Christianity,  Theology/Bible

Should Christians spank their children?

Andy Naselli has a really good article about spanking in the most recent Journal of Discipleship & Family Ministry. It’s titled “Training children for their good,” and Naselli argues that the Bible supports the use of spanking as a legitimate form of discipline. There is careful discussion of the relevant biblical texts, especially the Proverbs. If you’re looking for a solid, biblically formed position paper on spanking, you need to read this.

Andy Naselli, “Traing children for their good” JDFM 3.2 (2013): 48-64.


  • Samuel Martin

    Why do you, a gentile Christian, seem to attach so much importance to the book of Proverbs and your interpretation of its supposed advocacy for spanking, when St. Paul, a Jewish Christian, when advising gentiles in his own day did not in any way refer to the texts in Proverbs that you and Andy are here putting forward? Paul’s advocacy for the texts you all are trumpeting for Christians today in favor of spanking does not exist. Why do you choose to ignore his example, especially in Ephesians 6:4 and also especially when Paul never refers to Proverbs 10:13; 13:23,24; 19:18; 23;13,14, etc. ? Does Andy address I Corinthians 4:21? I don’t think so because it is a very uncomfortable text for his arguments.

  • Don Johnson

    Application 6 (Fathers take the lead in discipline) relies on translation choices to try to make its point. The point is that translations can also validly choose to translate the Greek word translated sometimes as fathers as parents and then his argument falls apart.

    I also recommend William Webb’s book on corporal punishment, as he shows how Scripture gets muted in this area by various methods. He (and I) agree that it SHOULD be muted, but some think they are the only ones being Scriptural when there is actually a broad range of understandings possible in this area of what Scripture teaches about discipline of children.

  • buddyglass

    IMO it’s hard to argue biblically that believers are forbidden from employing corporal punishment. By the same token, it’s hard to argue biblically that believers are required to employ it. Obviously we’re required to discipline our children in some form or fashion.

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