle that applies to more than childrearing, actually, but obviously it has a direct impact on childrearing choices.

    In order to best give you a *helpful* opinion (instead of *just* an opinion) it would be helpful to know you and speak to you both face-to-face, since often the unspoken context (yet not necessarily unspoken due to guile) provides just the right insight to make advice accurate and workable. Still, I can speak to the general principles here and I hope they are helpful.

    In my experience, effective punishment will vary based upon the child. For instance, of our children, we have one with whom — at this stage — any form of corporal punishment is virtually unnecessary. There is punishment that brings him negative consequences that “hurt,” but the need to spank (which was absolutely present in the early years) has virtually disappeared. On the other end of the spectrum, we have another child for whom spankings often seem to be merely mild irritants; while — on the other hand — when he sees his brothers enjoying something while he is denied that something because of the choices he has made, THAT really “hurts” and is a great motivator to curb wrong behavior. (Our other two boys seem somewhere in the middle of that spectrum.)

    In order to really apply the principle behind this verse (Proverbs 20:30), my wife and I have needed to be observant, imaginative, and lovingly consistent. And — to be honest — I feel like we have failed more than we have succeeded in all three of these regards, yet God seems to “have our backs” so to speak, and I am thankful for the fruit that we are seeing in their lives.

    So to answer your question, I think the focus on bruises is misplaced. My wife and I struggled with very similar questions and finally found that we were asking the wrong questions to begin with. Whether or not there is a bruise should not be the focus. Rather, the focus should be on whether the choice of discipline (1) is lovingly (NEVER angrily) administered, (2) connects behavior to outcome, (3) produces the desired repentance, (4) paves the way for forgiveness and restoration, and (5) ultimately improves the relationship between parent and child (and between the child and God) rather than tears it down.

    Proverbs 20:30 touches on some of these principles, but it cannot stand alone as a guide for parents on punishment of their children. There are many other Biblical passages and injunctions that touch on this issue, as well (e.g., unnecessary severity or perceived parental anger or injustice can provoke a child to wrath, potentially contradicting the command of Ephesians 6:4), and all of them should be prayerfully studied and considered in formulating one’s approach to childrearing and discipline issues.

    The best way to judge actions — assuming that the actions are rooted in sound Biblical principles of love, law, compassion, and Godliness — is by their fruit. The presence or absence of bruises is not a focus on fruit. The effect of the discipline on behavior, relationship, and character is the fruit, and all three of these must be considered by the “fruit inspectors” before judgment is made.

    In this sense, then, Proverbs 20:30 is a call to focus on the fruit of the discipline (the goal being a cleansed heart) in such a way that it is effectively administered for the benefit of the one being punished. And there are many more Scriptures that work together to address how to do that, in addition to this this short proverb alone, and God’s entire Word must be consulted to get the full picture (cf. Isa 28:9-10).

    I hope this is helpful. Our church has a brand new booklet that you might be interested in ordering from us in this regard. It is titled “Successful Parenting: God’s Way” and it is so new that we don’t have it listed on our website order form, yet (at least, as of 6/7/2007). However, if you go to our “Contact Us” page, you can e-mail us and request the booklet in the body of the e-mail (or, for that matter, by phone using the numbers given on that page). All of our literature really is *absolutely* free, with no gimmicks or tricks. We don’t ask for donations, we don’t contact you later without your permission, we don’t give your contact info to other people — we just want the truth of God in as many hands as possible, and many people all over the world have come together to back this work and make all of its materials completely free to anyone who asks, in obedience to Matthew 10:8.

    Thanks for your question, and I hope this helps. I know that it isn’t the “yes” or “no” type of answer that we often want to hear, but I hope that it helps to focus the discussion you and your husband are having in the right direction.

    BTW, here is that “Contact Us” page:

    And should the new booklet be added to the normal order form, it will show up here with our other booklets:

    Best regards,
    Wallace Smith

    P.S. I hope you don’t mind, but I suspect that many parents would relate to your question, and I am considering copying your question and this answer and making a separate post out of it later today, in the event that others may benefit from this exchange.

  3. Cher

    I was reading Proverbs 20:30 and was wondering that it really means, googled for it and found ur site. Your explanation proves to be helpful and makes sense. I am a single parent and this can really knock some sense into me. Then Trevor’s comment to look at Isaiah 53:5 strikes me even more! Thank God for His Love and His revelation.

  4. texasborn

    Mr. Smith, I clicked on the link to this post under your “Top Posts” heading after I finished reading your latest post of 10-15-2010. Your subject here reminded me of the lyrics of a song titled “Olive Plants and Arrows.” It is about wrong child rearing techniques. Let me know what you think about it.

    Verse 1:
    Are frowns on clowns?…Absurd!
    Then why not show joy
    To your girl and boy
    Whose cries are loudly heard?

    Verse 2:
    “What for?”, you say——(You’re tired!)
    A child’s demands to ask
    You, who fail to mask
    The hate that’s lately fired!

    “Shut up or I’ll…….!” you said;
    (Furrows plowed in fields.)
    Who is he that yields
    To such faces quickly read?

    Verse 3:
    Are they of iron, those rods?
    To this end life narrows:
    Olive plants and arrows—-
    To be the future GODS!

  5. Rebecca

    Your comments on Proverbs 20:30 focused on the “Blows that hurt cleanse away evil,” the next part reads “As do stripes the inner depths of the heart.”

    I was wondering if this verse relates to the blows Christ received on our behalf and the stripes he endured for our healing comes from the inner depths of his heart to ours?

  6. Howdy, Rebecca, and thanks for your thoughts. Actually, I intended my words to refer to both the proverb’s blows that hurt and stripes that hurt, since the phrasing is parallel in structure. The second part is intended as an echo of the first. I suspect that the proverb is meant to be taken fairly literally concerning actual practice (using punishment to cleanse the heart of evil rather) rather than prophetically, and the stripes are said to cleanse the inner depths of the heart instead of coming from there. Still, I can understand why the verse made you mindful of such things. Thanks for stopping by!

  7. Texasborn

    Since this post of yours came from the “ye old year” of 2006, I do not remember if I answered your question or not, Mr. Smith, as to the “whence or who-nce”, as well as from “where-nce” the song lyrics came. (I do not like to end my sentences with a preposition, since my mother remonstrated me muchly so while I was still “in my tender tears”: “Where is it at?” I would say. Inevitably the reply would be: “Between the A and the T!” [As when Winston Churchill immediately quipped when upbraided at a formal state dinner–where the Queen was attending, I believe–for ending a sentence with a preposition, “That is something UP with which I will not PUT!”] But I digress somewhat, even though her verbal blows came from a mother’s heart, so that my grammatical sins might be driven out of me!) To answer your question: it came from my heart through the transmission by my brain cells, from a year that is so long ago at an age that is “too young to lie and too old to tell.” I was inspired to write it some years after I read Garner Ted Armstrong’s booklet, “The Plain Truth About Childrearing.”

    Whoa! I can tell by the sleepiness affecting my brain cells that it is time to depart to Slumberland! (Six a.m comes pretty quickly now at this point in time.) Good night!

  8. Choose Grace

    Mrs. Rangel,
    Your comments are very disturbing to me, and I’m sorry to say it, but your husband sounds abusive. What your husband is condoning is “beating” not spanking. I hope you have put a stop to this if it’s going on still so your children are not being abused. That’s a “very” serious thing.

    To All,
    Regarding spanking, can someone please give me the scripture verse for where the bible spefically says to hit/strike a young child and also where it says that this should be done on a child’s butt, which children of course are taught is a “private, no touch” area?

    Is this something Jesus would have taught or done himself? I believe Jesus would have taught gentle, loving, corrective discipline–not violence to “force” a child to obey. Children’s young brains are still developing. Their cognitive and reasoning skills are still developing, and they are very prone to mistakes. Jesus extends grace to adults but doesn’t He also to children?

    When studied in more depth, the verses about physically punishing a child where intended towards “young men” and only as a last resort if he was a danger to himself and society. We do not need to use violence on children for every little offense–or at all. Spanking children harms them much more than physically. Please read about “gentle parenting” to learn more. Love is always best.

    Also, it wasn’t long ago that men used to physically “correct” their wives, and they used the same biblical arguments for it that we do today to spank kids. Makes you think, huh?

    King James Bible (Cambridge Ed.)
    And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

  9. Greetings, “Choose Grace,” and it is good to hear from you.

    I won’t comment again on Mrs. Rangel’s comment, since I had already done that, but I will try to respond to your comments here.

    The Bible certainly condones appropriate physical discipline of a child, in both practice and principle, as any honest study of the matter demonstrates (e.g., Proverbs 22:15, Proverbs 23:13-14, Proverbs 29:15, Heb. 12:5-11 with Deut. 8:5, et al.). Done in an age-appropriate way and in love, as our Father does with us, such actions very much represent “choosing grace” and helping to ensure our children may have opportunity to know that grace, themselves. “He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him promptly” (Proverbs 13:24). The meaning of these verses is clear, and practiced in wisdom and love God’s advice is a blessing.

    “Is it something Jesus would have taught or done himself?” Absolutely! As the Word of God (John 1:1), He inspired the very words recorded in those many verses in the Old Testament and taught us to love God’s commands as much as He did.

    In fact, the fact that children’s minds are still developing reasoning skills, etc., are the very reason why such loving discipline is both effective and needed. The fallacy lies in seeing an imagined “lack of grace” or “lack of love” in that sort of discipline — a point of view the Bible rejects soundly and strongly. Quite the opposite: As the verses mentioned above attest, it is God who connects the use of such discipline to loving our children as He loves us. Do we accuse God of being without grace toward us or our children? May God forbid us from so accusing Him or His Son.

    While not wishing to allow the substitution you have done with “violence”, let me agree with you that a spanking should definitely not be used for “every little offense.” That, also, does not fit the Bible. Actually, the post above is devoted to exactly that sort of principle, so I’ll leave it to the interested reader to just read that.

    Again, I agree: “Love is always best.” That’s why I am willing to use corporal punishment.

    You write, “Also, it wasn’t long ago that men used to physically “correct” their wives, and they used the same biblical arguments for it that we do today to spank kids. Makes you think, huh?” Yes, it does make me think. It makes me wonder how anyone can conclude that verses applying to children should somehow not be applied to children just because others have misapplied those verses to other adults. That makes sense in what way? None at all. Just because some man has mistakenly applied a verse about disciplining his children and has applied it to his wife has absolutely zero impact on whether or not the verse should be applied to children like it says. How weird that anyone would think that. People have misused God’s command “You shall not murder” to say we should all be vegetarians by applying it to animals. Does their error mean that we can ignore applying the verse to people? Of course not. The error of taking verses about children and applying it to wives says literally nothing about applying verses about children to children. That you would think otherwise is telling.

    (As an aside: While I’ve never seen a verse that stresses spanking on the bottom over any other location, the fact that the Bible does, indeed, condone spanking means that it has to be done someplace! 🙂 And the bottom is certainly an effective place for many (was for me!), however my wife and I have also used other options as appropriate, such as a slap on the hand.)

    Nothing you have said nullifies the clear message of God’s Word and this fundamental biblical truth: in general, spanking is a perfectly valid, biblically supported, tool in a parent’s collection for lovingly correcting their child. For the wise, Bible-believing parent, it will be one of many tools resting in their toolbox, ready for use when it is used best.

    “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity” (1 Cor. 13:13). Amen, “Choose Grace”–and that’s why I am willing to lovingly spank my children, just as God describes.

    Thanks, again, for writing.

  10. Choose Grace

    I appreciate your reply! 🙂 I realize this is a touchy subject among Christians but one that is very important to address. I say this because I have personally seen the damage spanking has done (even to those who grew up in a loving home and were only rarely spanked), and sadly, it drives people away from the Christian faith who intuitively know in their hearts that spanking is wrong and who mistakenly believe the bible condones it. It confuses children, makes them feel unloved (even believing their parents are doing internal damage to their muscles, veins, etc…they are too young to understand), etc., but most bury these feelings and we desensitize ourselves to it. I was in my late 20s when I finally allowed myself to realize that spanking is very wrong. I respect the generation that believed in it as they did so with the best of intentions, but it doesn’t remove the negative consequences that occur.

    Of my childhood friends, the ones who turned out the most well adjusted, confident, successful and happy were the ones who were not spanked as children.

    About husbands/wives, sorry–I didn’t explain that well at all. I meant that they used the same types of arguments in that they also went to the bible and took out verses dealing with husbands having authority over wives, making her holy/clean, beating a fool, etc., to support their points. This actually sadly still goes on somewhat in America among Christian couples, but it’s done “in private.” Not too long ago, this was considered normal–until woman finally decided to take a stand, but our young children cannot do this.

    You say the bible condones spanking but the very definition of spanking it to strike/slap/hit on the buttocks. The bible doesn’t say this, and therefore doesn’t condone “spanking,” but it does say to hit young men and also fools with a wooden stick across his back. I think most parents would realize this would be extreme and would never feel the need to do this. By saying the bible condones spanking, we are adding to God’s word–something we are strictly forbidden to do.

    Wallace, I do wish more parents who spanked were like you–though you believe in it, you are reasonable in how your carry it out and to only use it when necessary, etc., Thank you for that. Sadly though, spanking is a doorway to abuse. Many parents overuse it and do so in a way that is very damaging to a child emotionally.

    Spanked children often turn into more violent children than non-spanked children. Violence among teenagers went down in many countries after spanking was banned.

    I’d like to reiterate that gentle parenting isn’t “permissive” parenting–not at all. All children need guidance and discipline, but often, this can be achieved without punitive, especially physically punitive, ways. Most parents notice that their children’s behavioral problems are much improved when spanking is removed–just as I know marriages were improved when husbands stopped “physically correcting” their wives as a normal thing (unfortunately, it’s still considered “acceptable” in many countries for a husband to “correct” his wife in a physical way. We see this as wrong and unnecessary–why not also for our children?).

    I would love to go into more detail explaining the ancient historical and cultural context of the “rod” verses and also of the true Hebraic definitions of the original translation of the bible (the only truly accurate version) but to do so would take hours and hours. However, I have a great article that does go through these and explains how they would have been interpreted back in the day they were written. Would it be okay with you if I posted it here? You would not have to respond–I would just like to present another view to others who might stop by. If not, I urge to look into this deeper and do some solid research and reading on it.

    It’s a huge sin to provoke a child to wrath, but that’s exactly what spanking does, and therefore, is a very serious matter. Think back to when you were a child–did it not make you feel angry or hateful that you were being hit? The natural reaction among any child would be anger (even if hidden so as not to alienate their only care-giver), and it’s an intuitive defense mechanism to “survive” when being hit–even if it’s your parents hitting you. Many children fight back–a natural response. Again, I didn’t let myself come to terms with this until my late 20s. I had a very close, loving relationship with my parents, but instead of believing spanking was “right” and that my parents weren’t wrong for spanking me (something I wanted to believe), I finally allowed myself to accept how I really felt when rarely spanked as a child–and it was a very angry, confused, dark feeling and one of being violated. My parents were hitting me–why wouldn’t I feel angry? In my heart, I knew what they were doing was very wrong, and I finally had to accept that. I am still close to my parents, but the closeness I felt before has been very damaged, and that was devastating for me, and it’s something I keep to myself–I would never reveal this to my parents. I know others who also struggle with memories of their parents spanking them, even though they too have a close relationship with their parents. Grown children hide these things–or, they deny or forget about it, accept it as normal, and the cycle then sadly continues with their own children, just as severally abused children often end up abusing their own one day.

    This is not to condone my parents or those who spank–spanking is a result of our society, and it’s only natural that many people still think it an acceptable thing. My parents are amazing, good people, and I feel extremely blessed. They absolutely believed spanking was what was best and did so with good intentions, but it doesn’t erase my memories, the horrible confusion (that still confuses me to this day) or the emotional pain I felt. Again, most parents who spank are good people, but many Christian parents today are beginning to rethink this man-made physical punishment, and I hope that many others will as well. I truly believe in my heart that God wants parents to parent with grace and gentle direction.

    Wow–I was just going to post asking permission to post the article, but a lot came to mind, and now I’m out of time! Ha!

    Thank you for allowing me to share my views. 🙂

  11. Greetings, again, “Choose Grace,” and it is good to hear from you again.

    You are correct: this is a touchy subject and one that is important to address. But much else of what you say is just not correct at all.

    I’m not here to try and disagree with your anecdotal account — it’s yours and I won’t place myself in your shoes concerning your own personal impressions. I do not know your family, and I do not know how they administered biblical correction in your household. There are many parents who think they are spanking and such in a godly way and they simply are not. It is a matter of ignorance–either of the scriptures or of their child, or even both–however well-intentioned their actions may be.

    Much of what you say simply does not generalize in the way you say it does. I’m glad that you believe that your survey of your “childhood friends” is so accurate, but it would contradict my own experience and the experience of many others of their own surveys of their own lives and of their own childhood friends. Your anecdotal observations are not sufficient to draw the general conclusions you do, and such comments simply aren’t convincing in any way.

    As for comments about people being driven way from the Christian faith because they “intuitively” know it is wrong and (supposedly) “mistakenly believe the bible (sic) condones it” — again, baseless conclusions. I know of many others who have been thankful for the loving discipline they received (I would be among them), who see it as something they needed during their young ages, and who feel it has played a role in helping them be closer to a loving Father in Heaven. I’m not trying to deny your own personal experience, “Choose Grace.” Rather, I’m saying that neither can you deny mine and that of many others (a point I’ll return to again later). Again, your conclusions do not generalize in the way you claim they do.

    Thanks for explaining further the comparison you were trying to make about husbands and wives, but it is still irrelevant and still doesn’t negate the point I made. Yes, there are those who have misused their authority as husbands, and yes there are those who have taken scriptures telling us how to correct our children and have misapplied them to their spouses. That is completely irrelevant to whether or not scriptures telling us how to correct our children should be applied to our children. I did, indeed, understand your point. It’s just that it is still irrelevant. (Ditto for the comment “We see this as wrong and unnecessary–why not also for our children?” — irrelevant. It’s like saying, “We see killing other people is wrong, why don’t we see it as wrong for killing animals for food?” The truth status of the one is completely unrelated to the truth status of the other.)

    I do agree that spanking can be a doorway for abuse for some. The use of even a little alcohol can be a doorway for abuse for some. Frankly, even God’s command that we work six days a week has been a doorway for abuse for some, as “Christian” men sacrifice their families on the altar of their job or career thinking they are showing a godly work ethic. Again, these things are irrelevant. Spanking in love and wisdom is still a biblical principle, alcohol in moderation is still a biblical allowance, and we are, indeed, commanded to work to earn our daily bread for ourselves and our families. We can’t use the fact that some are out of balance in these things or ignorant in their well-intentioned application to destroy God’s Word and make it of no effect. Yes, someone prone to violence and anger may have to avoid spanking if he cannot do it in Christian control and godly love. Yes, someone who is easily addicted to alcohol may need to limit himself to the tiny glass once a year for Passover. And, yes, the work-a-holic may need to create some accountability measures with other Christian men, his wife, and his pastor to ensure he keeps his life in balance and loves his family as he should. But none of these abusive possibilities change the fundamental truths, and, again, like the previous argument, they are irrelevant to the matter of whether or not the Bible condones/teaches spanking as a tool for childrearing.

    And, FYI, I do know that there are “biblical” arguments against spanking children, as you say, that seem to be tied up in culture, history, Hebrew, Greek, etc., etc. I have seen many of them, and they ring false to me just as do the same sort of “biblical” arguments that are used to say the Bible does not condemn homosexual behavior. Such arguments as I have seen universally abuse the text by narrowing the words so extremely that they exclude fundamental elements of the principle at hand. I won’t abuse the Scriptures that way.

    You mention: “It’s a huge sin to provoke a child to wrath, but that’s exactly what spanking does, and therefore, is a very serious matter. Think back to when you were a child–did it not make you feel angry or hateful that you were being hit? The natural reaction among any child would be anger (even if hidden so as not to alienate their only care-giver), and it’s an intuitive defense mechanism to ‘survive’ when being hit–even if it’s your parents hitting you.” But, again, your statement overgeneralizes. Yes, it is a sin (I won’t exceed Scripture by saying “huge”) to provoke your child to wrath, but it is false that “that’s exactly what spanking does.” Not only can God’s Word not be broken (John 10:35), meaning here that his teaching concerning spanking will not violate his other commands, also — to bring up my own anecdote — not a single spanking that I ever received provoked me to wrath. (Please don’t claim I’ve buried my feelings or are “deny[ing] or forget[ting]” things, just as I don’t claim that you are inventing your own feelings.) And in my own children (again, please don’t claim I do not know them well enough), I have never seen a spanking — properly given in love, with explanation and affection — provoke them to wrath like you describe. Quite the opposite: I’ve routinely seen it assist them to a quickly-renewed rewarding and joyful relationship with their parents and with God through the fruits, observed both immediately and over time.

    (An aside: Is it possible that bad reactions can come? Sure. The same is possible in any circumstance of correction, whether a spanked child, a rod on the back of a young man (which I only mention because you said that is biblical), or a God’s correction of a nation. The point isn’t always received, even in non-corporal punishments or corrections. But that does not invalidate the technique, nor make it unbiblical. Part of the matter is what is achieved over time. Part of it, also, is knowing your child. Some of the best corrections I received were not spankings at all. Yet some of them were spankings, indeed. I thank my parents for knowing me so well to choose what fit the occasion.)

    I am glad that, as you say, parents are considering additional forms of discipline, as spanking is not, nor can it be, a one-size-fits-all solution to every situation. No parent who misunderstands the Bible and believes it to be a sin should do it, as they violate their conscience and sin (Romans 14:23). Also, those who recognize academically that it is not a sin and that properly done it is a biblically condoned form of correction but who, in their heart, are troubled by past experiences when it was done improperly in their own rearing may also need to hold off on the practice in the event that their conscience is bothered, as well, until they have grown in spiritual maturity to recognize the difference in their heart. And even for those who recognize that loving discipline in that manner is truly both approved by God and profitable still need to equip themselves with other, additional forms of discipline; not all situations should result in spankings, nor are spankings equally effective with all children. The wise, godly parent seeks to know his children as individuals and respond as each situation requires with the best tool for the circumstance at hand: perhaps a wink and a lecture, perhaps a spanking, perhaps a removal of privileges, or perhaps an allowing of time to bring forth natural consequences. Age, personality, character — all of these make a difference. But to say that spanking is not one of the tools in the parenting tool box? That position is not justified by the Bible, not justified by science, not justified by logic, and is not justified by love. It is simply not justified at all.

    In the hands (no pun intended) of one who has learned to use it in a biblical, godly, and loving manner, spankings can be a very helpful tool–one of what should be many–in rearing children in the admonition of the Lord. That it can be used poorly–like any other childrearing tool can be used poorly–is not an excuse to throw it out. It is a call to understand it better.

    As for the link to an article you’d like to post, thank you so much, “Choose Grace”, for even thinking to ask! It’s uncommon for someone to realize that someone else may not want a link or article posted, let alone to have the courtesy to ask if it’s OK, and I really do appreciate it. You are a very good example of web etiquette! 🙂 I mention in my comment policy that I take scriptures such as 2 John 1:10 seriously and do not want my blog to be used to spread deception, however sincerely believed it is by the one spreading it. However, I am not against having people post who disagree with me. Quite the contrary, as poking around can demonstrate! But, as I also state in that comment policy, because it is my blog I reserve the right to have the last word — much like a radio host who reserves the right to hang up on people after he has had his say.

    So, with those things in mind: (1) You’re welcome for allowing you to post your thoughts, and thanks (1A) for doing so, and (1B) for bothering to thank me! 🙂 (2) As for the article, why don’t you go ahead and post the link to it in a brief comment after this one, and I will look at it and see if I am willing to post it. I’m inclined not to do so, but you’ve asked so nicely I’d like to consider it. (Hopefully it is a link and not the text of the article, which I try to avoid posting in comments.) And (3) I recognize that there won’t be much more profit in our going on and on, as we are at points of disagreement on fundamental things. Consequently, it would probably be good if this exchange (with the possibility of adding the link to the article you’ve mentioned) is the end of this particular discussion.

    Thanks, again, “Choose Grace”, for your comments and thoughts, as well as for your kind and gracious manner. I appreciate it.

  12. Sarah Spencer

    Thank you for your informative explanation on Proverbs 20:30. I was not sure if it meant stripes as in what Jesus did for us or if it was talking about discipline. Have a blessed day! Sarah Spencer

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