Thoughts on Spanking

James Dobson, Dare to Discipline, (pg. 197)

This recommendation has troubled some people, leading them to claim that the “rod” was not a paddle, but a measuring stick with which to evaluate the child. The following passage was included expressly for those who were confused on that point.

5. Proverbs 23:13-14 “Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell” (KJV). [Emphasis Dobson’s]

Certainly, if the “rod” is a measuring stick, you now know what to do with it!

Charles R. Swindoll, You and Your Child, (pgs. 87,89-92)

In the Old Testament, there are two main words for correction—two major concepts.

This passage uses the first term. A transliteration of the actual Hebrew term would be yahsaar. “He who spares his rod hates his son; but he who loves him yahsaars him diligently.” He pursues this with a longing in his heart. The word yahsaar means “to chastise.” It implies the use of the rod. It means corporal punishment. It is a term that is rather harsh.

God could have told parents to use any other method. But He mentions “the rod.” It may not be popular nor considered an appropriate method, but spankings—properly and consistently administered—will drive foolishness out of your child’s life. There’s the solution!

When you read the words “beat him with the rod,” you must realize it’s talking about the use of an implement, a rod, for the sake of driving foolishness from the heart of the child. It’s not talking about child-battering, I repeat.

I decided it would be better for my wife and me to use an object that was not associated with us; that is, not a part of our bodies. We began to use a paddle about the size of a ping-pong paddle.

If God had wanted it to be a hand, He would have said “h-a-n-d.” But all the way through Proverbs, the book on how to handle life at home, it’s always the rod.

Susannah Wesley, The Journal of John Wesley - The Mother of the Wesleys

“When turned a year old (and some before), they were taught to fear the rod and to cry softly; by which means they escaped abundance of correction they might otherwise have had; and that most odious noise of the crying of children was rarely heard in the house, but the family usually lived in as much quietness as if there had not been a child among them.”

Tedd Tripp, Shepherding a Child’s Heart, (pgs. 106, 108-109)

The Rod is given for this extremity. “Punish him [a child] with the rod and save his soul from death” (Proverbs 23:14). Your children’s souls are in danger of death—spiritual death. Your task is to rescue your children from death. Faithful and timely use of the rod is the means of rescue.

God has commanded the use of the rod in discipline and correction of children. It is not the only thing you do, but it must be used. He has told you that there are needs within your children that require the use of the rod. If you are going to rescue your children from death, if you are going to root out the folly that is bound up in their hearts, if you are going to impart wisdom, you must use the rod.

The rod is the careful, timely, measured and controlled use of physical punishment.

Elizabeth Elliot, The Raising of a Christian Family, (pg. 134)

A spanking is not child abuse. It is a deliberate measure of pain, delivered calmly, lovingly, and with self-control, on a loved child in order to deliver him from self-will and ultimate self-destruction. This is how God treats sons.

From her parenting transcripts:

And by spanking, I mean somethingthat does hurt enough to make them cry…

And myidea about spanking is also based on Scripture. The Book of Proverbs speaks of the use of a rod.

John MacArthur, What the Bible Says about Parenting, (pgs. 84, 153)

Note carefully that those verses expressly make corporal punishment—the rod—an essential part of parental discipline.

But as we noted in an earlier chapter, Scripture does nonetheless prescribe the rod of discipline as a necessary aspect of parenting.

Richard Fugate, What the Bible Says about Child Training, (pg. 137,138)

Why must we use a rod to chastise our children? The first and only reason that should be necessary is because God’s Word says to use a rod.

The use of the rod is best because it is a neutral object, not like the hand, which is a part of the person.

Michael and Debi Pearl, To Train up a Child, (pg. 36,45)

The God who made children tells parents that the rod is an indispensable training tool.

Don’t think of the rod as a weapon of defense or a show of force; think of the rod as a “magic wand.” Parents who for the first time see its restorative powers are amazed.

Garry & Anne Marie Ezzo, Growing Kids God’s Way, (pg. 191-197)

Our society calls it spanking; the Bible calls it chastisement. Chastisement means to inflict pain with controlled force on an individual to amend an inner attitude.

Context and common sense point to the use of a neutral instrument that has some flex to it for chastisement.

Dennis and Barbara Rainey, Improving Your Parenting (HomeBuilders Parenting SeriesTM), (pg. 69)

We don’t believe we should ignore a biblical concept just because some people don’t apply it well.

We define spanking as a “measured amount of pain” administered to a child to break the will but not the spirit.

When you determine your child needs to be spanked…use an object that will not harm.

John A. Stormer, Growing Up God’s Way, (pgs. 70,72)

First of all, spanking is not just permitted by the Bible—it is required.

The scripture says that “a rod” is to be used. This could be interpreted to be something like a switch…a parent’s hand can be a lethal weapon.