Biblical Discipline


Text: Proverbs 22:15  

Sermon-in-a-sentence: Discipline is all about the heart.


 Proverbs 13:24 – He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.

Proverbs 22:15 – Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.

Proverbs 23:13 – Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die.

Proverbs 29:15 – The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.

What does Scripture say concerning discipline?  Well, the Proverbs, the book of wisdom, speaks well to the issue of discipline in parenting.  We should pay special attention to the concepts being conveyed in Proverbs…


Concept #1-  To not chasten your child, is to not love your child.

Proverbs 13:24 – He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes. 

This is perhaps the most difficult concept for the world to grasp in what the Bible says about parenting.  Can I say this? Believers don’t be surprised when your unsaved friends completely miss this concept, because this is a spiritually minded concept.  Verse 24 very simply states this profound truth, that genuine love in a parent will produce physical discipline with the child.  This is an evidence of Biblical love, because discipline will aid in producing the kind of servant that God desires.

Parents must employ this type of discipline because it is the picture of how God the Father deals with his children.  This picture is important believers because it points to God.  God chastened Adam and Eve in the garden.  He chastened Abraham and his family.  God continually chastened the nation of Israel, seeking to mold them into the shape he desired.  Jesus Christ came and went about his earthly ministry often chastening the religious leaders and the 12.  In the church age, Scripture says the Holy Spirit resides within us very much about the business of chastening you and I.  Believers we must discipline in a way that accurately reflects our Heavenly Father, with both the rod and with grace, make sure our children are pointed to God by this image.


Concept #2-  Foolishness and your child’s heart are fused together.

Proverbs 22:15 – Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.  

Proverbs so vividly describes this concept for us.  The image looks something like this-  on the underside of a boat, a saltwater boat, you will find barnacles.  Small creatures that attach themselves to the boat and do not intend to let go.  You are all familiar with tics, small pesky things that attach to your skin and do their best not to let go.

This is the picture given of your child’s heart.  Foolishness is fused together with their heart.  They enter the world in this condition.  The world and the flesh only encourage this bond, but God has given parents the task of working to cause a separation in this bond.


Concept #3:  Discipline is the process of separating or putting space between your child’s heart and the foolishness.

This is the image we see in verse 15, a fusing so strong, that serious labor must be put into causing separation.  I can’t help but picture a man with an axe when I read this verse.  The man strains and expends energy trying to drive the axe head into the wood to split the wood.  This is the image of discipline Scripture employs, a taxing process of trying to put space between your child and the foolishness.

The more you read the Old Testament the more you can see this concept lived out.  During the time of the prophets, God would raise up a man who would labor his whole life essentially trying to separate Israel from the foolishness of their hearts.  Men like Elijah labored intensively for many years in this work, enduring hardships, persecution, and trials to affect the work God wanted them to do.


Concept #4: Discipline provides your child with wisdom.

Proverbs 29:15 – The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame

We saw previously that discipline is described as separating foolishness from a child’s heart.  Chapter 29 continues by telling us that the rod and reproof will impart wisdom to your child.  The failure to employ both of these methods in parenting will leave children lacking wisdom that intends for them to receive.

This verse also goes on to state very clearly the end result of unbiblical parenting.  The result will be a mother shamed.

* culture says let children find their own path-  the end result will be shame.

* culture says don’t spank your child it may hurt their personality-  the end will be shame.

* culture encourages children to disobey and even correct their parents – the end will be shame.





Last week we considered some myths- statements that are often believed but truly are false according to Scripture.  Many of you spoke with me this week about the myths, so I want to finish today by mentioning three more common myths in parenting today.  I hope you will write these down and put some time into pondering them this week.


Myth #5:  ‘Quality time with my children is more important than quantity time.’

This is a common myth today, especially as our society has shifted to the norm of both parents having to work, just for the family to survive.  However, like the others this statement is a myth.  Quality time is not better or even equal to quantity time.  Here is what Scripture says-

Deuteronomy 6:4-7  Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord: [5] And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. [6] And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: [7] And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.

In this passage God is instructing his people in the task of teaching His Law to their children.  Notice the quantity of time mentioned in the text:  he says to teach his law diligently when at rest in the house, when active outside the home, when it is bedtime at night, and when it is morning of a new day.  Adequate teaching of the Word of God will not happen over dinner and dessert, it must be a continual process through the day.  Great amount of time is spoken of in Deuteronomy 6 in the daily activity of training a child.

The discipline process of a child is best performed through quantity time not through quality time.  In a two parent home, children need the father to take active leadership in the discipline process with quantity time invested.


Myth #6: ‘Spanking my children is the key to successful Biblical parenting.’

This myth has been proclaimed by preachers for many years and held to by a good many Christian parents.  This myth is held to because it is often easier and quicker to employ the rod than to live Paul’s instructions in Ephesians 6 or Moses’ instructions in Deuteronomy 6.  The rod as spoken of in Proverbs is not a magic bullet or a genie in a bottle.  The task of discipline is a long, time consuming task, that involves daily, systematic training and instruction.

Consider these thoughts with me:

* the rod can not replace the active presence of a father in the home.

* the rod can not make right unbiblical favoritism shown by the parents.

* the rod alone will not affect heart change in your children.

It is only as the rod is coupled with the regular, systematic instruction of the knowledge of God that Biblical parenting occurs and heart change can one day take place.


Myth #7:  ‘The purpose of discipline is to control my child’s behavior.’

According to Scripture, the purpose of discipline is a long-range one, it is this – HEART CHANGE.  The purpose for discipline is ultimately that – to affect genuine heart change in the child.  I will give it to you, when you study the Old Testament, and the nation of Israel you see Jehovah interact with his people in a way that is quite behavioristic.  However, at no point was the goal to control behavior of his people.  That is a very surface observation, God was supremely concerned about the hearts of his people.  He was infuriated by the sinfulness of their hearts, he was fed up with their refusal to repent and make their hearts right, and he was committed to sending his Son into this world to truly clean their hearts.  God was always chiefly concerned with heart change!

Our parenting and discipline should likewise be focused on heart-change!

At any age our desire as parents should be to discipline in a way that leads toward genuine heart-change.  To focus on behavior control will only lead to disappointment and frustration in a parent.  Our discipline is one more tool that assists the work of heart-change that God is trying to do in your child.


Why is heart-change needed?

Heart change is the need that every one of us have.  We are all desperately in need of God to do a radical work in our lives. Scripture says we are all sinners, we all enter this world as sinful human beings.  We are all separated from God, our creator, by the presence of sin.  God, who desires a personal relationship with you, took action and sent his Son into this world to die on a cross for you!  Jesus shed his blood on a cross so that when the Father looks at you he no longer sees sin, but he sees the blood of his Son! We are all in need of the heart change that only Jesus can provide!

Romans 3:23.  For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

Romans 6:23- For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Romans 5:8- But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.


How do I discipline in a way that facilitates heart-change?

* read and memorize God’s Word as a family.

* quote Scripture to your children during moments of discipline.

* expound to your children what God thinks of their disobedience.

* discipline promptly but with a clear head.

* pray with your child concerning their choices.

* avoid things in discipline that could provoke your child to wrath- favoritism, physical abuse, etc…

* never stop praying for genuine heart change.

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