FAQ :: Does the Bible allow spanking?

The Bible focuses primarily on training a child in the way he should go. No command is given to Israel or to the Church to spank children. With that said, Proverbs 13:24, 22:15, and 23:13-14 show that wise parents will spank their children in order to discipline them. So the Bible does more than allow spanking; it teaches that true love will spank.

Discipline is all of the things a parent does to teach a child about God and His desires for that child. Discipline is the whole process, whereas spanking is one tool that may be used in that process. The objective of discipline is to make a disciple of Jesus out of a child. Spanking is typically used when a child is old enough to withstand a swat and yet not old enough to reason the issues of life. As a child grows older, spankings should drop off–not because they are necessarily wrong but because other tools are more effective at that stage and spanking can even become detrimental (imagine a 16-year-old receiving a spanking). Spanking should never be the objective of a parent; it should be considered as one of many tools with which to reach an objective in childrearing.

Parents abuse this tool when they choose to:

  1. Discard it totally.
  2. Use it as the only form of training.
  3. Lose sight of its objective (disciplining the child).
  4. Use it to humiliate the child or to get even with him or her.
  5. Use it in anger or with selfish desires.