Hi all. As I was reading this post I couldn't stop thinking about it and I wanted to find out for myself some biblical backing and explinations. I do study the bible and know it somewhat (not nearly good enough) I hope this doesn't offend anyone but I thought it had some excellent reasoning on what the bible has to say and it might answer zebrabellys quest for finding out some scriptures. Its a bit long so I do apologize about that.
What I found was this....
THE BIBLE’S mention of “the rod of discipline” ignites fiery controversy. This is understandable, for each year thousands of children die as a direct result of physical abuse by a parent. Perhaps this is why one Bible commentary passes off the Bible’s sanction of physical punishment as merely a “culturally conditioned opinion.”
Are its comments on “the rod of discipline” unreasonable? It is important to examine “the rod” in its context. To illustrate: The individual pieces of a jigsaw puzzle make little sense. It is only after fitting them together that one can see the whole picture. Likewise, “the rod” is just one piece of the puzzle. To see the full picture, we must fit “the rod” in with other Bible principles related to discipline.
Does the Bible endorse only physical punishment? Consider the following advice:
• “Never drive your children to resentment.”
• “Don’t over-correct your children, or you will take all the heart out of them.”
These are two scriptures found at Ephesians 6:4 and Colossians 3:21.
Yes, the Bible’s viewpoint is reasonable. It acknowledges that physical punishment is usually not the most effective teaching method. Proverbs 8:33 says, “Listen to discipline” not, ‘Feel discipline.’ And Proverbs 17:10 points out that “a rebuke works deeper in one having understanding than striking a stupid one a hundred times.”
The word “rod” is translated from the Hebrew word she´vet. To the Hebrews, she´vet meant a stick or a staff, such as that used by a shepherd. In this context the rod of authority suggests loving guidance, not harsh brutality.
She´vet is often used symbolically in the Bible, representing authority. When referring to parental authority, “the rod” does not refer exclusively to physical punishment. It encompasses all forms of discipline, which most often need not be physical. And when physical discipline is employed, it is usually because other methods have proved unsuccessful. Proverbs 22:15 says that foolishness is “tied up” (“anchored,” NJB; “deep-rooted,” The New English Bible) with the heart of the one receiving physical discipline. More than mere childish frivolity is involved.
In the Bible, discipline is consistently linked with love and mildness, not with anger and brutality. The skillful counselor should be “gentle toward all, . . . restrained under evil, instructing with mildness those not favorably disposed.”—2 Timothy 2:24, 25.
Therefore, discipline is not an emotional outlet for the parent. Rather, it is a method of instruction. As such, it should teach an erring child. When administered in anger, physical discipline teaches the wrong lesson. It serves the need of the parent, not that of the child.
Furthermore, effective discipline has boundaries. This is especially vital to remember when administering physical discipline. Hitting or shaking an infant can lead to brain damage or even death. Going beyond the intended purpose of discipline—to correct and to teach—may lead to child abuse.
Discipline should not leave a child feeling abandoned. Rather, the child should sense that the parent is ‘with him’ as a loving, supportive encouragement. If physical discipline is deemed necessary, the child should understand why. Proverbs 29:15 says that “the rod and reproof are what give wisdom.”
It is a sad fact that today many use “the rod” of parental authority abusively. Yet, fault cannot be found with the Bible’s balanced principles. When we consider “the rod” in its context, we see that it serves to teach children, not to abuse them.