Training Our Children for Their Good

Posted: September 19, 2014 by abestratton in Articles, Resources, Words from the Wise

My friend, Andy Naselli, has written a great article on training and disciplining our children. It provides a great foundation for the whole concept of discipline – discipline is rooted in the character and work of God himself.
But Naselli’s article also presents strong biblical instructions for carrying out different kinds of discipline. I’ve provided the outline of the article below, or you can read the whole article here.

1. Seven Propositions about Discipline from Hebrews 12:4–11

God disciplines his children (Heb 12:5–7, 10).
God disciplines all his children (Heb 12:6, 8).
God disciplines only his children (Heb 12:6–8).
Discipline is training: God disciplines his children for their good (Heb 12:10–11).
Discipline seems unpleasant and painful (Heb 12:11).
God’s children should endure God’s discipline (Heb 12:5, 7, 9).
God’s disciplining his children compares to human parents’ disciplining their children (Heb 12:5, 7–10).

2. Levels of Discipline in the Book of Proverbs

Level 1. Teach
Level 2. Warn
Leve 3. Enforce
Does “the rod” represent discipline but exclude physical discipline (Prov 13:24; 22:15; 23:13–14; 29:15)?
Is spanking a form of physical and psychological child abuse?
Do the proverbs about using the rod refer to young men rather than children?
Is spanking an obsolete part of the Mosaic law-covenant in the Old Testament?
Is spanking antithetical to the gospel?

3. Concluding Application

Pray for your children.
Evangelize your children.
Use multiple levels of discipline.
Love your children, and tell them and show them that you love them.
Beware of two extremes: (a) not disciplining and (b) over-disciplining.
Fathers, take the lead in discipline.
Learn how to discipline each of your children most effectively.
Distinguish between family rules and the Bible.
Be humble about parental discipline; don’t be proud and judgmental.
Persevere with a long-term view that trusts God’s word.

4. Recommended Resources

Baugham, Brad. “Gospel-centered Parenting: Our Greatest Challenge—Discipline.” Sermon preached to Emmanuel Bible Church in Mauldin, SC. March 1, 2009.
Farley, William P. Gospel-Powered Parenting: How the Gospel Shapes and Transforms Parenting. Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian & Reformed, 2009. See chs. 8–9 (pp. 145–74).
Fitzpatrick, Elyse, and Jessica Thompson. Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus. Wheaton: Crossway, 2011. See chs. 5–6 (pp. 81–110). [Cf. the review my wife and I wrote.]
Grudem, Wayne. Politics—According to the Bible: A Comprehensive Resource for Understanding Modern Political Issues in Light of Scripture. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2010. See “Discipline of Children and Spanking” (pp. 256–60). [Cf. the review my Dad and I wrote.]
Köstenberger, Andreas J. God, Marriage, and Family: Rebuilding the Biblical Foundation. 2nd ed. Wheaton: Crossway, 2010. See “Physical Discipline” (pp. 142–46, 341–43).
Schreiner, Thomas R. Review of William J. Webb, Corporal Punishment in the Bible. The Gospel Coalition Book Reviews, September 12, 2011.
Wegner, Paul D. “Discipline in the Book of Proverbs: ‘To Spank or Not to Spank?’” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 48 (2005): 715–32.


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