Does God Scourge Us? 7 Reasons to say “No!”

flogging_smMuch of what we believe about discipline in the church is informed by the old covenant. For instance, if you think God’s discipline entails punishment in any shape or form, you’re living in the past. You haven’t seen the cross (Is 53:5).

Think about it. If the cross was the once and final solution for sin Hebrews says it is, then you would not expect to find any scriptures in the new covenant linking sin with divine punishment. And indeed, there are none – except this one:

For those whom the Lord loves he disciplines, and he scourges every son whom he receives. (Heb 12:6, NASB)

As we saw in our last post, this may be a badly mangled New Testament quote of an Old Testament proverb. It’s like reading Martin Luther King’s I have a dream speech in Chinese and finding the last line says, “Thank God almighty, we are not free at all!” It’s jarring, it’s wrong, and it runs totally against the context.

Am I saying the Bible is wrong? No, we don’t have to go that far.

As I explained last time, my best guess is the problem was introduced during translation. I am convinced that the author of Hebrews had a profound revelation of God with-no-whip. The picture he gives us is of a good God sitting on a throne of grace offering us grace and mercy in our time of need (Heb 4:16). And when we go astray – what happens then? Does God come charging after us with a whip? No, he deals with us gently (Heb 5:2) as a loving father deals with his sons (Heb 12:8). The suggestion that God metaphorically rips shreds off us with a flagellum is slanderous and ridiculous.

To help you settle this in your own mind, I want to give you…

7 reasons why God never scourges his children

1. In the Bible, the word for scourge (mastigoō) appears in 7 times in 7 verses. In every verse apart from Hebrews 12:6 it is associated with unjust punishment inflicted by the unjust upon the just – either Jesus (Mt 20:19, Mar 10:34, Lu 18:33, Joh 19:1) or those who follow him (Mat 10:7, 23:34). Given this context, to say that a God scourges his sons implies that God acts like the unjust, which he doesn’t.

2. The context of Hebrews 12 is being persecuted for the faith (see Hebrews 11). There is something twisted in telling a group of believers facing the threat of scourging that God is the one scourging them. The author writes to encourage them (Heb 12:3,5). Hearing that God is the one persecuting you is not encouraging. It’s discouraging. It doesn’t fit the context.

Jacky's confused3. Nor does it make any sense. If God scourges us then the hurts of Heb 12:11 are the hurts of his scourging. But the actual hurts being experienced were the hurts of persecution, not sickness or anything you might wrongly accuse God of giving you. Believers have always been persecuted for the gospel and sometimes that persecution takes the form of flogging (see Heb 11:36). To read Heb 12:6 as scourging is like saying, “God is punishing you for believing in him.”

4. In Biblical times, scourging was reserved for slaves and criminals, not sons and citizens. Jesus and Paul were both unjustly scourged. Paul never says, “I was scourged for my good.” Instead, he resisted scourging (Acts 22:25), as should every free man and woman.

5. Hebrews 12 says God disciplines or trains us as a father. I don’t know any father, good or bad, who scourges his kids the way the Romans scourged Jesus. It’s a metaphor that doesn’t apply at any level. God doesn’t train us with whips. He nurtures us. The Biblical picture of godly fathering is this: “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Eph 6:4, KJV). Scourging is not nurturing.

6. There was one father in the Bible who was famous for using whips and rods, and that was Solomon. We know he used the rod of correction because he tells us in Proverbs (13:24, 22:15, 23:14-15, 29:15). Solomon evidently had old-school views regarding corporal punishment yet even he didn’t whip his sons. He said whips were for horses (Prov 26:3). I’ve had people tell me they won’t respond to God unless he whips them. That’s like saying, “I’m as dumb as a horse.”

7. Jesus met plenty of people in need of correction and discipline. How many of those people did Jesus scourge? How many did he afflict with pain, sickness, trials, or suffering? Zero. If Jesus was ever going to whip someone, he might’ve whipped the Pharisees, but he didn’t. He even said the Pharisees belonged to their father the devil (Joh 8:44). If God won’t scourge the devil’s kids, he surely won’t whip his own.

The terrifying God of Hebrews

There are 303 verses in Hebrews and, in my opinion, 99.7% of them were translated into Greek more or less accurately. Why am I so worked up about one solitary verb? Because a whip-toting monster-of-a-god has been created on the basis of that one verb!

God is dangerous enough without us adding to the Bible. For those who reject his grace Hebrews describes him as a “consuming fire” (Heb 12:29), and warns that “it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Heb 10:31).

Am I trying to balance my words by painting God as both loving and terrifying, as though he were double-minded? No – I’m saying that a perfect God cannot coexist with imperfect man and the only way we can relate to him is through his free and perfect grace. Those who try to approach God on their own imperfect merits will find him unaccommodating and consequently terrifying.

The Hebrews of old knew this – they had seen this consuming God at the untouchable Mount Sinai when the old covenant was given. They were terrified and wouldn’t draw near. But we have not returned to Mount Sinai. We have come to Mount Zion and to Jesus the mediator of a new and better covenant (Heb 12:24).

To make sense of Hebrews, you need to understand that it sends two messages to two kinds of people.

(i) For those uncertain about the grace of God, the message is: “See to it that you don’t refuse the one who speaks” (Heb 12:25). Through the book of Hebrews God draws the ungodly to himself, urging them to abandon the sinking ship of self-sufficiency and to enter his rest.

(ii) For those who have already entered, the message is “Draw near – approach the throne of grace with confidence” (Heb 4:14).

small_hammerBut the ungodly won’t come in and the saint won’t draw near if they believe God is waiting for them with a whip of scourging. That is not the gospel and it is not the message of Hebrews.

Related posts:
Conviction vs correction
What if I disappoint God?
10 myths about the ministry of the Holy Spirit

Comments

  1. Jason Emmanuel says:

    “Jesus met plenty of people in need of correction and discipline. How many of those people did Jesus scourge?” “And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables.” ~Jn 2:15

    Not that I disagree with the main point of the article… though I’m not sure I entirely agree either. I’m new to your site and have really benefited from reading your thoughts on Scripture, just going to have to pray about this one and do some more studying perhaps.
    God bless you brother, Jason

    • Good to meet you Jason. I grew up in a farming town and I can tell you cattle can be hard to move without a sharp whack on their rears. I reckon that’s what the whip of cords was for. There’s no record Jesus ever struck anyone with anything. He’s was more likely to turn the other cheek. But when it comes to clearing the merchants out of the temple, nothing would be more effective than a herd of stampeding oxen.

      • Jason Emmanuel says:

        Good point, I didn’t make the connection with the oxen. The cracking whip probably also served to give the money-changers a scare, along with the stampeding oxen… but you are correct it does not say He actually struck them, only “drove” them out… I love how significant little details can be in Scripture and how we can easily let our imagination inject something into the story that wasn’t there (as I just did).

        Nonetheless, I’m still not entirely sure that God does not use the “rod” to correct His children… I don’t think Solomon was wrong about that being a good means of correction, he had great wisdom… Psalm 23: “The Lord is my Shepherd… His rod and staff comfort me.” I think I’ve felt that rod more than a few times since I’ve joined His flock, and although it might not feel good at the moment, it is comforting to know He’s watching out for me and has my best interest in mind. Perhaps my interpretation is off though, I will pray about it. Love your site, God bless!

  2. my observation here has to be, it bothers me to think how people can think that ALMIGHTY GOD,does not have the ability to discipline his children john 18:6 When Jesus said, “I am he,” they drew back and FELL TO THE GROUND. Joesph prince makes the observation that he simply said [I AM HE],the great I AM, The simple act of saying who he was brought them to there knees,you would certainly think,that someone who could bring people to there knees, with his name could discipline his children easy enough,and the kicker is he waited for them to get up and arrest him.

  3. Marc Abraham says:

    Paul, thank you for taking the time to tackle this one – you are 100% correct, this is very specifically a variant translation from Hebrew. I also believe it to me a mistranslation. Keep in mind that Hebrew didn’t have spacings between letters, and no vowels. The relevant letter sequence is “כאב”. Now, watch this. If you parse it as “כ אב” (ke ab) – you get “like father”. If you parse it “כאב” (kaab) – you get “he spoiled, wasted, marred, ulcerated” in 3rd person singular. In around 3rd century BC a committee of scholars made their choice when translating Hebrew into Greek. Much later groups of scholars translating original Hebrew into modern languages chose a different translation for Prov. 3:12, but still stuck with the Septuagint variant for Hebrews 12:6, even though it’s the same exact verse. And there you have it. This variant translation, and the exact way it’s arrived at, is actually documented in Adam Clarke’s commentary on the verse.

    • Thanks Marc, that’s really interesting. I noted in my last post Adam Clarke’s thoughts on this. He leans towards the scourging interpretation. I respectfully disagree with him.

    • charismike says:

      Thanks from me too Marc, that is a very enlightening comment.

    • yes, thank you marc,its sounds like you may be well versed in the languages,this can be a great help,please hang around ,and paul I got to thinking about the cattle comparison, were sheep…………man a good scourge could kill a sheep,just sayin,and even though i am a pleasantly plumb sheep,that could tear me up.

  4. I think you are a heck of a good writer. When do you get the time to put all your thoughts down? It has only recently become clear to me that there are several different groups being addressed in the N.T. Greeks, romans, Jews, unbeliers in all categories, men, women even children and slaves. Pretty different messages. Gentiles didn’t even have the Old test. You are helping me to make sense IN CONTEXT.

  5. rev 21:4 says there will be no more death, sorrow, crying or pain – bc God has none of these things to give.

  6. Thanks Paul, oh I love this, what a work you done on this. Much appreciate, my church for the past two weeks was preaching on this and they silenced the people with fear. So this is so necessary, too many church are preaching from the OT. I love my church and brothers and sisters but hate the preaching man so thank you. I love that picz by the way of one of my favourite funny actors lol.

  7. As per usual, excellent writing and excellent explanations of difficult and controversial passages. Please keep it up, much appreciated.

  8. Colleen G. says:

    There are some thought provoking studies around the net about the “rod” verses in Proverbs. Just search “gentle parenting the rod verses” for a good collection of articles if anyone is interested in more study on the topic.

  9. I’m not fluent in Greek or Hebrew, but it doesn’t seem a stretch to me that there is a problem in the translation of this verse. As you know, this is a quote taken from Proverbs 3:11,12. The word scourge does not appear there, so something must have happened in the translation from Hebrew to Greek to English. That alone is convincing. Add to that, the basic gospel fact that Jesus took our punishment, our scourging on the cross (Isaiah 53) and it seems clear; the word scourge does not belong in the verse or in our relationship with our loving heavenly Father.

    • Brian Midmore says:

      But it is there. Not in proverbs maybe but it is in Hebrews. Are you saying is that the Holy Spirit when inspiring the author got it wrong?

      • No sir, I’m saying a possible problem with the translation. Such as, possibly a religious minded translator who added the word, thinking it needed to be there.

  10. Dear, The word correction involves rod, in the context of any eastern countries, which is just a flexible wooden stick used for spanking. But as an earthly father it hurts me more than my children, though it can never inflict any serious injuries than a few seconds of pain along with its mental shock. This practice is not because of the conservative way of thinking but used as the last after several oral warnings, only parents are the best source of correction as they know their children. I believe Solomon wrote Proverbs with the inspiration of Holy Spirit.
    I do believe that Jesus took all punishment for All, thus we will not be scourged anymore.

  11. This is how my heavenly Dad deals with me personally:

    “Fathers, do not irritate and provoke your children to anger [do not exasperate them to resentment], but rear them [tenderly] in the training and discipline and the counsel and admonition of the Lord.” – Ephesians 6:4

    He never irritates or provokes me to anger but trains, disciplines and cousels me tenderly.

    Amen

  12. Hebrews 12:25 is Speaking of obedience of faith. As The Scripture Say, …”that if you confess with your mouth JESUS As LORD, and believe in your heart that GOD Raised HIM From the dead, you shall be Saved; for with the heart man believes resulting in Righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in Salvation…” Romans 10:9-10. And we cannot call on The LORD JESUS CHRIST as our LORD And SAVIOUR, then live apart from HIS Teaching, that being, disobedience to It.The LORD’S Words in Luke 6, “And why do you call me, ‘LORD, LORD,’ and do not do what I Say?…” ( v46 ). HIS Word’s Spoken; The Gospel, Is What Will Judge At The Last Day ( John 12:44-50 ). And this we can only obey By The Power And Strength that GOD Supplies; By Grace through faith. Yes The FATHER Disciplines us, that we may share HIS Holiness ( Hebrews 12:10-11 ). Dying to the flesh cannot be a painless process ( 1 Peter 4:12-19 ). How can it be when we are in a Spiritual battle? ( Ephesians 6:10-20 ). But By Grace through faith we must, By The Power Of The HOLY SPIRIT ( Romans 8:12-14, 1 Peter 1:2, John 3:36, Hebrews 12:14, John 12:24-26, 1 Corinthians 15:34-50, 1 Peter 4:1-2 ).
    No, the Scourging in verse 6 is not literally a whip, but it is felt in the heart and spirit ( Psalm 51:17, Isaiah 66:1-2 ). And this Discipline is by no means painless ( v 11 ). Praise GOD!

  13. Heb 12:6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. [KJV] For ‘chasteneth’, Strongs gives us ‘to train up a child'; ‘to educate’. For ‘scourgeth’ we are given ‘to flog, literally or figuratively’. The thought that came to mind was that as we are educated by the Word of God, and have our mind renewed, we are figuratively ‘cleaned out spiritually’. So I agree with the mistranslation thoughts because of the context. Excellent thought provoking writing again Paul.

  14. We should be sure we are in line with God’s wisdom on this. There are many who are turned off to the gospel because we have presented a Jekyll and Hyde God to them. “He’s wonderful, He’s graceful, He’s loving, and He will tear you up if you miss the mark.” If we’re honest, that’s not an attractive message to the average Joe. I realize that doesn’t represent everyone’s view, but for the sake of all we should get it right on this. 

    Perhaps two types of sons are being discussed in Hebrews 12. Esau and the Mount Sinai, self righteous crowd and the Mount Zion crowd who look to Jesus as the author and finisher of our faith. In Hebrews 12:22, after having specifically mentioned the Esau crowd, the author seems to switch gears by saying “BUT YOU have come to Mount Zion” (emphasis mine :)). My thought is that perhaps what is being presented in this chapter is two ways of relating to God. The school of chastising, and also, God’s preferred way of looking to Jesus (we are transformed into His image as we behold His glory – 2 Cor. 2:18). The way of chastising will hopefully lead us to realize we can’t do it perfectly, but Jesus already has, so we look to Him. Some sons are relating to God according to the law, but you are His beloved who has received the gift of His righteousness.

  15. Paul, another great article – thank you. You have done a good job of discussing what the verse *doesn’t* mean. However, now I find myself wanting an alternative explanation for what the verse *does* mean. Perhaps in a follow-up post or here in the comments, you could elaborate on what your alternate rendering of the verse and it’s meaning would be? Thanks again.

  16. Amen Alex, has God stated to his earthly Shepherds to feed the sheep, not beat the sheep, how much more he.

  17. AMEN LJP, WAY TO GO

  18. The New International Version (and I thought I saw one other) that adds in verse 7, “endure hardship as discipline.” To me, I understood the “chastening of the Lord,” “discipline,” or even “scourging,” to be what life does to us. Because hardships befall us all, I understood the writer of Hebrews to be making it clear that God doesn’t DO mean stuff to us (or make us sick), life does that. Endure it AS discipline. He uses the stuff life throws at us for His good. Within that understanding, I have less of a problem even with the word “scourge.” Life can be pretty cruel. I can see it as strong (maybe even intentionally over the top) language to encompass all that this world has to offer.

  19. Either way, God’s chastening is not pleasant. The context of the scripture here is not discipling, but chastening. In context the scripture is not talking about discipling, but disciplining…

  20. My logic is that bad things happen to us, and the writer of Hebrews says to endure that AS discipline. He allows it to happen because it will change me into the kind of person he wants me to be. As someone said earlier, “scourge” here is a metaphor (maybe even hyperbole). Maybe this is the literature major in me, but I think it reflects my actual experience, meaning that some of the things I will go through in life are pretty rough. I’m not sure I’ve ever been through something that I would call “scourging,” but what if someone went in and shot all the kids in my daughter’s class? I know there would be a path through it that will change me to be more like God, and I would describe that as scourging. Does that make sense?

    • It makes sense Allen, but don’t you think that the metaphor could lead you to the notion that God scourges us, that he is somehow responsible for your daughter’s death? And can you see that that notion would not draw you closer to your heavenly Father?

      In the case of Hebrews, the actual hardships being endured were persecutions – believers were being persecuted for their faith in God. And sometimes that persecution took the form of actual scourging or flogging (see Heb 11:36). Can you see how messed up it is to imply, “You were scourged for trusting in God your Father and he was the one who scourged you”? Can you see how discouraging that is? My strong view is that Hebrews 12 was written to encourage, not discourage the saints who were being persecuted.

    • AllenW, that makes complete sense in that I understand what you said but I kind of find it a bit hard to swallow everything you said. There was a dreadful case in Nigeria I saw on TV,where by loads of Christrians, young, very young and the elderly, were worshipping in a building and Muslims I think, threw some fire bombs or something through the window I think and they heard them screaming like crazy and they all died. I don’t know man but that just don’t sound right but yea, terrible things can happen to us. If they die, it can not be for their good in this life but guess what happened, Many of the Muslims i heard were dying one by one mysteriously; and not by another hand and they came in fear to the Christians and spoke to them about it and God knows what happened. Yet Many would argue yea, thats why God wanted them to die, they had to save the Muslims but God is greater and bigger than that. I strongly believe that was not it when God said “with long life will I satisfy you and show you my salvation.” God cannot contridict himself. Theres a reason why that happened but I don’t think that was the reason; God is more clever than that. Yes thou, bad things can help us to understand what others are going through. I’ve been screwed alot by the system in the Uk and I discerned that God wanted me to understand the Babylon System, its a mystery Babylon cuz it is full of darkness and it is for the sake of understanding what others go through seeing as one of my gifts are meeting the needs of those through the health care system. I wish I had all the answers.

      Ye get me?

      God bless

      • Yes, FIFI, I think my post comes off as more simplistic than what I actually think. Probably more because I don’t want to write something too long. I guess, first, I would say that there may be no lesson in dying. (Who knows, maybe there is an effect on the person in heaven, having been martyred.) While your example is a horrific way to go, “death is gain” because it is to be with the Lord.
        My understanding is, first, that God doesn’t cause horrible things to happen, so I wouldn’t say wanted those Christians to die. Second, He uses these things to shape us. I don’t see a reason to differentiate between bad things that happen that teach us and other things that don’t teach us anything because their really bad. If we believe all things work together for good, it should be ALL things. I would like to think that if the worst happen that I would try to learn from it.
        Anyway, this is my current operating theory. As far as “scourging” specifically, I don’t buy the idea that God beats his children. I do think that some of us have been through things in our lives that we would read that scripture knowingly and think, “Boy, I know what he means by scourging!”

      • Yes AllenW, I do believe all things work together for our good; but I also believe that there was a specific reason why those Nigerian Believers died that horrible death; yes, good can come out of it but it was never God intention. Paul said something in the bible, having a desire to depart and be with the Lord or staying to benefit the saints. His faith and understaning was such, that the choice was his to make. Oh well, I am forever learning and knowledge is sweet to the soul.

        God bless you

  21. Hi Paul, I’ve just recently been introduced to your website and it’s been refreshing to read the perspective you have on a lot of seemingly misunderstood theology. I have a question about this one though, what are your thoughts on Ananias and Sapphira? Or the dude that had his stepmother in Corinthians? Both texts seem to be speaking of believers and the discipline that followed their sin, this seems pretty intense and my thought was that it was to put a certain fear among the church. Isn’t this what Paul spoke of in 1 Timothy “that others may also fear?” Just wondering what your take on these passages are. Is there a healthy fear that we as the church are to have?

    • Hi Pete and welcome! To find past posts, I recommend using the search box at the top of this page or the Subject Index. Your question about 1 Tim 5:20 – “Those (elders) who sin are to be rebuked publicly, so that the others may fear” – is a good one. I hadn’t thought of it before so I’m inspired to have a go and give you an off-the-cuff response.

      It is inconceivable that Paul is suggesting we use fear as a Big Stick. That’s old covenant-thinking and Paul made it plain that there is no condemnation in the new (Rom 8:1). Love casts out fear. So who are the “others” that need to be afraid? I think he is referring not to “elders” but to “sinning elders.” Note the word for rebuke is elegchō which means expose. Now where in the Bible is fear connected with being exposed? John 3:20-21 “Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed (elegchō). But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”

      So Jesus is saying there are evildoers who fear being exposed and there are truth-lovers who run into the light. Now a godly elder has nothing to fear. Even when he sins he is still God’s beloved son. Motivated by love he will repent and move on. But a wolf in sheep’s clothing has much to fear. So Paul is not preaching terror-based discipline. He’s saying, “Let’s turn on all the lights and see what happens. Those who love the light will be happy, and those who prefer the darkness will run and hide.”

    • I think your right-on about that Paul , j prince made the observation that it refers to Ananias and Sapphira as a certain MAN. [ But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property,and the man in corithians,if you notice it says,[so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord. I guess it could hinge on the word [may] be saved,but the greek implies that the mans spirit would be saved. .

    • Ananias and Sapphira were not believers. They lied about giving all they had to the church to get in on their provisions. This is an example of God protecting His children. It should not strike fear in the hearts of believers that they may be struck dead, but rather believers should be comforted by the extent our heavenly Father will go to protect us.

  22. the punishment that brought us peace was on HIM,

    says it all really… the punishment can’t be on us and him! He took it all so we don’t have to!

  23. Rev 2:22.
    I agree many view the Lord’s dealings wrong, but there is plenty of scripture to demonstrate punishment still happens. This verse, written to the church, says those believers who commit adultery with Jezebel will suffer intensely. Elsewhere, Paul says, for this reason many are sick among you and some are fallen asleep. Surely, God didn’t send these sicknesses, but even If stepping out from under His protection yields it, it would still seem a punishment. I think its Hebrews that puts it so well, that If we willfully go on sinning, there is only a fearful expectation of judgment. Surely, many are not well taught concerning how to put away sin, but 2 Cor 10:6 illustrates a good point. Punishing every disobedience once your obedience is made perfect.

  24. Brian Midmore says:

    I think it is possible to set up Heb 12.6 as a man of straw: ‘Here is THE verse that speaks of God ‘punishing’ us and behold it is a mistranslation of the Hebrew into Greek, and therefore God doesn’t ‘punish’ us’. It is true of course that Prov 3.12 includes the better balance of God’s love for us. Of course punish has pejorative overtones and the bible speaks of God’s discipline. But this discipline may be unpleasant. God is not ‘punishing us for our sins’ but rather disciplining us for our sanctification.

  25. Hi Paul, I have a question about another section of scripture that sort of indicates that God whips people. A few months ago, I was attending a Bible study and we where studying a parable of Jesus in Luke 12:41-48. I walked away wondering why Jesus would be talking about beating people and cutting them into pieces. Everyone seemed to think that if we didn’t do something to make sure we were ready for Jesus’s return, or that if we messed up too bad before He came for us, this is what would happen to us. (He would cut us into pieces and assign us a place with the unbelievers.) In my heart I have come to believe that God is my loving father and that he will protect me no matter what, even when I don’t deserve it. But this parable still confuses me.

    • Hi Lynn,
      I will try and get to this passage in my ongoing series on judgment. I have a post in the pipes called “Are there degrees of judgment?” that touches on this. Short version – no, your loving Father will NEVER cut you to pieces.

      • Pamela Dillon says:

        in your commentary on Hebrew 12:6 you stated the text was translated into Greek. I was under the impression the Hebrews had assimilated and the main language was Greek. The Aramaic translation of that verse reads Whomever The lord Loves He Instructs And Draws Aside His Children with Whom He Is Well Pleased. I like that interpretation.

      • So do I.

  26. Something that crossed my mind that I had heard about Jesus’ way of correcting sinners, the Spirit’s way of scourging for instance here: Peter the fisherman.
    In Luke 5 Peter came back from a night fishing with nothing. Jesus in a boat with the fishermen told Peter to put down his net for a catch… and they could hardly pull the net back up for it was breaking. Peter’s reaction: (Luk 5:8) “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.”
    What a beautiful way to scourge us: only the goodness of God!
    Man, how can we not love Him for that?

  27. Hi Paul. What is your opinion on spanking a child? I’m trying to have a Biblically based understanding of whether children should be spanked (either with a rod, by hand) or not at all under the New Covenant. Thank you!

    • Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them Prov 13:24
      see pastor juda smith at city church in seattle. he’s a great grace preacher and he spanks his kids.
      God does discipline his kids with tearing up their back muscles. i can testify to that, more than a few times in fact. which is how i know for sure it is God’s discipline.
      i don’t have children. i think i wouldn’t even spank them. it seems so cruel. can’t we just explain things to the point where they would see the light and just decide to do the right thing.
      regarding what i did: i’m not going to say, but…
      John 2:24 But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all people.
      we put ourselves into someone else’s care or protection when we confide in them versus God. to be on this planet and to be hurting is just part of this life. the problem is hurt people hurt. we look to people for what we should look to God for, and end up getting hurt, then we turn and hurt others, even unknowingly. it’s a vicious cycle.
      God is only ever out to be good to us, protect us and wants the very best for us.
      None of us are just like Christ yet, some of us are just really thick headed about some stuff. we just don’t get it yet and i guess the only way to protect us is to use a physical restraint…

  28. Lance D says:

    FYI:
    as i understand it, there is debate even among the hebrew scholars about exactly what words are in that old testament passage. i don’t think there is another verse in the new testament with so much difference of opinion.

    …there are two entirely different sentences that are possible from the letters there. one possible sentence sounds like what we read in the old testament. the other possible sentence sounds like our heb 12. it is like seeing “GODISNOWHERE”. one person will read “GOD IS NOWHERE”. another person will read “GOD IS NOW HERE”.

    the septuagint is translated the same way as our heb 12, so they may have just copied from the septuagint. but that would appear to be the case for all of the other quotes in the new testament. anyway, a lot of people don’t think much of the septuagint in terms of it being a quality translation.

  29. Hi Paul, I like your writes and the discussion here. I agree with the idea that God does not scourge us. However, Saul’s blindness in Acts 9 may be a reason to say Jesus hit him, instead of saying it was Paul’s fault, because he was looking at Jesus for too long. And, does not verse 11 of Hebrews 12 imply “painful” chastening? Another verse in Hebrews, which I find relevant for the discussion and really challenging in general, is “and though he was a son, yet he learned obedience by the things which he suffered.” (Hebrews 5,8 NKJV). I wonder, whether this verse also features a faulty translation. 1.Peter 4 also points out that suffering for Christ can lead to obedience (Verse 2) and is indeed God’s will (Verse 19). I know I still have wickedness in my heart and I want to allow God to cut that things off, although it hurts.

  30. This has never made since to me… We died with Christ, He taking upon Himself all our punishment, I would think that if HE was punished for us,(Which he was) why would there need to be any more punishing?? Just a thought I had.. I always wondered (when reading, or hearing this) How and why does HE punish us?? It just doesn’t make since..

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