Curriculum for Biblical Parenting
At the beginning of this series, we talked about proverbial wisdom. We learned that the Proverbs were authored by many different writers or contributors. In the beginning of this great work, Solomon told his son to heed his mother’s instruction. We have no idea if that instruction is included in the Proverbs but regardless the wisdom and instruction of a mother and father are all a part of the curriculum of parenting. This of course comes with a small addendum—this wisdom must be filtered through the Word of God.
The Word of God is clear, we’re to “Train up a child in the way he should go” – Proverbs 22:6a
Jesus taught us that He alone is that way, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” – John 14:6
Where do we learn this way? The Scriptures. This is why Paul informed Timothy that “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” – 2 Timothy 3:16-17
It’s worth noting here that Paul also made us aware that we are God’s workmanship, “created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” – Ephesians 2:10
The good works Paul was referring to are those of ruling and reigning. The vision God prepared beforehand.The wisdom and instruction of a mother and father are all a part of the curriculum of parenting. Click To Tweet
One final note about the curriculum of our parents: insomuch as it’s Biblical, it is to be heeded—even when we are grown and on our own.
Proverbs 23:22 “Listen to your father who begot you, and do not despise your mother when she is old.”
Biblical Parenting Method
What are the Biblical methods of discipline in parenting? This section might get a little touchy. Let’s deal with the elephant in the room first: the rod of discipline or corporal punishment. The Bible is emphatically clear that this is an effective method of discipline no matter what modern minds assert. But it also requires right understanding, just as most things do.
Proverbs 10:13 says, “On the lips of the discerning, wisdom is found, but a rod is for the back of him who lacks understanding.”
The mention of the rod is all about discipline, make no mistake, but it is undeniable that it is a physical tool and not just a metaphor. A metaphor is not “for the back” of anyone.
Likewise, Proverbs 14:3 says, “In the mouth of the foolish is a rod for [his] back, but the lips of the wise will protect them.”
Translation: A fool gets himself a whoopin’ because he doesn’t know when to shut up, but the lips of the wise know when to hold their tongue. But the use of the rod is clear.
Again Proverbs 23:13-14, “Do not hold back discipline from the child, although you strike him with the rod, he will not die. You shall strike him with the rod and rescue his soul from Sheol.”
You don’t have to reassure a parent that their child won’t die if you are simply using a metaphor. BUT—and this is where the shift must occur—what I want you to see is precisely where correction can go wrong.
Proverbs 13:24 says, “He who withholds his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him diligently.”
First, the rod is loving whether we agree with its usage or not. Not only is it loving, but diligent use of it is expected. The reason for this is that we are moving our children from foolishness to wisdom, right? We are moving them from pride to humility, right? We are molding and shaping image bearers for the job of ruling and reigning, right? Well, this is no easy task.The rod is loving whether we agree with its usage or not. Not only is it loving, but diligent use of it is expected. Click To Tweet
Remember what Proverbs 22:15 says, “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; the rod of discipline will remove it far from him.”
The rod is loving, and it works. But please hear me there’s something that is often overlooked in this discussion. Proverbs 29:15 says, “The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child who gets his own way brings shame to his mother.”
The rod AND reproof are required. This is a both/and. If we use one but not the other, we will run into problems. Those problems are as follows: we either create resentment in our children (the rod without reproof) or we create apathy (reproof without the rod).
Our aim as parents should be repentance not resentment and surely not apathy. We are not to provoke our children to anger, which is exactly what happens when we correct (using the rod) without explanation (reproof). If kindness leads to repentance (and it does), then all correction should be done with repentance as the aim.
Using corporal punishment is a hot-topic issue inside and outside of the church. I’d love to hear your thoughts on it. Comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.