What Are the True Meanings of the Words Discipline, Child, & Rod in Proverbs?

“If we want to understand what biblical discipline truly looks like, we need to look at Jesus, and we need to see how Jesus disciplined his disciples.” -Angela Harders.

In this second part of the two-part episode series, Angela continues to share her wisdom regarding the controversial passage, Proverbs 23:13-14, that states, “Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish them with the rod, they will not die. Punish them with the rod and save them from death.” Angela explains how the four proverbs (this verse included) were written by King Solomon, addressing his sons in hopes of training them to one day be King. The book of Proverbs is meant to address adults; it is not a parenting guide for toddlers.

Proverbs 1 states right from the beginning, ‘these are the proverbs of Solomon;’ these are NOT commandments from God!

The word “child” in Hebrew refers to a legal adult that is typically between the ages of 13 and 17, and people in this age group were considered adults back in ancient times. Therefore, if there are any claims of a child being punished with a rod, it is for committing a crime and about a legal adult. The word “rod” is meant to be a figurative rod in many circumstances throughout the Bible – it is not always meant to be a physical rod.

But one thing we know for sure; the Bible never tells us as parents to hit our children with rods!

Angela also discusses some tools to help you interact with your children the way Jesus interacted with his disciples, such as modeling, teaching, showing compassion, forgiveness, and correction. She also elaborates on the benefits of giving children a choice instead of giving them commands. This technique removes the power and control dynamics of a child wanting to argue back. It also empowers the child to make decisions and become a better critical thinker.

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