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I've recently began a study on discipline and I'm kind of shocked by my initial study that I'd like to refine my outlook with the brethren of SI. Hear your perspectives and challenge my own.

Much of my theological outlook has changed over the past year. I feel I understand God on an intellectual and emotional level that I never had in my passionate fire filled youth. My understanding of God is purely through the lens of Jesus, His life and His teaching but not everything has been subjected to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor. 10:5).

I've started this study to find out God's model for raising children. I do want to keep this as scriptural as possible. We all have different understandings but I'd like to hear them and why.

I'd first like to start off with saying, in the KJV there is only one verse about 'discipline' Job 36:10 and it's talking about piousness, not physically hitting.

Growing up in the church, 'discipline' is almost synonymous with 'physically reprimanding'.

There are plenty of verses that talk about 'rods' and 'chastisements' but just starting my study, learning, (really relearning) what scripture has to say has made me feel like a baby in Christ.

My study has started by demolishing the idea that 'discipline=physical reprimand'. Why? On the surface, there are no verses about discipline that entail that. The NASB has 19 verses but every verse is based on Strong's H4148, which doesn't mean 'physical reprimand'. It means direction/dictation, admonition and teaching. Hebrew words are based on tangible things but I'm not a Hebrew scholar to find out that 'tangible thing'. (For example 'Adam' means 'from the earth' or 'dirt', which is something concrete/tangible and we can all grasp 'from the earth' and 'dirt'). If someone could add insight to H4148's concrete meaning, I'd love to hear that.

I know there are many, indeed many upon many, verses that talk about raising a child. (And making disciples for that matter). So, let's please discuss this matter, with prayer.

(I know this topic is wide ranged and I'm okay with that.)

 2015/4/18 15:01

Joined: 2002/12/11
Posts: 37699
"Pilgrim and Sojourner." - 1 Peter 2:11

 Re: Discipline

Just a few verses From the ESV:

Hebrews 12:11
For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

Proverbs 13:24
Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.

Proverbs 23:13-14
Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you strike him with a rod, he will not die. If you strike him with the rod, you will save his soul from Sheol.

Proverbs 29:17
Discipline your son, and he will give you rest; he will give delight to your heart.

Ephesians 6:4
Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

Proverbs 22:6
Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

Proverbs 19:18
Discipline your son, for there is hope; do not set your heart on putting him to death.

Proverbs 29:15
The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.

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

Hebrews 12:5-6
And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”

Ephesians 6:2-3 ESV
“Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.”

SI Moderator - Greg Gordon

 2015/4/18 15:04Profile


Could you interpret those verses? As I'm fairly certain I look at most of those differently than most. thanks.

 2015/4/18 20:45

Joined: 2011/4/27
Posts: 177


Soldiers and athletes discipline themselves for high achievement. Should the people of the Alpha and Omega do any less?

 2015/4/18 21:21Profile

 Re: Discipline


It is my understanding that the verses refer to "direction/dictation, admonition and teaching". Otherwise 'thy rod and thy staff' could not be said to 'comfort me'. If it is used in a symbolic context in this verse, and moreover, used as referring to an adult, why do things change for children? Why is physical correction advisable to children and not adults? I do get the impression in other places, that Hebrew is used in this way, regarding concrete ways of illustrating the meaning.

If a child is treated with respect from the start, they will only require to know the parent is displeased in order to correct their behaviour. Perhaps with the exception being in psychopathology, where I have no views as yet.

It seems to be accepted that children need to have their sins beaten out of them. I learned a great deal on this matter by observing the behaviour of home educated non Christian parents who had treated their children gently and respectfully from birth, and those children were WAY better behaved than the Christian families who beat their children, all in the name of obeying scripture.

The children of the atheists were gentle and polite whereas the children of the Christians were obnoxious, though they hid it quite well when adults were around. My children reported this to me.

I find it hypercritical that overweight adult Christians take it upon themselves to assault their children for lack of control in behaviour and even more hypercritical that obese pastors berate their flock for their sins. Even just standing in the pulpit is hypercritial in a world where millions of children die of starvation and makes me switch off even before they speak. Perhaps the children of the overweight parents see this contradiction and therefore lose respect.

 2015/4/19 3:57

Joined: 2011/10/21
Posts: 1462
Dothan, Alabama

 Re: Discipline

In my experience discipline is like godliness, the best study is practicing it:)
Discipline as it relates to parenting is often a deeply personal issue and I've failed horribly on numerous occasions and am a work in progress myself so I can only offer my personal experience and pray we both may grow from it.
As a parent of 6 children, all boys, my experience is that one may at times require physical discipline while another may not. It takes humility to discern the difference and what's more to admit to the child when as a parent we got it wrong or sinned (missed the mark) regarding their training.
The Lord has taught me much about being His son through my role as a father to my sons. He has often reminded me of His patience with me when my own wears thin with my boys. In fact He has perfectly modeled parenthood in how He deals with me as His child. Most of my personal growth in Christ has come from having to admit, in and of myself, I am ill equipped to fulfill the role He has placed me in by giving me the responsibility of stewarding these souls into a proper relationship with Him. Honestly this has been so overwhelming at so many times that this very thing has required of me an utter and total dependence on Him, for He alone knows the plans He has for them and apart from Him I may, with good intentions, make a disastrous mess and put a stumbling block before my own child thinking it was a stepping stone.
David and Daniel often come to mind for me when parenting,... I mean these two are as different in their character as any two godly men in the whole of scripture yet God loved them both and used them both to do great things for His purpose. Daniel wouldn't even drink a toast to his own promotion in the court of Darius and risked punishment to remain true to his rather conservative convictions while David on the other hand ate the bread off an altar and did naked cartwheels in front of the Ark as they brought it back home to the dismay of his wife. Daniel had a heart full of obedience and was himself disciplined, David had adventure in his heart and was disciplined by God on more than one occasion, 'tho both were truly devoted to the Lord their God and so God could honor them.
So when I read the words of this character David, the psalmist, "thy rod and thy staff they comfort me" it to me seems to come retrospectively from a repentant heart after being disciplined. He, David, also says "it's good that you (God) chasten/discipline me, for in my abundance I stray". Personally I can relate to the David's and Cephas' more than the Daniel's and John's of the scripture as myself being prone to stray I needed and am grateful for the physical discipline I received.
While I do share your concerns that physical discipline can be wrongly employed my experience is the opposite of sister Sandra's in that those who do "spank" generally have the better behaved, more respectful children. Honestly you can't give/teach what you yourself don't have/practice so perhaps is not so much wether one employs physical discipline as it is wether they themselves model an honest discipline for their children. If a child sees their parents faith/reliance upon God they will more than likey seek Him themselves. Which is another way of saying, you can't make a disciple unless you are one and if you are one you're making disciples wether you meant to or not. This is not to suggest a passive teaching method but rather to point out that people are watching and listening and we're all "parrots and monkeys", even Jesus- "the son can do nothing in and of himself but all things are of the Father. The son doesn't say anything he hasn't heard the Father say (parrot) the son doesn't do anything he hasn't seen the Father do (monkey). If you've seen the son, you've seen the Father for the Father and I are one".
While there are 100's of millions of voices to listen to and repeat, and 100's of millions of images to watch and imitate,...there is only one true God and only by listening to Him and imitating Him will we be conformed into the image of His son.
And if physical discipline isn't in your heart then you can always use my tried and true method and just talk them to death;) about 30 mins into a verbal approach mine will sometimes ask, "can we just get a spanking instead" hahaha!
Btw I really like your name on here LoveMeekHope, those three attributes will serve you, your children and most certainly your God in parenting your precious lil ones:)


 2015/4/19 19:47Profile

Joined: 2009/4/5
Posts: 2010
Joplin, Missouri


Proverbs 23:13-14
Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you strike him with a rod, he will not die. If you strike him with the rod, you will save his soul from Sheol.

I think we need to be careful with Biblical interpretation, especially where the issue at hand can be one that we perhaps have strong emotions for one reason or another. It is fairly easy to say that the term "rod" means something other than a stick, paddle, or similar device, but it is much harder to support that viewpoint Biblically where disciplining children is concerned. The scripture form Proverbs above would define what rod means when it pertains to other scriptures dealing with the rod and our children. I don't think there is any room to interpret it as anything other than a physical rod. To do otherwise really stretches scripture.

There is an interesting verse in Romans 7 that might have something to do with this topic. Paul said that he was alive without the law once, but when the law came, sin revived and he died. When our children are young, they do not have the understanding that their behavior is sin and that it is violating the law of God. So, we must be the law in our children's lives. The law had varied punishments meted out for failure to obey. We also must discipline our children so that they learn to obey the law. My three year old grandson does not understand that he was born in sin or that his nature drives him to sin. He does understand that if he lies to his father he will be spanked. So in the same way that the penalties of the OT law restrained sin in an unregenerate nation, the penalty of spanking restrains sin in the heart and life of a little one.

Spanking cleanses the conscience of a child. My children would do something that they knew was wrong. I would know something was wrong by the change in their demeanor. When I found out, I would talk to them about their wrong, and then calmly spank them. They would ask for forgiveness and I would very clearly and explicitly grant that forgiveness. Almost every time this happened, their demeanor became sweet and pleasant again and we often had a most wonderful time of fellowship in the minutes or hours immediately following the spanking. The conscience had been cleansed and fellowship had been restored.

As a child ages, the frequency of spanking should decrease....I have to leave for a bit. More later.


 2015/4/20 10:24Profile

Joined: 2009/4/5
Posts: 2010
Joplin, Missouri


The goal would be, I think, to so train the child that spankings would be increasingly unnecessary as early as possible and that the child should begin to develop the strength of character to resist on his own. If we do our job right, hopefully the child will also receive Christ at a fairly young age and have the help of the Holy Spirit. At some point the consequences that we mete out will transition from spanking to other equally effective consequences. We must know our children well, spend much time in relationship with them, and learn how to deal with them in a way that is most effective.

We reserved spanking for the big offenses and used other methods for the lesser things. For example, they were not allowed to come to the dinner table until they had completed their daily chores. It only took a few instances of eating cold food to convince them to take up the responsibility on their own. It was really quite effective. But when they lied to me, I spanked.

Spanking should be done in such a way that the child clearly understands that his parent lives him and desires to point him in the right direction. It should NEVER be done in anger, nor should ANY other form of correction. If I was ever angry, I delayed any form of discipline until I knew that I was in the right spirit of love in my discipline. I also tried to be totally consistent. If a certain behavior warranted a spanking, it warranted that consequence EVERY time it occurred. It is inconsistency in the parent that leads to pushing the limits and frustration in the child.


 2015/4/20 11:26Profile

 Re: Discipline

Okay, since this study is fairly important to me but I'm also very busy, I'll probably update once a week or so, Lord willing.

turn said: Soldiers and athletes discipline themselves for high achievement. Should the people of the Alpha and Omega do any less?

The way you use discipline is very different than most in this thread but it's worth mentioning. The way you use it is like saying 'self control, regimented, methodical'. I've seen examples of this in scripture but I'm not sure what Hebrew/Greek word is used for it.

Although others are quoting other scriptures about 'rod of discipline'. I'd like to say, I don't know how to look at those verses.

I'm not a Shepard, nor an ancient Israelite. So, I'm not going to assume I know what that means. I will, hopefully, but the end of this study, know what it means in detail.

But what I've established so far is that 'discipline' means to teach. HOW to teach is my next question and you all allude to various scriptures and principles. I look forward to continue the discussion.

 2015/4/20 22:44

Joined: 2004/7/7
Posts: 7504

 Re: Discipline


It appears to me you already have made up your mind what you want to believe and wish others to affirm that. You want to dismiss the practice of "physically reprimanding", using "Strongs" to dismantle this concept. But you want scripture to be used to affirm what you believe. Good idea.

May I suggest you approach the WORD with the goal of trying to understand who God is, what is he like, how does he function, how does he deal with his children, the disobedient, the wicked. You can begin by reading Genesis and go all the way through to Revelation. Do not argue with scripture - allow it to teach you.

I do not want to tell you what you will find but you will find a writer whose first half of the book is filled with judgments upon nations and the last half filled with promises and mercy. Some scholars think this book was written by two different people because the tone is so different. Let me tell you I believe it was written by one man under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. God is merciful to the repentant but the wicked, the disobedient will be the objects of his wrath.

Study the WORD asking the LORD to speak to you and you will find your preconceived ideas dismantled, being replaced by God's will. And....much as I like Strong's, I suggest you lay it aside for the duration of this study; it can get you all bogged down...if there are questions, make a note of them and keep on going. In his time the Holy Spirit will answer them. I know, been there done that and am still there doing that!

And...once you learn the nature of God, how will this impact you as you live and work on this planet? Good questions that will be answered if it is pursued.

God bless!


Sandra Miller

 2015/4/23 10:48Profile

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