Hebrews 12:6 Does God Scourge His Kids?

Everyone has a mental picture of God. Perhaps you think he is distant, aloof, angry, even terrifying. Possibly you envision him holding a whip in his hands…

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

Yet your heavenly Father is not like this. How do I know? I’ve seen Jesus. Jesus is none of these things. Rather, he is loving, gracious, kind and desires to share his life with you. Jesus said he was about his Father’s business and that business is not the condemning business but the adoption business. God loves you and wants to spend eternity delighting in you.

So how does scourging fit into this picture? It doesn’t. It sticks out like a cobra in a kindergarten. It shouldn’t be there. Yet it is, in black and white in Hebrews 12. So does God scourge his kids or doesn’t he?

What is scourging?

In our era of first world problems, we may not be acquainted with the horrors of scourging. But those who lived in the first century were familiar with at least two types of scourging.

First, there was the Jewish form of scourging which involved the application of a leather whip to your shoulders and chest. This form of scourging was limited by Jewish law to 40 stripes. This is why the Jews called it the “forty lashes minus one” – they didn’t want to risk breaking the law by miscounting so they deliberately reduced the maximum number of lashes to 39! The law also said the actual number of lashes was supposed to be commensurate with the crime. However, Paul got the “forty minus one” five times for breaking no law (2 Cor 11:24).

ScourgedThen there was Roman scourging which was worse. It was typically applied to criminals before execution and there was no law limiting the number of strokes applied. In fact, if you wanted to kill a man at the whipping post, you could do it with a vicious tool called the flagellum. Since there may be children reading this, I won’t describe what the Roman whip could do to a body of flesh and blood, but if you have seen The Passion movie, you will know.

Regardless of whether you got the Jewish version or the Roman version, scourging was torture. Today it’s not the sort of thing civilized societies would inflict even on the worst criminals. Yet apparently God does it to his kids.

Is this good news?

Does God really scourge us?

“The Lord scourges every son he receives.” That’s what it says. The original Greek word for scourges is mastigoō. It’s a verb that means “to scourge.” It is the same word that describes what Pilate had done to Jesus (John 19:1). So if you need a mental picture of God’s scourging, you’ll be wanting the Roman flagellum with the bits of metal in the thongs and the little hooks called scorpions at the end.

If this troubles you, I’m glad. It means you have a brain! It means you are struggling to reconcile a good God with an evil whip. I’m here to tell you that God never, ever, ever scourges his kids. But before I give you my reasons, I have to be honest and admit that every single commentator I’ve read says he does. As far as I can tell, they all say stuff like this:

“Scourges” means literally to flog or scourge… and entails any suffering which God ordains… God’s chastisement includes not only his “whipping” us so to speak for specific transgressions (but even here with the idea of remedial not retributive intent), but also the entire range of trials and tribulations which he providentially ordains and which work to mortify sin and nurture faith, ultimately serving to conform us to the image of His Son… Notice that “scourges” is in the present tense, which indicates that this is not a one time event, but can be expected in the lives of those who are truly God’s spiritual children. ~Precept Austin

God scourges us repeatedly. Isn’t that wonderful? Sheesh. No wonder sinners aren’t running into church when we’re preaching stuff like that.

In my next post I am going to give you seven solid reasons why you can be convinced that God never scourges his children. But first, how are we to account for Hebrews 12:6, which says he does?

It’s a misquote

Look in the margin notes of your Bible and you will see that Hebrews 12:6 is quoting Proverbs 3:11-12. It’s a direct quote copied from the Old Testament and pasted into the New. Let’s put the original Proverb and the Hebrews version side by side and see if you can spot any differences:

Original Quote from Prov 3:11-12 Copied in Hebrews 12:5-6
My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord,
Nor detest his correction;
For whom the Lord loves he corrects,
Just as a father the son in whom he delights.
My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord,
Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by him
For whom the Lord loves he chastens,
And scourges every son whom he receives

The first three lines of the original Proverb are faithfully reproduced in Hebrews 12. But look at that last line – the copy is nothing like the original. How are we to account for this? One of them must be wrong.

According to Adam Clarke, the Victorian theologian, the incorrectly translated verse is the one on the left. Apparently, our English version of the old proverb is a poor translation. Read Proverbs in the Septuagint (the Greek Old Testament) and you’ll find something that looks more like the one on the right. According to him, God scourges us in both testaments.

My problem with Clarke’s interpretation is that paints a picture of God wholly inconsistent with his character, as revealed in Jesus. What is the best translation of the Bible? It’s not the Septuagint – it’s Jesus!

The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being… (Heb 1:3)

It seems to me that we might just as easily conclude that the wrong verse is the one on the right. Something was lost in translation.

Have you ever seen Joseph Prince preach? If so, you will know he sometimes switches from English to Chinese to better make a point for his Chinese-speaking audience. I think something like that happened with the book of Hebrews. Either,

1.    Hebrews was written in Hebrew, or
2.    Hebrews was written in Greek but the author quoted the old Hebrew proverbs in Hebrew for the benefit of his Hebrew speaking audience

…and later, when Hebrews 12:6 was translated into Greek, the translator/copyist (not the author) made a mistake.

Lost in translation

I admit, I’m no linguist. But Andrew Farley is and on p.234ff of his book God Without Religion he explains how a translation error like the one I just described could’ve happened. In his expert opinion, a Hebrew word that can be translated “to scourge” can also be translated “to inquire into.” In other words, God doesn’t scourge us, rather

God deeply inquires into our lives as he disciplines us, so that we can experience a harvest of righteousness and peace. (Heb 12:6, Farley’s paraphrase)

This Hebrew word with two meanings could explain how the Septuagint got it wrong. I encourage you to read Farley’s book if you want to dig deeper.

What is Hebrews really saying?

In my view, the Hebrew author of the epistle to the Hebrews meant to say something like what we see in the Hebrew proverb, namely:

For whom the Lord loves he instructs, just as a father the son in whom he delights. (Heb 12:6, my translation)

This may be a better translation than the one you may have in your English Bible because it satisfies three tests: (1) It is consistent with the revelation of God the Father given to us through Jesus the Son, (2) it is consistent with many other scriptures indicating that God delights in his children and that he cares enough to bring life-giving correction, and (3) it fits the context of Hebrews 12, as I will explain in my next post.

95 Comments on Hebrews 12:6 Does God Scourge His Kids?

  1. Faith is seeing the goodness of your heavenly Father.

  2. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I’ve always known something’s wrong with God ‘scourging’ us. Also the word ‘chasten’ should be ‘corrects’…and it’s used in vs 9. Indeed ‘chasten’ can mean ‘refine’ not necessarily inflicting punishment. If Jesus took the awful scourging for us, how can God, who stated clearly that he would never be angry or rebuke us be the same one to scourge us?

    • The word for chastening in verses 7 and 11 is paideia which literally means child training. It’s generally a positive thing.

    • Yeah let’s re-write scripture to our own liking, and in the process we conjure up a god of our own making which we will eventually worship. This whole translation business is so Satanic. Pretty soon we’ll have a gay bible. Oh wait a minute, we already do. Let’s just strip out stuff that we don’t like and change words to suit our sensibilities. What a wicked and evil generation. Yet in other parts of scriptures it says, actually in proverbs, it says he who spares the rod, hates is son. Therefore a true believer one of God’s children, then because God loves us so, why should he spare the rod? The scourging of the Lord comes in the form troubles, tribulations, persecutions, be-headings, etc, to ultimately test our faith, that is to hopefully make our faith stronger, Gold and silver is only refined when put through the fire of affliction

      • Colleen G. // June 30, 2013 at 2:13 pm //

        What is evil and wicked is painting God the Father in the image of a Victorian man caning his children for misbehaving. The view you are prompting actually makes God a hypocrite. because He commands fathers not to frustrate or anger their children.(Ephesian 6:4) I have recently learned that the Proverbs “rod” verses may not mean what tradition says they mean. If it is ok for God to abuse us and use us harshly why does Jesus harshly condemn anyone who makes a little one to stumble? There is less of a line between abuse and “spanking” than tradition would have us believe.

      • If you argue that translation is not an issue then how do you explain the QUOTE in from Proverbs reading DIFFERENT that what we see in Hebrews? My guess is you cant. God does discipline us, but in a loving way, not a rip your flesh out way.

  3. Paul, I am looking forward to the follow up. If I take Hebrews 12:6 at face value, then God gruesomely tortures everyone he accepts as his son. That makes me pause with horror. Thank you for bringing this up.

  4. Mike Moraine // June 11, 2013 at 2:49 am // Reply

    Thank you Paul for another great truth! Looking forward to hearing more in the coming posts! You are great blessing and encouragement to so many!

  5. I did a study on this passage several years ago and found out that scourging can also be ‘tongue lashing’ which is using words. God told us all scripture is useful for correction, for discipline, for teaching, etc. So any ‘tongue lashing’ God might do, He would use scripture or His Word, not a whip, not a sickness, not suffering, etc.

  6. I really appreciate your posts, Paul, as I am in such a questioning stage of my faith, right now. Not questioning whether God exists, or Christ died for us, but everything I’ve ever learned about God and the Bible, the church, etc.. The thing I question when I have things like this revealed to me is; how can I trust ANYTHING I read in the modern translations of the Bible, then? I can’t read Greek, or Hebrew, so I can’t sit down and read the original texts for myself with an understanding that hasn’t been colored, or lost through the limitations of language and cultural/historical context. This will probably sound extreme, but it seems to me that, in some ways, the worst thing that has happened to Christianity was the assembly of, and mass printing and distribution of the Bible in its various languages, because it has resulted in such mass confusion and misunderstanding over who God really is, His real opinion of us, and His expectations of us. Secondly, it seems to have resulted in people mostly dumping their relationship with God for a life entirely based on what they feel they are supposed to do and think, according to their understanding of the Bible. Put it all together, and we end up with over 40,000 denominations of churches, all believing they have it right.

    Christ didn’t call us to a “Biblical” lifestyle; He called us to a Spirit led life with Himself. I have come to the point where I believe the Holy Spirit is capable of leading us, entirely apart from the Bible. That’s not to say that the Bible has no value to me, but the more I read posts like this one, the less inclined I am to actually read my Bible, and the more inward driven I am to engage with the Spirit and trusting Him for my leading.

    • I agree the Bible can be a deadly weapon and that it has been used to control people. (I wrote a post about it here.) But the proper response to any abuse is not non-use but proper use. You may say that we have 40,000 different denominations of “proper use;” I would say that we are one large cathedral with many chapels (to borrow a metaphor from Brian Zahnd). It’s not important to me that we all have exactly the same understanding of scripture. What’s important is that we care for and respect one another.

      Personally, I love the Bible. It’s full of treasure and it’s my favorite book. As you can see from the above post I don’t assume that the English translation I am reading is flawless and I won’t crucify anyone over arguments about words. Nevertheless, the Holy Spirit has used the English Bible to give me revelation about my wonderful Father and for that I will always be grateful. The more I grasp his grace, the more I want to read it.

  7. ill go for it,checked it out,it seems many of the translations lean on discipline,don’t like that word scourge,so many times i read scripture and I think, that doesn’t make sense, so i check it out and sure enough,it starts to come together. don’t be afraid to challenge it brothers and sisters,God loves his children,he will set you straight with loving care.

  8. Thank you so very much for this explanation. I was confronted while ministering in prison that God does not punish us for our sins, that he already punished Jesus at the cross. Another staff member who preaches a mixture of law and sometimes grace, rebuked me with this very scripture verse. At the time I tried to come up with answers, but I felt that I poorly represented God on this. I felt like I had failed and as the enemy did his best to bring me even lower, My gracious Father said to me “When was the last time you saw a Christian “scourged?” “When was the last time I scourged you?” I said I had never seen a scourging or had received one from you Lord. He reassured me that this scripture was misinterpreted and that there is another meaning, which you have so graciously provided. Thank you very much. Dan

  9. Cindy Robicheaux // June 11, 2013 at 8:41 am // Reply

    Thank you so much for revealing the religion I’ve believed all my life and helping me to be delivered by the gospel of grace. I truly appreciate your teachings.

  10. You have done a great textual criticism. Your exegesis brings out the light of how our heavenly father will treat His children. As the Jesus has taken all the curse of the laws upon himself, God will not punish us; though he will correct us. To have the idea that God will scourge us when we fail him is contradicting with Christ’s work on the cross.

  11. chrisvanrooyen // June 11, 2013 at 5:20 pm // Reply

    Great work Paul. It is interesting how almost all of the translation issues revolve around the character of God. It begs the question has God allowed these errors for some purpose now being revealed.

    • chris maybe a possible carrot in front of the mule,the holy spirit in us searches and hungers for the truth,or am I missing the mark here?

      • chrisvanrooyen // June 30, 2013 at 5:43 pm //

        I think you are right Earl the Holy Spirit testifies of Jesus and he is all truth if you can see him past the sacrifice you can see the father, In the same way Abraham saw past his sacrifice and saw God. When commanded to sacrifice his only son, this is in itself a provocative statement it illustrates how God see,s thing,s we all know Abraham had another son but God did not even acknowledge him it is like he is dead.The son born of works not promise.DEAD.Makes one think why you have to be reborn.

      • nicely put Chrisvanrooyen.

      • ya,Chris,I dont think surprising him,i imagine that type of situation had Abraham sweating,unless God gave me the Faith I dont know if i could do it,just in defense of Ishmael God did bless him and he became a nation,which may turn out to be a problem.

      • chris i meant to say i dont think we are surprising god.

  12. Way to go!!! More!

  13. A “misquote”. The inspired word of God is misquoted or in other words inaccurate. Maybe other renderings in the new testamwnt or the Old testament for that matter are also misquotes. Of course it is anyones guess or anyones interpretation that would decide which ones are misquoted. This would make or as I see it has already made for a variety of interpretations that can be twisted into conforming almost any belief system. This is why you have 40,000 denominations. This is why the message of the scriptures continues to get more watered down and become irrelevant in todays world. This is why you now have churches that say homosecuality is not a sin, teach Harry Potter as part of their school curriculum, teach that hell is not a real place and so on. We all know that God is not going to literally scourge someone as that would require Him physically coming down to Earth and doing so. It is figurative in the sense that He will “discipline” His sheep. There are different degrees of discipline to be had and scourging is one of them. This would be God correcting his child who has backslid in his faith in a harsh manner as to get their attention. Yes, God would and does discipline His children and sometimes it takes a scourging to bring His child back.

    • chrisvanrooyen // June 12, 2013 at 10:47 pm // Reply

      You say it takes a scourging to bring a child back, my question is back to what.Back to the law ? Back to obedience, The scripture says that evidence of your faith is your obedience. So if you are disobedient then you are not a child of God. Your interpretation will lead you into confusion.

      • All children of God are disobedient at times. You will find that whole idea in Paul’s epistles. He followed apattern of grace, law, grace when writing his letters. The churches or more aptly the believers in them were doing something wrong or disobedient and he would correct them. Since these are inspired writings then it was actually God that was doing the correcting. Be careful with saying that if you are disobedient then you are not a child of God. We all fall short every day in our obedience.

      • I don’t believe Paul (or anyone in the New Testament) ever preached law to those under grace. You may interpret NT exhortations as law but they are not. If they were, then the NT would be riddled with contradictions.

      • Isn’t it odd that hyper-grace proponents always cry legalism every time someone disagrees with them? If you explain away Hebrews 12:6 then tear out the page that contains Proverbs 3:11-12 also. Here’s why…The word chastening in verse 11 is H4148 which is derived from H3256 which means “to chastise” literally (with blows) and figuratively (with words). Not everything in the scripture is a contrast between law and grace. By “whipping us” he is not torturing us but dealing with us as sons (Heb 12:7).

      • You’ve evidently never been scourged, Kevin. The word chastening (H4148) in Proverbs does not mean what you say, as anyone with a concordance can see for themselves. It means “reproof, warning, or instruction.” God does not beat us with blows. What an awful thing to suggest.

      • You just have to understand what it really means Kevin. Kevin, you must see Christ on the Cross being judged cuz of our sins and smitten with our sicknesses. Its like double jeopardy; God won’t punish or chastise us for what Christ was chastised and punished for, Isaiah 53. God is not unjust to punish the same sins twice. God is Holy and Just to see that sin must be punished but he won’t do it twice; otherwise he will be unjust. There are people I know who said, I am sick cuz God is chastising me for something I have done or I am sick and went hospital and met someone and encouraged them so now I know why God made me sick. In my head i’m like, are you kiddin me? Our own sins if we engage in sins that are deadly, could eventually destroy us. I lost count how many times I hear Believers fallen asleep premature due to drugs or drink or whatever; a few famous preachers

        What do you think Kevin, do you believe this?

      • Amen chrisvanrooyen, We think of the prodigal son, did God chased him down with the rod, no? the prodigal sons own sins left him in a pityful state and when he was yet a far off after repenting, the father met him with pure love and mercy. That is the true God we serve. No wonder many Believers still think they are going to hell cuz they are not being taught, blessed assurance; but rather, the rath of God.

      • Paul did teach law. Not law as in works for salvation but law as in obedience to god. Law in regards to what is pleasing to God. Law in regards to not being sinful which the law points out. Paul says that we should not go on sinning. The only way we know what sin is would be throug the law. The written word of God lets us know what is sinful and what is not and obedience is simply doing what is pleasing to God. As far as what chastening means or doesn’t mean, you are looking at your concordance for guidance as you stated. You mention below not to idolize the Word as it has possibly gone through many translations and the meaning may have been lost in translation. could the same not be said for your concordance? Since the translation may be misguided is it possible that your concordance based on those translations also be misguided?

      • So you’re saying we can avoid sin by being good law-keepers, that the purpose of the law is to teach us how to live right? Because the Israelites had 14 centuries of practice living exactly like that and failed spectacularly. That sort of living produces two kinds of people only; (1) sinners, because the law inflames sin, and (2) Pharisees, because some people refuse to live honestly.

        This is what Paul said of the law: “Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes,” (Rom 10:4) and “The law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law” (Gal 3:24-25). Paul said you can live by faith or law but not both. He NEVER preached law to those under grace. This is good news.

        We’ve gotten a little off topic here. To everyone reading this, please limit future comments on this thread to the post above (scourging). I have written elsewhere on the subject of the law and living under the law.

    • Colleen G. // June 13, 2013 at 9:49 am // Reply

      But does this “misquote” fit with other areas of God’s revealed character? Beating His children almost but not quite to death for sins He cannot even see or remember any more?(remember they were all erased at the cross not when we commit them) I do not like the idea of “misquote” either but the verse, as is, does not quite fit in with other very clear and concrete scriptures either. Of course the verse may be fine after all and it’s just scars from legalism-abuse that is causing the problem for some people. That and the legalists like anything that makes God the big guy with a stick so they can keep people toeing the line.
      I don’t fully understand it all but I trust that God is not a child abuser.

      • Did God not take Davids son? Was this not done for his disobedience? Was it not Moses’ disobedience that caused God’s decision to not let Moses into the promised land? Was it not Israel’s disobedience that lead them being brought into capticity? Did Paul through God inspired scripture correct and rebuke the believers he wrote too? Did Jesus not correct and rebuke his apostles? If yes then I would say that it is in God’s character. As I stated he will not come down physically to literally beat his children, however he will correct them. Do you believe that David losing his son was not a “scourging” to him? God’s character is to correct, rebuke, and to refine with fire. Does he do this because we are obedient or disobedient? Does He do this for our benefit or detriment? Not all correction will be looked upon as “scourging” but some of it may. As far as God not seeing our sins due to the blood of Jesus, this is completely true. We are redeemed through His precious blood and not through our doing at all. Does this mean we should go on sinning? NO! How do we know what sin is? By what God has shown us through the scriptures. By what he says is right and wrong, not by what we say. To follow what he says is right is called obedience. Not obedience for salvation but obedience for love. If you obey His commands you will abide in His love

      • Colleen G. // June 15, 2013 at 3:03 am //

        There is a great gulf of difference between rebuke and scourge hence the article. I am not saying “no rebuke” just that “scourge” does not fit the character of God in relation to His children(those adopted through Christ, post cross). I have children, rebuke could range from verbal correction to loss of privilege or time out. Scourge would be to physically assault my children using the harshest methods possible.
        As I said maybe it is just the writer of Hebrews being poetic combined with the trauma of the reader having been “abused” by legalists wielding the verse as a weapon to keep folks toeing their particular line. “See if you would have been good your child would not have died, your house would not have burned down, etc., etc. God is teaching you so submit to the pain and learn.”
        If you don’t know what I am talking about count yourself blessed at having been spared the mis-teaching that causes the self-examination paranoia of wondering what sin God is beating you up for this time. Freed and not going back to the house of fear! My Abba does not abuse His children.

    • What book are you reading rlemere3@gmail.com, the maccabee bible lol? If we live in continuous sin like fornicating, the very act of sin can cause harm to our bodies. God does not teach us a lesson by battering us down. Our own sins can do that like if a Believer drinks strong drink every day. That drink can destroy the person on the inside out. Christ took our punishment, all of it and we either believe this or not. Otherwise, why did Christ suffered in the way he did and died? Our own sins can cause us harm but not the Lord for “mercy and peace kissed each other” at the cross. Amen and Amen.

      God bless you

      • What Bible do you read FIFI, the Bible of make believe? God doesn’t rebuke and discipline as a punishment. He does it out of love, the same way a parent will rebuke and discipline a child. From what you said, God doesn’t care if we sin because Jesus died to take our punishment. According to you we can sin all we like and the only thing we have to worry about is what harm we may do to ourselves and that God doesn’t care. He doesn’t care enough about His own children to correct them and help them to get back on the narrow path. This doesn’t surprise me though as most christians I know choose to live this way. Do as they please as long as they believe because they are free at last, free at last, Lord almighty I am free at last. Nothing off limits nothing worng as long as your conscious isn’t bothered . If it bothers your conscious then don’t do it. However this doesn’t mean its wrong for the next guy. No absolutes, postmodernism all the way. Jesus said that very few will find the narrow path. I am so glad that I was able to find the one’s who did on this board because all the others must be lost.

      • Dear Robert, greetings In jESUS name. I understand what you are saying and I use to believe that but I realise that when Christians say chastise and rebuke, which means stop, it is always in a negative way, for example, God allowed you to be sick or poor or this or that to teach you not to love money too much or to calm you down when ur sick, you won’t be able to keep shouting; an all that nonsense. All that, counteracts what Christ done, to remove our poverty, sickness but I would say, God can stop a child from entering into danger as he did with me. He stopped me from walking to go on a train that crashed and killed a number of people and he stepped in my left leg and moved it slowly by a fraction of a secon to stop me being killed by a maniac that drove as thou he was in a race track. I would not have stood a chance or gives us a strong disernment not to go to a peodophiles home cuz he would lock me up and he ended up on tv, cuz he locked up many girls, I could have been the next so I beleive in that kind of stopping. But if its, scourging and chastising us if we stray; Christ wooes us back with love than chastise us thats for sure. All I know is this, Christ is our redemption, what we should have rightly suffered, he did for us so why then would God want it for us all over again. Check this out my brother, the narrow path is religion cuz most are under it, and a few under grace. I will stop there and reply again…

      • Dear Fifi, I value your comments but please respect E2R’s comment policy. Please share the thread by keeping comments short – no multi-parters please.

      • Oh I really get carried away Paul, so sorry. My past tutor always use to accuse me of not summarising smaller lol.

        God bless Paul

      • Hello Robert,

        It may seem that you’re better than other Christians, but unless you keep the law perfectly, you are not. The standard required by the law isn’t better, it’s perfection (James 2:10). As a former legalist who has tried, I’m sure you are not keeping the law perfectly. That puts us on a level playing field; both in need of a Savior. Our performance is never good enough, always short of perfect, but Jesus took care of that for us. We need a righteousness greater than that of the Pharisees, we need the perfect righteousness of Jesus.

  14. “For those whom the Lord loves he disciplines, and he scourges every son whom he receives.” I use to think that meant, God said all things work together for good and when we go through evil times, cuz I was formally under religion; I thought it was God that instigated the evil but he don’t but he will allow certain things to happen to allow us to change. But that is not the truth, yes, lessons can be learned from what we go through but only through grace, can we truly change from within.. Our part is to beleive right and the Holy Spirit will do his part. So we must learn of him for his yoike is easy and his burden is light. Ye get it?
    I rememberd something, Jimmy Swaggot is another wonderful preacher of grace and he produced his own unique bible omg, it is awesome and it corrects the mistakes the English made through the process of translation. Every Believer should own one of those bibles. Its beautiful.

    Very interesting discussion.

    • hi Fifi never considered Swaggart,i liked the music,because he and Jerry lee Lewis where cousins and i liked that sound,they learned to play the piano from the same old black man when they where kids,so they both played the same style,when swaggart messed up,he kind of disappeared.then he messed up again in the 90s. so i kind of let that drift away,it would be good if it is closer to real thing,like Paul said [BUT FOR THE GRACE OF GOD GO I]

      • I’m surprise to hear that Earl Vordenberg. Oh well, Mr Swaggot is in good company. Look at David who messed up, Abraham yet in God’s eyes, they were awesome. I love what Saggart sings too, he is great and plays the piano well but i am so sure he is under grace. I hardly see him thou.

        God bless

      • fifi,years ago it was confusing, because the impression you get of these guys is something other then human, but like I said [but for the grace of God go i] what better way to express grace and forgiveness and mercy,then to restore, as i get older the deeper the grace gets for us and others.

      • AMEN TO THAT Earl Vordenberg.

      • Yea, that sounds nice. God is grace.

  15. Sorry I’m not sure where else to ask this but it’s kind of off topic….

  16. Mario Mancino // June 14, 2013 at 9:09 am // Reply

    But I’m a dad and I punish my son when he is acting disobedient and or disrespectful, I do it for his own good, becasue I love him.

    • What form does your punishment take? Do you scourge him with whips because, if so, you are a wicked father who should go to jail. I trust you are not like that. Let’s not filter scripture through our own experience. The word used here is ALWAYS defined as scourging in the NT. God trains us, he corrects us, but he never scourges or punishes us. The punishment that brought us peace was on Jesus (Is 53:5). In my next post I will give you seven reasons why God never scourges us.

  17. I can’t say I agree with saying the scripture is translated wrong, otherwise I would question all scripture that I don’t initially understand to fit my view. If it says He scourges His children, I believe He does. However my understanding of what scourging means or my view of Godly correction my be skewed by “fleshly lenses”. We may assume the worst due to experiencing a abusive earthly father. Also wounds from living under condemnation can cause someone to mistake loving correction for anger. So I disagree on scripture being misquoted but I love and appreciate your blog Paul, you are genuine and it shows. I’ve learned a lot from your nuggets of Gods grace! Thanks!

    • Hi Tyler, thanks for commenting. I appreciate your concern. We are on a slippery slope the moment we start chopping up scripture to suit our theology. That said, I think it’s a mistake to idolize the written word, especially since parts of it have come to us via one, two and sometimes three translation steps. Ever hear the phrase, “lost in translation”?

      In this discussion thread we see three different responses to Heb 12:6: (1) God does scourge his kids and we just better get used to it, (2) God scourges his kids but scourging isn’t as bad as we think, (3) Scourging is torture and God doesn’t scourge his kids, not ever. It seems you take view #2. In my next post I’m going to give you seven reasons why I take view #3.

    • chrisvanrooyen // June 14, 2013 at 7:06 pm // Reply

      Hi Tyler
      Read 1 Kings 7:23 There is definitely translation issues in the scripture.

    • chrisvanrooyen // June 15, 2013 at 4:09 pm // Reply

      Hi Tyler
      Do the math and you will see.The answer is in the translation when correctly translated there is only a fault is so small and would be easily made when measuring with a rope.
      The original text is without fault and inspired.

    • I used to feel this way too. How do you know which scripture is true and without defect. I don’t read the original language and the original penned documents are long gone. So how do we know. I heard an illustration that really gave me peace. It goes something like this: We take the Bible like a photograph of what God is saying to us today. Like today’s HD technology, we think that the higher the resolution, the better we will see. You know, like original language, commentaries, computer bible study, etc… But if there is a flaw in the photograph, we lose part of the image God is trying to show us. We see through a glass dimly. But the good news is that God didn’t give us a photograph. He gave us a hologram. It doesn’t really matter about the flaws. Because when the hologram is lighted at the correct frequency, we can see the whole image. God’s word to us is not near as complicated as we think. He really is just trying to rescue his own and set us free from sin and its affects. None of us can overcome sin through our will. It is only when we turn our back to sin and realize that it does not affect us any longer, that we are able to overcome sin. We overcome sin by just stop trying. It’s like the monster under the bed. When we confront it for what it is, it isn’t scary. It’s powerless. It is when we begin to realize God’s unconditional love for us and out inability to ever be moved from his love that we begin to die to ourself and be drawn to Him by this love. When we are saved, we are new creatures. We don’t need to be beaten to want to sin no longer. It is in our nature to not want to sin. Sin has no power over us any longer. When we read the word as a hologram and not a photograph, we begin to see a three dimensional picture which is Christ. But only when the hologram is lit at the same frequency with which it was created and from the same light source, which of course is the Holy Spirit Himself.

  18. I agree that idolizing the written word or anything else is not a good thing to do. Nothing should be put above God. That being said, is it not more of a slippery slope to suggest that the meaning of the Word has been lost in translation? If this is true then I would suggest that anyone who does not have the ability to read Hebrew and Greek is waisting their time reading the Bible. How would one know what the actual meaning of any of the scriptures are if one is relying strictly on a written word whos meaning has possibly been lost in translation? You may say that the resources are available to look up the meanings of the Hebrew and Greek and also that their are many other resources such as commentaries, dictionaries and concordances that will help in your own personal translation. The problem is that many words have many meanings and you can change the meaning of scripture by inputting a different meaning. This seems to be commonplace in our time. Theologians, preachers, layman and even unbelievers will pull out the “what this really means” if you look at the original language and take into account the context and also the culture and history of the time it was written and you will clearly see that it means “this”. This is why we have so many interpretations and why many feel that they cannot just read their Bible and understand it. Basically the Christian of today is saying that they are smarter than those that came before because they can look up the supposed meaning of a word in two minutes on the internet or five minutes in a book. The months and years put in by translators of old was almost in vain because their interpretations are being tossed aside for modern translations and translators. Their is a reason confusion, chaos, division and hypocrisy reign in the church of God. The slippery slope may be why.

    • chrisvanrooyen // July 1, 2013 at 8:25 pm // Reply

      Hi Robert the slippery slope is preaching salvation by the law or works and maintenance of it by law. The law is open to our interpretation and leads to the division you speak of, Jesus became the Law he fulfilled it when following him there is only one division works and grace the lines become clear.

  19. I have to say the closer i get to the lord, and when I get disciplined, a scourge is not needed,I get a sour or uneasy feeling in my spirit,and i know something is not right. sometimes I get a verbal correction like{ YOU KNOW YOU WERE OUT OF CONTROL THERE.], to which my response usually is, ok sorry about that,I fell no rejection,no condemnation,etc. there are times when I fell like i get put in [TIME OUT] OR GO TO YOUR ROOM, I dont know,that may be a silly way to think of it,but its how I relate to a father,who always loves me. the final one is kinda like the silent treatment,again no condemnation, no rejection, just kinda like hes saying, OK WE WILL LET THAT ONE PASS.

    • 3 things the Holy Spirit does: 1. to convict the world cuz they don’t beleive in Jesus 2, to show us we are the righteousness of God,, 3, to remind the tempter he is already judged, anything more is not of God.

  20. ps:I thought what I said was a little silly but then i thought of this scripture LUKE 18;16 But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these..Luke 18:17 Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”

  21. No servant is greater than his master. Our Lord was scourged, why shouldn’t we be scourged? You write: “God scourges us repeatedly. Isn’t that wonderful? Sheesh. No wonder sinners aren’t running into church when we’re preaching stuff like that.” Jesus preached even harsher. In Luke 14 :25 there was a large crowd travelling (different from following)Jesus . His words seem to discourage many, “”If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters–yes, even their own life–such a person cannot be my disciple.And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.” He wasn’t going to soften the message to encourage more followers He called for us to reject the world and who the world says we are, even to hate our life. Scourging is how God trains us to die to self and give up EVERYTHING to be true followers. It’s time we stop “marketing” God’s word to win more church goers. Just my opinion. Blessings, P

    • Philip Stephano dear, read Isaiah 53. Let me put it in Joseph Prince word for word. I quote, “All our sins, (past present and future) were born by Jesus on the Cross. So God punished Jesus, with every effect of sin, every consequence of sin every curse of sin every punishment for sin that you and I should have experience; but Jesus took it for us.” He was scourged instead of us. So God cannot deal with us that way anymore. “Sickness is part of the punishment; poverty is part of the punishment. Jesus on the Cross has become our punishment.” So why now would God punish us again, then Jesus would have gone through it in vain. Don’t make sense in it? “After God has punished sin in our substitute, he won’t do it twice otherwise he will be unjust. He won’t demand the payment twice for the same debt. Yes, it’s just and holy for God to punish sin but having punished sin, God cannot do it twice. Therefore, God’s justice, Gods righteousness and God’s Holiness is on our side, demanding our healing, demanding our acquittal and demanding our deliverance,” thanks to Jesus. Praise be to God. Halleluiah Halleluiah Halleluiah, glory in the highest. Now that’s good news. The thing is, do you or any one of us really believe it? We have to work to believe, it is a work and what a work it is.

  22. I still have to go back to my statement,god knows how to discipline his children,to balance them,correct them not crucify them. if you will notice with sheep it doesn’t take much to correct them,usually just a tap or a poke, Gods very nature Corinthians 13,reflects that, he does have anger, wrath, etc, but he is love [noun],his desire is that we are effective,salt with taste,if you will, but if we get tramped under foot,it is his nature to pick us up,dust us off and help us on our way,a major,major hurdle for me was rejection,but once i realized how accepted and loved i was,what a launching pad for grow that was,………….ok got it carry-on brothers and sisters..love is coming for us all..just thought Id throw in a little C-S-and-N, IN THERE,AS A MATTER OF FACT LOVE IS ALREADY HERE.

  23. Heb 12:6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. [KJV]
    ‘chasteneth’: paideia; Strongs: G3811; tutorage, that is, education or training; by implication disciplinary correction: – chastening, chastisement, instruction, nurture.
    ‘scourgeth’: mastigoō; Strongs: G3148; to flog (literally or figuratively): – scourge.

    The clue for me is in the word ‘figuratively’. Wearing my cross tinted glasses this scourging is to do with the renewing of my mind; I am figuratively being cleaned out because my old nature left behind a lot of garbage despite the fact that, in my spirit, I am totally new! The old has now gone but, until renewed, our minds still struggle with that garbage.

    Philip, when it comes to quoting what Jesus said, or did, we have to examine when it was said/done; where it was said/done; who it was said/done to. I would suggest that on many occasions Jesus was raising the bar to show the people their, and our, need for a saviour. How many one eyed, one handed believers are there?

  24. markarcher99 // July 21, 2013 at 2:48 am // Reply

    God’s discipline is not for the past ( sin weve committed ) but rather for the future ( so as not to commit it again). God does not try to get even with us for the sins weve committed but rather show us that He doesnt want us to repeat the same thing.

    The discipline of our Father is out of love and not out of anger. He wants to instill to us that we do not belong to sin anymore but we are now in Christ. The discipline is unpleasant and painful (heb. 12:11) but it produces righteousness and peace. I remembered my mother spanking me every time i do wrong and call the spanking stick as “love stick”.🙂

    In summary,
    1. Discipline is out of love not anger.
    2. Discipline is painful and unpleasant but in due time produces righteousness and peace
    3. We should not lose heart for God is dealing us as beloved sons

  25. Remind them of these things, and solemnly charge them in the presence of God not to wrangle about words, which is useless and leads to the ruin of the hearers.
    2 Tim 2:14

  26. Hi Paul,thanks for the good work. Please I want to know what you have to say about…

  27. Awesome Paul!

    We always tend to interpret Biblical concepts through our “church” and human understanding. God’s love is so much vaster and infinitely deeper than we can ever comprehend.

    I will never give my own children cancer or break their leg to get their attention or teach them a lesson, and neither will God who is infinitely more loving than I am.

    In Him
    Andre van der Merwe
    http://www.NewcovenantGrace.com

    • Daniel Maloney // October 24, 2013 at 11:14 am // Reply

      Andre,
      I agree whole heartedly with you. I had this very verse heaped on me by a religious volunteer at a state prison he and I minster at. Prior to the service we were sitting around sharing and this one individual talked about healing and that he believed that God allowed sickness to teach us. I shared with him that this could not be so as our God is a loving father and would never give us a disease or sickness to teach us. We quickly revved up the conversation to include that he felt God punishes us when we sin. I explained that God punished Jesus for all our sins and that God’s grace was what He is lavishly giving us if we would only believe and receive it as a gift. He then went to Heb 12:6 and said that he wanted to be included as a son and said that this scripture proves that God does punish with scourging His sons. I had no real come back on this and allowed things to cool off. Later on the way back home from the prison I felt so bad about not being able to defend the gospel of grace that I almost decided not to go to the prison any longer. Then I heard inside me the Lord say to me,”Dan when was the last time you saw a Christian scourged?” I replied, “never Lord.” I then heard ” And when was the last time I scourged you?” I also answered “never Lord.” Even in my worst of times when I was at my lowest, it was the goodness of God that touched me, not a whip. His grace is what teaches us (Titus 2:11,12). I am convinced that this scripture means to teach us with discipline not punishment. The word scourges has been translated differently than what the Holy Spirit wanted. It is an obscure scripture which should never be used to interpret sure scripture, like, “In this is Love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His son to be the propitiation for our sins.” 1John 4:10. I am so very amazed at the misconceptions that I have been taught over the last 30 years about God’s word and unfortunately most other Christians have had the same misconceptions with the word.
      Thanks,
      Dan

  28. Paul, I appreciate you being so brave as to take on such a concept/ sacred cow. I agree with your premise wholeheartedly about Jesus being the perfect representation of the father and the vast contradiction that this verse implies. My only concern is ( and understand my heart because I’m wrestling through all the religious garbage of a works based life of performance vs experiencing the empowering grace of God) is that it seems very emotionally based and assumptive, your argument that is, instead of being more factual and clear. Almost as if you are saying ” you can take it this way or that it’s your call” but the different views are such pillar opposites. I’d love your thoughts. Thank you again for boldly pressing into and helping the body of Christ grow in grace!

  29. I know that Heb 12:6 is the topic, but one needs to look at the next two verses to see a clearer context of this subject. So what about verses 7 and 8 as well? That is, one needs to be concerned if you think that God has never disciplined, chastized or corrected, caused some pain to you that brings you ‘low’ and humbled you, and then brought you closer to God’s love. Also, if you have really been chastized, then you will endure it and always understand it came from God and eventually be happy for it as a true follower of Christ (while carrying your own cross). I have had a REAL chastizing once in my life and I even considered it a spiritual scourging that left my heart weeping and grieving for God who I knew was always with me throughout my ordeal. I had a sin that stayed in my heart for decades. God tested my faith again and at the same time showed me my sin and its consequences. Fast-forwarding, I regained by spiritual walk knowing that pure love comes only from God and no other. It still took me several years to completing rid myself of this sin where I can confidently say today it is gone…a miracle indeed! True Christians do not willfully sin against God (not being conscious of this fact at the time of the act). They willfuly sin when they try and be God using their own will. Completely surrendering ones will to the will of God, ALWAYS, is an impossibility in this life. It is were true, we would never sin…God bless all….stay on course to the end of this walk with Christ. He will be there to greet us at the finish line. you can count on it.

    • Guess I haven’t convinced you that God never scourges us. Here are 7 more reasons why he doesn’t.

      • Paul: Well I did not exactly say that God scourged me. My re-interpretation of it again, is that what I had done, soon afterwards, and even 19 years later I felt like ‘fire’ and grief in my heart. I suspect spiritual warfare is afoot again, with evil trying to rob me of my peace and joy in Christ. My recent prayers to Christ has help me tremendously.
        This entire consciousness of this sin arose again after I recently did some intensive scripture study over the last 3 months. One of the by-products of this study made me do an inventory of my errors. And this one sin, the most glaring one in my life became visible again, and my mind reenacted it, over and over again. A wound which I wished never occurred. Also, I made my comment in-part , due to some bloggers that seemed to convey that their instructions and discipline by God was of the ‘time-out’ and kids variety. These types of errors do at times call for this type of child-like instruction. As a Christian though, for now nearly 40 years, I notice that God does not discipline me with child-like discipline. I believe he only instructs me as an adult in Christ and not as a child anymore. He judges my actions as a mature son. Thanks for listening…grew up in NZ myself and been in the States for most of my adult life.

  30. A few verses afterward it says that fathers of our flesh corrected us, how much more the father of our spirits? The location of the correction is in our spirits, it used to be our flesh that was disciplined now it is our spirits that are disciplined . Therefore the location of the ‘scourging’ is in our spirits not in our flesh. Because we know that no amount of self control that we exhibit will ever be more than filthy rags unable to produce the righteousness of God, we know though that if we are renewed from the inside out that our flesh will benefit from inner transformation . But not vice versa.

    • Yes, I agree with your assessment Michael. We are to accept and endure this correction from God, for our own good without any effort on our own to counter or correct this error, except with a permanent change in heart, if necessary. And Paul in Romans 6:11 reinforces that fact that we are to always live as sin is dead. This will be fully realized when we are ressurrected in our glorified bodies with Jesus. Thanks for your input, greatly appreciated and very encouraging

  31. Hebrews 12:5 And you have not kept in mind the word which says to you as to sons, My son, do not make little of the Lord’s punishment, and do not give up hope when you are judged by him;
    How were you judged by God?
    John 5:22 For the Father judgeth NO MAN, but hath committed ALL judgment unto the Son:
    I believe theres nothing wrong with the translation. The only way we would think God scourges us literally is if you read from a Law point of view which does not pertain to us that are under Grace. We should always read the word with Gods grace in mind, if you don’t then the word can be easily misinterpreted. God’s judgment, wrath, reprove, punishment was placed on Jesus.
    Jesus said he is the only way to the father, so the only way we became sons of God is by the sacrifice(scourging, cross..) that was placed on Jesus.
    Hebrews 12:6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, And scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.
    Rom 6:8
    Now if we DIED WITH Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.
    Every son God recieved was scourged with Christ and died with Christ in order to resurrect with Christ. 2Tim 2:11
    Jesus said “I am the WAY, the truth, and the life no one comes to the father but thru me” so if you take what Jesus said here into consideration then yes the father did scourge everyone he took as his son thru His Son Jesus.
    Heb.12:8 But if you have not that punishment of which we all have our part, then you are not true sons, but children of shame.
    The only way we can be children of shame is if we haven’t received Jesus which took our shame. Heb 12:2

  32. God certainly disciplined, and sometimes very severely, His children in the Old Testament. It was brutal at times! Help me understand this…has God changed His nature? I realize there is a big change in Covenants, but has His nature changed from a strict disciplinarian to a merciful, gracious God who just smiles at his children all the time now? At least until the tribulation and second coming of Christ when it appears He reverts back to being angry and demanding repentance and reestablishes the law once again!

    Paul, can you please address this or lead me to a link on your website that answers this. It is extremely disturbing to me as I have a very difficult time reading the Old Testament without a great deal of consternation.

    • When you say the word discipline, I hear the word train, as in discipling, but I think you mean punishment, as in God sometimes punished people in the Old Testament. Is that what you mean?

  33. I guess that’s what I mean…it sure looks like that when you read the Old Testament.
    Has God changed from an angry demanding ultra-disciplinarian to a laid-back happy God who’s always in a good mood, smiling down at us no matter how we behave now and then to revert back to the strict law enforcer with a rod of iron to beat people when they misbehave? I just can’t understand that at all! I cringe whenever I read how God deals with His people in the Old Testament. Hope you can help me with this.

    • When Adam sinned, God didn’t punish him. When Adam was sent from the garden, God went with him. When Adam’s son murdered his brother, God didn’t punish him but took steps to ensure his survival. Seems to me the God of the Old Testament is keen to show undeserved favor. Of course, all that changed at Mt Sinai for reasons I have explained elsewhere.

  34. I’m thinking this could be on the edge of the debate over “once saved always saved” where some Christians feel that the parable of the prodigal son shows that its OK to sin or at least have minimalist view of salvation. In any case I don’t see God as a punish-er. This would not be consistent with the teaching of propitiation nullifying gods gift at the cross. This makes me think that the scourging relates to correction which often times much more painful as old beliefs find correct meaning in scripture alone.

  35. Warren (South Carolina) // June 18, 2015 at 2:58 am // Reply

    Awesome word study post Paul.
    Jim Richards brings this out also, that the word chasten or chastise was perverted back in the beginning of the church to control people with religion. It really means to lovingly correct someone as a beloved son or daughter.
    Multiplied blessings back to you!!!
    Warren (South Carolina)

  36. Wayne Nickel // June 27, 2015 at 12:43 pm // Reply

    God will not punish his children but how softly or painful the correction is, well that is totally objective. I have read/listened to testimonies over the years of those that have be chastised and know my own. I guess the question is how much does God love us and how far will he go to correct us because He loves us. More than we can fathom I’m sure. To say He lovingly corrects us is true, but to say He always gently corrects us is not true. One just has to listen to the stories from many of our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.

  37. isn’t david a perfect example of hebrews 12:6 as one can see in psalms 38:1-2?i think it still holds true today as this doesn’t exclude those scourged from judgment(it being an OT verse & jesus dying on the cross and all..)

  38. plus @paul ellis why, after heb;12:6 in heb;12:7 it states,’it is for discipline that you have to endure’?i think that its actual scourging because the term ‘endure’ is only applicable if what is being described is bad as scourging & not instructing.

    • I talk about Hebrews 12:7 in this post.

      • for those being disciplined/chastened i think there must have been a sin they did & so they had to endure it was the case in king david which btw what were your thoughts on my previous post on him?& also in my opinion(feel free to correct me if wrong)i think those being chastened are kinda being saved from judgment in Christ’s second coming since they are guaranteed to be chaste & all thus the scripture stating that God loves them.

    • Daniel Maloney // July 21, 2015 at 9:28 am // Reply

      I was approached with this scripture several years ago and did not at the time have a good answer. On my way driving home I felt the Lord say to me “When was the last time you saw a Christian being scourged?” My response, “Never.” Then I heard this, “When was the last time I scourged you?” My response, “Never.” This has a different meaning, I believe that God disciplines us with His goodness. Rom 2:4 says that the goodness or kindness of God leads a man to repentance. We know that the Greek word for repentance is Metanoeo, which means change your mind. This is my answer to this scripture under the new covenant of grace.

  39. The translation on the left is correct. How do I know this? Isaiah 54:9 states that the Lord will NEVER rebuke us. Yet the translation on the right tells us he will.

  40. My Hebrew Greek Bible defines it as just that, ” to inspect or look into”. No where does it say to punish or whip.

  41. Sir, I have been following your blog since last 4 years, and it’s always been my spiritual guide. Yesterday, in my Church it was preached that trials/sickness are from God to test our faith. But that sermon doesn’t convince my spirit, and I was very much sure that the perfect answer is in Bible and I remember your blog that you must have explained this, and I found some of your articles like “The Testing of Your Faith”, “Does God Scourge Us? 7 Reasons to say “No!”, etc. which clears me again as usual. And while reading this article I am so blessed and so confident that my God will never hurt me to teach a lesson. With due respect, I just want to correct a scripture you quote…. //However, Paul got the “forty minus one” five times for breaking no law (1 Cor 11:24).// (I know it must be a typing mistake). It must be “2 Corinthians 11:24”. I hope you will edit it. Thank you sir for this grace filled article. Blessings!

    In His Grace,
    Jemz Haorongbam
    New Delhi, India

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