What the Bible Says About Spanking Children


For those of us who are a little older, it wasn’t so long ago that spanking was commonplace in schools, as well as home.  Now, we do not see spanking at school, but I occasionally hear older parents comment that children are not disciplined because parents do not spank them.  As a parent and a mother, I do not advocate spanking a child.  In my opinion, it instills fear, even resentment in children.  But my opinion isn’t important, what is important is what the Bible says about disciplining our children, and what example Jesus set when around children.

Let’s examine the Bible Verses parents use in favor of spanking.

He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.                        Proverbs            13:24 (NIV)

Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish him with the rod, he will not die. Punish him with the rod and save his soul from death.         Proverbs 23:13-14 (NIV)

The rod of correction imparts wisdom, but a child left to himself disgraces his mother.                            Proverbs 29:15 (NIV)


Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him.                                             Proverbs 22:15 NIV)

According to Thomas Haller, in his article Biblical Perspectives on Spanking, “the Hebrew word for ‘rod’ (shebet) one can see that in the Hebrew dictionary it has various meanings, a stick for walking, writing, fighting, ruling, and punishment. The word ‘shebet’ is most frequently used when referring to shepherds who are tending their flocks. The Shepherds used the stick to fight off prey and to gently guide wandering sheep, not to beat them.”

Haller continues, “The image that we are to extract from these verses in Proverbs is one of creating a culture of accountability.  The point that God is making is that we as parents are to hold our children accountable for their choices and actions. There are many ways to hold a child accountable corporal punishment (spanking) never has to be one of them.”

If we are teaching our children the unconditional love of God, they will understand it more in the kindness parents show in their own unconditional love.  When children make bad decisions, as they all will, we need to be consistent with giving them the consequences for these actions.  Personally, I prefer taking away a favorite game or toy, time out, or taking away privileges. I have also been known to require a letter speaking from the heart about the mistake and their feelings and thoughts about it.

Here are some verses about raising children with love.

Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.                 Ephesians 6:4 (NIV)

Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.     Colossians 3:21 (NIV)


I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.           3 John 1:4


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