How Parents Should Approach Physical Discipline | Watch This Episode on YouTube


Related Messages

How Parents Should Approach Physical Discipline

If you’d like to learn more about parenting, raising children up in the admonition of the Lord, and godly discipline, consider listening to the following sermons from the Word of God exposited by Dr. Caldwell:


Parents and Children

Christian Parents - Pt. 1 & Pt. 2

Children and Parents

No Chance To Repent

God's Word For The Weary

The Lord is My Shepherd

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How Parents Should Approach Physical Discipline

How Parents Should Approach Physical Discipline

This week on the Straight Truth Podcast, Dr. Richard Caldwell and host Dr. Josh Philpot discuss the discipline of children, specifically the often controversial use of physical discipline through spanking. Verses in the book of Proverbs speak of using a rod for disciplining. Are these verses instructing parents in spanking their children? Since these verses are in the Old Testament are they even applicable to Christians? Are there New Testament passages that affirm and confirm discipline by spanking? Aren’t we teaching our children to hit and that hitting is okay by spanking them? Therefore, is spanking appropriate?

Dr. Caldwell begins by stating he believes these kinds of questions are asked because we do not rightly conceive what physical discipline with children should look like. He shares with us that some would say the passages that use the word rod in the book of Proverbs are emblematic. Hence it's only a metaphor for right guidance, instruction, and teaching, so the Bible isn’t really teaching a physical discipline. Quoting Proverbs 23:13-14, he explains how this just isn’t the case. He next tells us that taking biblical teaching as a whole and practicing sanctified common sense will help us know what physical discipline is meant for and for what it is not.

Love Our Children

We are taught to love our children, not to exasperate them, and not to be harsh but to be gentle towards them. We’re commanded to bring up our children in the admonition of the Lord, teaching and instructing them in the ways of God all day, every day. So the main component in the training of our children is verbal instruction. But when they violate the will of their parents and do it in a way that is rebellious and challenging of their authority, then there is a place, not only for verbal discipline but also for physical discipline to restrain their disobedience. The reason for this – it’s about teaching our children that disobedience brings painful consequences.

Dr. Caldwell gives instructions about how parents should approach physical discipline with their children. Reminding us of the importance that spanking should never be reactive, but proactive, never in anger but always in love. He assures us if we follow these guidelines we will not be teaching our children to hit, nor that hitting is okay. In the physical disciplining of our children, we are teaching them that there are consequences for disobedience.

The spiritual element of this is that there are deadly consequences for sin. As we discipline our children early on we rescue them serious and painful consequences that increase as sin increases. If we love and care about our children’s soul there is a component to restraining evil that takes place as we aim to shepherd their heart. We pray for our children to learn what the Psalmist in Psalm 23 says about God’s rod and staff bringing comfort to him.

The Discipline of The Lord

Lastly, Dr. Caldwell says it’s true to say that these passages that have been mentioned are all from the Old Testament. But there are passages of Scripture in the New Testament that reflect back on and even echo the Old Testament concept of discipline and they make the same application. One passage that is more clear that others is Hebrews 12. Here it discusses the discipline of the Lord; the text makes clear that God chastises every son whom He receives. The word that is used there, in the discipline process, chastises, is the word for scourging (12:6). The text goes on to speak of discipline as painful in the moment it's administered, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness(12:11).

Dr. Caldwell tells us that this world is full of its own punishments and that sin is its own worst avenger. We want to spare our children from this by loving them with both instruction and discipline. This will, at times, include physical discipline, for both the consequence of disobedience and for the restraining of evil. For as Hebrews 12:10 says, God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in His holiness, the holiness without which no one will see the Lord(Heb. 12:14).

About The Straight Truth Podcast

The Straight Truth Podcast: Christian Opinions in an Increasingly Secular World. Join Dr. Richard Caldwell, Dr. Josh Philpot, and their guests as they discuss news events, current affairs, and cultural issues from a Biblical point of view. Find the truth at

The Straight Truth Podcast is a weekly opinion show hosted by Dr. Richard Caldwell and Dr. Josh Philpot. Straight Truth is available as an audio podcast on iTunes or as a video podcast through YouTube or Vimeo.  The duration of the podcast is approximately 10 minutes. We release new episodes every Thursday.

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Season 11 Credits

Produced by
Juan Carlos Claveria

Executive Producers
Joshua Philpot
David Anders

Hosted by
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