I’M NOT A KID SPANKER. It didn’t take me long as a parent to realize spanking was more about me expressing anger than about me disciplining my kids.
Well, here I am trying to paraphrase for the Casual English Bible one of several Bible proverbs that advise parents to spank their kids.
Some Bible versions soften the advice, taking out the whopping and replacing it with the generic “disciplining,” which could mean anything from sitting in the corner to listening to Grandpa sing his new song “Lucy is a Goosie and Elise is a La La La.”
But I have this rule I’m trying to follow:
“Let the Bible say what it wants to say, as long as it says it in casual English.”
I would rather the Bible not say “take a stick to your kid from time to time.”
But the Bible says what it wants to say.
What’s your advice?
If the Book of Proverbs says one thing more than any, it says we should listen to good advice.
Here’s how the walloping verse, Proverbs 13:24, reads in what is perhaps the most scholarly version of the Bible, the New American Standard Bible.
“He who withholds his rod hates his son,
But he who loves him disciplines him diligently.”
Here’s the popularly written New Century Version, which withholds the rod.
“If you do not punish your children, you don’t love them,
but if you love your children, you will correct them.”
Here’s the New Living Translation, which rides the fence.
“Those who spare the rod of discipline hate their children.
Those who love their children care enough to discipline them.”
Here’s what I have as a first draft for the Casual English Bible, with the accompanying footnote—both of which I wrote yesterday. React, if you would. To both the verse and the footnote. I’m all ears.
“If you don’t take a stick* to your kid from time to time, you hate the kid.
You show your love by teaching your kid to behave.”
* The Hebrew word can mean a switch, club, or staff—something you could bob a kid with. Some who argue against corporal punishment remind us that shepherds used a staff to gently nudge a straying sheep away from trouble. They didn’t club sheep like some parents wallop their rowdy kid in the candy aisle of the grocery store. People in Bible times—Jews and non-Jews alike—taught contact discipline, so to speak. We’re talking a spanking. Check out Proverbs 19:18; 22:15; 23:13-14; 29:15. The question for many parents of faith today is whether wise advice for farmers and herders 3,000 years ago is good advice today. Proverbs is a collection of wise sayings, some of which were picked up almost verbatim from earlier Egyptian wise sayings. With that in mind, many Bible teachers would argue this advice is best read as a snippet from history, not a rule intended for everyone everywhere until Jesus comes. Besides, they add, how many parents walloping kids in the candy aisle look loving—as opposed to looking like they’re leading the Charge of the Light Brigade. To which some parents would add that we really need to meet their kid.
The newest Bible video
I premiered a few days ago a short video from the most famous sermon Jesus preached, the Sermon on the Mount.
It’s an illustrated reading of Matthew 5, set to ukulele music.
I know that sounds like sardine sauce on filet minion, but give it a try.
Peace to you.