Summary: When it comes to discipline, it’s easier to let things slide. No parent wants more stress, and spanking a child raises the stress level. You will do yourself and your child a great favor by lovingly applying the rod of correction when it is needed.
This is the second message in a series called, “No, that’s NOT in the Bible!” There is an alarming amount of biblical ignorance in our churches today. For fun, let’s take a quick Bible Knowledge Test. Here are twelve familiar phrases, put a check mark beside the ones you think are found in the Bible. Good Luck!
“Ashes to ashes; dust to dust”
“The apple of my eye”
“Eat, drink, and be merry”
“Like mother, like daughter”
“Eat sour grapes”
“The prodigal son”
“A drop in the bucket”
“The Lord’s Prayer”
“This, too, shall pass”
“Confession is good for the soul”
“Honesty is the best policy”
“The skin of my teeth”
The six phrases found in the Bible are: (1) “the apple of my eye” Zechariah 2:8; (2) “eat drink, and be merry” (Luke 12:19); (3) “like mother, like daughter” (Ezekiel 16:44); (4) “eat sour grapes” (Ezekiel 18:2); (5) “a drop in the bucket” (Isaiah 40:15); (6) “the skin of my teeth” (Job 19:20). How’d you do?
Truthfully, you don’t have to know everything about the Bible to be a Christian. I heard about a guy in Smith County who had no Christian background, but he wanted to join a church. At the first church they told him before he could join he had to answer the Bible question, “Where was Jesus born?” The guy was clueless about Jesus, so he answered, “Longview.” The pastor laughed at him and told him he couldn’t join. He went to another church wanting to join, and they asked him the same question, “Where was Jesus born?” This time he gave a different answer and said, “Tyler.” Wrong again. He visited a third church and said to the pastor, “I tried joining two other churches and they made me answer a Bible question before I could join, do you require that?” The pastor said, “No, you don’t have to answer a Bible question to join our church. We open our arms to anyone, and we want to teach you what the Bible says.” The man said, “Great, this is my kind of church–I want to join! But while I’m here can I ask you a Bible question?” The pastor said, “Sure.” He said, “Can you tell me where Jesus was born?” “Why, He was born in Palestine.” the pastor said. The man slapped his head and said, “I was close–I knew it was somewhere here in East Texas!”
You may be like that guy. You may not know where to find the book of Proverbs without looking in the Table of Contents–that’s okay. You’re in the right place–our job is to teach you what the Bible does say.
If you really want to know the Bible it will help you discover many of the popular sayings people think are in the Bible really aren’t there. Most folks think they’re quoting the Bible when they say, “Spare the rod; spoil the child.” But you won’t find it in the Bible. While the Bible teaches the importance of loving discipline, that phrase doesn’t appear.
In my studies, I’ve attempted to find the origin of all these sayings. The first time this aphorism appears in print is in a long satirical poem called “Hudibras” written in the 1663 by English poet Samuel Butler. The poem, which fills up an entire book, is a satirical attack on hyper-legalistic Puritanism. Butler writes: What med’cine else can cure the fits / Of lovers when they lose their wits? / Love is a boy by poets stil’d; / Then spare the rod and spoil the child. (Hudibras, part 2, canto 1, lines 841-844).
The current version of the saying is probably based on Proverbs 13:24: “He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.” In our 21st century, post-modern culture, it is not a popular subject, but we cannot escape that the Bible says “sparing the rod” does much worse than spoiling a child–it demonstrates the parents actually hate child! So, for all the parents, grandparents, and children, let’s see what the Bible says about using the rod of correction in raising children.
I. PRACTICAL GUIDELINES FOR BIBLICAL DISCIPLINE
Parenting is the only profession that when you finally have enough maturity and experience to do it well, you find yourself out of a job. That’s probably why grandparents often make great parents, and in our culture, we’re seeing a growing number of grandparents who have the primary responsibility of raising children.
Any parent who has more than one child would agree parenting attitudes change between the first and the last child. Here’s a humorous look at the way maternal attitudes change with multiple children:
1st baby: You begin wearing maternity clothes as soon as your doctor confirms your pregnancy. 2nd baby: You wear your regular clothes for as long as possible.