Corporal punishment in the Bible
There are several references to corporal punishment in the Bible. Practically all speak in favor of corporal punishment, which was at the time of writing (Antiquity, pre-Roman and Roman era) a common method both in childraising and in the judicial corporal punishment of lawbreakers.
Modern Christians debate about the right interpretation of these references, since we now live in an era where corporal punishment has acquired largely negative connotations of cruelty and abuse. Simplified speaking, liberal Christians tend to take these verse metaphorically nowadays, whereas conservative Christians tend to take them literally and use them to argue pro-spanking and against laws that illegalize spanking.
Conservative Christians who argue for spanking based on biblical scripture may forget that the Bible also advises that a stubborn and rebellious son shall be to be put to death by stoning (Deuteronomy 21:18-21).
The following examples are from the King James Version of the Bible.
- 21:18 If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them:
- 21:19 Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place;
- 21:20 And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard.
- 21:21 And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear.
- 25:1 If there be a controversy between men, and they come unto judgment, that the judges may judge them; then they shall justify the righteous, and condemn the wicked.
- 25:2 And it shall be, if the wicked man be worthy to be beaten, that the judge shall cause him to lie down, and to be beaten before his face, according to his fault, by a certain number.
- 25:3 Forty stripes he may give him, and not exceed: lest, if he should exceed, and beat him above these with many stripes, then thy brother should seem vile unto thee.
- 7:14 I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men.
- 3:11 My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction:
- 3:12 For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.
- 12:1 Whoso loveth instruction loveth knowledge: but he that hateth reproof is brutish.
- 13:24 He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.
- 19:18 Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.
- 19:29 Judgments are prepared for scorners, and stripes for the back of fools.
- 22:15 Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.
- 26:3 A whip for the horse, a bridle for the ass, and a rod for the fool's back.
- 29:15 The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.
- 29:17 Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul.
- 12:5 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:
- 12:6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.
- 12:7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?
- 12:8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.
- 12:9 Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?
- Spanking and religion
- Spare the rod and spoil the child
- Tedd Tripp: Shepherding a Child's Heart
- The Alphabet of Ben-Sira