All Our Little Messes

Episode 3 - Debunking Myths in Biblical Discipline: A Deep Dive into 'Spare the Rod'

August 10, 2023 All Our Little Messes Season 1 Episode 3
Episode 3 - Debunking Myths in Biblical Discipline: A Deep Dive into 'Spare the Rod'
All Our Little Messes
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All Our Little Messes
Episode 3 - Debunking Myths in Biblical Discipline: A Deep Dive into 'Spare the Rod'
Aug 10, 2023 Season 1 Episode 3
All Our Little Messes

Opening your Bible to interpret the scripture can take you on a remarkable journey. But what happens when well-meaning advice like "spare the rod, spoil the child" gets lost in translation? We're on a mission to shed light on biblical parenting, giving it the deep dive it truly deserves. 

We tackle the origins of the phrase "spare the rod" and tear down misconceptions about its meaning. Get ready to unlearn what you know about the 'rod' in the Bible as we reveal the true meaning of the word 'shabbat'. We analyze verses like Proverbs 13:24, Psalm 23:4 and Exodus 21:20, giving you a fresh perspective on how the rod was used in biblical times. But it's not all about discipline; Jesus taught about not provoking our children to anger and we're here to discuss the implications of these teachings on our parenting styles.

The episode concludes with a hard look at the questionable parenting methods suggested in some books and the risks they pose. We champion the cause of being a Christ-like parent, encouraging and disciplining our children with love and understanding. Biblical parenting is a journey, and we're here to guide you every step of the way. Tune in for an enlightening discussion that will transform your perspective on parenting.

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Send any questions or comments to allourlittlemesses@gmail.com. I'd love to hear from you guys!

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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Opening your Bible to interpret the scripture can take you on a remarkable journey. But what happens when well-meaning advice like "spare the rod, spoil the child" gets lost in translation? We're on a mission to shed light on biblical parenting, giving it the deep dive it truly deserves. 

We tackle the origins of the phrase "spare the rod" and tear down misconceptions about its meaning. Get ready to unlearn what you know about the 'rod' in the Bible as we reveal the true meaning of the word 'shabbat'. We analyze verses like Proverbs 13:24, Psalm 23:4 and Exodus 21:20, giving you a fresh perspective on how the rod was used in biblical times. But it's not all about discipline; Jesus taught about not provoking our children to anger and we're here to discuss the implications of these teachings on our parenting styles.

The episode concludes with a hard look at the questionable parenting methods suggested in some books and the risks they pose. We champion the cause of being a Christ-like parent, encouraging and disciplining our children with love and understanding. Biblical parenting is a journey, and we're here to guide you every step of the way. Tune in for an enlightening discussion that will transform your perspective on parenting.

Support the Show.

If you like this show and believe in its message, please consider supporting our Patreon. For as little as $3/month, get access to behind the scenes content, early access to podcast episodes and more!

Send any questions or comments to allourlittlemesses@gmail.com. I'd love to hear from you guys!

Subscribe to the newsletter here to get periodic updates on blog posts and more!

Buy Me a Coffee!

If you liked this episode, consider buying me a coffee! It'll help keep me awake during late night editing sessions. Thank you!

Follow me on Instagram and Facebook for behind the scenes content and everyday posts about parenting and marriage.

Sounds from Zapsplat.com

Speaker 1:

Hello, and welcome to all our little messes. A podcast focused on healing through intentional conversations about parenting, relationships, religion, and more. I am your host Veronica Winrod, and I'm so happy to have you here listening in on my thoughts today. I hope you enjoyed this episode. Hello, everyone, and welcome back to all of our little messes. This is season one episode three, and today we'll be talking about the biblical background in gentle parenting. I like to

Speaker 2:

start off by talking about why I feel like

Speaker 1:

the concept of true biblical parenting needs to be talked about in Christian circles. There is a couple verses in the bible that particular Christians like to use as their foundation. To justify their method of parenting. And just a little bit of research shows that that is not a very strong foundation to base their parenting on or base their biblical their parenting decisions on, their opinions on. So,

Speaker 2:

also, I feel like you know, saying things like spirit, the god's boy, the child, and saying that it's

Speaker 1:

a biblical thing. And, you know, saying that in front of your young children, really sets them up to have this this false foundation of what the Bible actually stands for. And so I think it's really important that we we actually study and read and find out what those verses actually meant and how they're actually truthfully supposed to be applied to our parenting decisions and not just, you know, fly by the seat of our pants because you know, mister Stone and so, reverend, so and so, father, so, and so from wherever said so. Like, we really need to research this stuff for ourselves so that our children don't have a twisted idea of of scripture.

Speaker 2:

So I'd like to with that being said,

Speaker 1:

I'd like to go into the history of the phrase that a lot of people seem to use and A lot of people seem to believe is biblically based. The phrase, spare the rod, spoil the child. Now, I I grew up hearing that phrase a lot. It was in a lot of the parenting books that my family had me read I I heard it from teachers. I heard it from various, you know, priests. And I heard it from like my own parents and just like their friends. It was it was everywhere, and it was just a generally accepted, oh, it's in

Speaker 2:

the bible, spare the rods, boiler child, it's in the bible. And I I never questioned it actually until about a year and a half, two years ago.

Speaker 1:

When I was just scrolling through Instagram one day, and I came across this biblical parenting page. I don't actually even remember the name of the page anymore or tell you guys, but I came across this page that this account that said that spare the rod spoil the child was not a biblical phrase at all, and I just thought no way. Like, there's just no way. And they said that it came from a soterical poem written in the sixteen hundreds. And so I started researching the phrase, spare the rods by the child. And what I found just absolutely shocked me, like, It was it

Speaker 2:

was it was it was it was almost scandalous. Like, I couldn't believe Christians were taking this phrase and applying it to to small children, to how they were disciplining small children because, like, after reading where this phrase actually came from, like, I was just I was shocked. You guys, like, it was I I I wanted to laugh. Like, I'm almost laughing right now. Just thinking about this because it's so it's just absolutely ludicrous that this has happened and has been happening for the last four and a half centuries now. Like, It's absolutely insane to me. So the origin of the phrase where the rods spoil a child is actually from a seventeenth century poem about a sexual relationship between a widow, a protestant, not a protestant, sorry, a a

Speaker 1:

prostitute. And a man named Houdibros. The name of the poem is Houdibros. I believe I

Speaker 2:

am pronouncing that right. I could be wrong, but the poem was written by a man named Samuel Butler, and this was during a time when England was kind of being taken over by puritans and they're very

Speaker 1:

purchanical ideas about sexual relationships and things like that. So he wrote this poem in mockery of of their practices. And in that poem, It's it's basically about various it has a couple verses in there about various sexual fetishes, but One verse in particular is actually where the phrase spare the rock's bowler child comes from. And it reads, what medicine else can cure the fits of lovers when they lose their wits. Love is a boy by poet styled, then spare the rod and spoil the child. So in this verse, they take the love, the sexual relationship between these two lovers, this man and this woman, in particular, the the widow and Houda Ross. And basically, they use spanking, and they espouse it as a method to cure the relationship. Should the relationship start to fail? That the love is a boy by poet style. So the love, the relationship between them, is a boy, then spare the rod. Spoil the child. So if you spare the rod spanking in the relationship, then the child love will spoil. So in order to save your relationship, you needed to introduce spanking into it. So they for whatever reason, parents in this time period conveniently forgot about the whole concept and point behind the poem and behind this this verse in particular, and they really latched on to spare the rods by the child. So When the last This poem was actually published in three parts, and the last part was published in sixteen seventy eight. And it really became popular in the sixteen sixties on. The sixteen eighties is when people started latching under this quote and like spousing it as, you know, the biblical basis for a corporal discipline in the home.

Speaker 2:

And I say corporal discipline in the home, I'm not talking just against, you know, just with children. I'm talking about with, you know, with your wife too. Because that and that has a whole other phrase they call that domestic discipline. And that was also commonly used. This phrase was actually commonly used to justify domestic discipline against your

Speaker 1:

wife. So the actual

Speaker 2:

viable verse that I believe, you know, if you're gonna if you're gonna use you know, the bible to justify spanking in your home, then I I feel like people need to stop quoting, spare the rods, spoil the child. I mean, just after understanding it's it's basis, I I feel I find it a little bit creepy to use a poem on, you know, written in mockery of sexual fetishes. As justification for spanking a child. Like, I I find that slightly creepy that this has been going on for four and a half centuries now. And nobody's really blinking an eye about it. Like, nobody's I mean, you look at it. You can look it up online. Like, it's everywhere. There's articles and studies and all kinds of stuff by, you know, university professors and bible experts and everything else, you know, that are written on this. But in fundamentalist Christian circles, In, like, traditional religious circles, nobody talks about this. And I find that a little bit concerning that Nobody's talking about the fact that we're using a sexual poem to justify speaking her children like, that's That's a little bit sick and twisted. So that needs to obviously stop so that we

Speaker 1:

can actually get back to true. Biblical parenting. And if I

Speaker 2:

mean, if you're gonna if you're gonna use the bible to justify speaking your child, then I feel proverbs thirteen twenty four needs to be the one that you're gonna start quoting.

Speaker 1:

If you're gonna start quoting anything, you need to start quoting thirteen Proverbs thirteen twenty four, which actually says, he that spares his rod, hateth his son, but he that lovelth him chases into him, be times. And so a lot of people actually take the word rod in that verse and actually in it's it's all throughout Proverbs and the Old Testament in particular. The word rod being used in con conjunction with child discipline. And so a lot of people have taken that to mean you need to use an actual literal instrument against your children when disciplining them. And there, you know, there's there's countless books out there written in support of this method of parenting. And I'm sure a lot of you have probably heard of these books.

Speaker 2:

They actually became a little bit notorious over the past couple months because of the release of that

Speaker 1:

that documentary, shiny, happy people have written about IBLP and the Duggies. But

Speaker 2:

the book to train up

Speaker 1:

a child written by Mike and Debbie Pearl is one of the I I feel like it's one of

Speaker 2:

the biggest and most well known books put out there in support of spanking children and they use they use the bible a lot throughout that book to to justify their method of parenting. And one of their favorites is proverbs thirteen twenty four. And what I what I find

Speaker 1:

interesting is they don't actually use a rod So they're they're very much about, you know, following the bible literally. Like, we have to follow the bible literally. But

Speaker 2:

In Proverbs, Proverbs was basically written

Speaker 1:

by King Solomon as a guide book or a rulebook. From my understanding, it was written as a rulebook for one of his teenage sons. Like this is a set of rules. This is a set of disciplines to follow. And if you follow these, you will have success in life with basically the gist of the book of Proverbs. And so

Speaker 2:

where was it going with this? I will have to say I'm sorry about that. And a little disclaimer as I record you know, future episodes for about the next six, seven months. I am currently pregnant, so pregnancy brain has has definitely set in So if I if I have a random pause halfway through, it's probably because I've lost my train

Speaker 1:

of thought and I just my yeah. My brain lately. Anyways, so proverbs, the

Speaker 2:

book of proverbs was written as a guidebook. From my understanding,

Speaker 1:

it was written as a guidebook by King Salman for one of his teenage sons. It was written as a set of disciplines for his children. And so a lot of these things Like, he would write, there was one one verse in particular, where he wrote that

Speaker 2:

If you're a glutton, you should put a knife to your throat. So it is better to kill yourself. And put a knife to your throat and kill yourself, then it is to be a glutton. So if we were to take a lot of

Speaker 1:

the book of proverbs in the literal sense, than anyone who falls to

Speaker 2:

the sin of overeating at any point needs to put a knife to their throat and kill themselves. If we're going to follow it literally without even trying to have a basic understanding of

Speaker 1:

what the book of Proverbs is actually trying to say, then we need to kill ourselves. Now, obviously, we all know that to put our knife to

Speaker 2:

our throat and kill ourselves is, you know, a major sin against God. That's we we do not have guardianship over our own lives. God has control over that. So it's a sin for us to take our own life. Now people, but people in spite of this, people still take that verse, he that's birth, his rod, heeded his son, but he that loveth him Chasanith him be times. They take that literally to mean that if your child sins against you or against god, then you have to beat him with the rod. You work. You cannot spare the rod. You have to beat him with the rod.

Speaker 1:

And so obviously, that's, you know, that's led to a a culture of a lot of Christians

Speaker 2:

using corporal punishment and and believing that they're, you know, actually following the bible, which, you know, kudos to them. Like, you know, we're supposed to. We're supposed to follow the Bible. Like, we're supposed to do what we think God wants us to do. But in this case, like, I feel like it's a very very severe misunderstanding of what King Solomon was actually trying to say, and that's not imminent. That's not entirely everybody else's fault either because, you know, when the Bible was

Speaker 1:

translated, A lot was lost in translation. I mean, we had the bible in three different languages before it was translated finally into Latin and then from Latin. Into English and, you know, the various vernacular languages. So a lot is lost in translation, and so, like, sometimes in order to understand what the Bible is actually trying to say, we have to go back to the the original language that it was written in and see what that word was and how it best translates into, you know, translates into our current vernacular language that we're using. So in this case, English. And in English, so in in the word in the original Hebrew that the book of Proverbs was written and the word rod was Shabbat, which translated loosely into the rod the Shepard used to herd count, correct, or diagnose, like medically diagnose his sheep. And it's very, very important to note here that it was never ever used to beat or harm the sheep in any way. The only time the rod was ever used in a violent way was to beat away intruders, wolves. They talk about lions in the bible, the the shepherd beating away lions. I'm assuming in this case they pop hopefully be talking about, like, mountain lions and stuff like that. But it was never you cannot find an instance in the bible where it talks about the rod or staff being used to beat the sheep ever, ever. It always talks about comforting the sheep, protecting the sheep, correcting the sheep. It never talks about beating the sheep. And so, like, with our understanding of the word shabbat, meaning rod that the shepherd used to hurt his sheep. Like, without understanding, it would be it it's kind of laughable to think about the sheep trusting a shepherd or trusting an object when it's being used to, you know, diagnose a skin problem, for instance, because

Speaker 2:

they would use the crook at

Speaker 1:

the end of it to, like, lift the wool. And then, you know, to see if there was any skin problems. Like, it's kind of laughable to think about the shepherd using the same tool he used to beat the sheep to also medically diagnose the sheep. And the sheep being, you know, an animal with no deductive reasoning. It's kind of if it was used to harm him, that sheep would run away from it. And obviously, that didn't happen. So the word was actually the word the same the same translation, same word Shaba was actually also used in Psalm twenty three verse four, which is like one of the most popular and famous bible verses. It is, you know, one of the most famous, but one one phrase of that was they read. They read a nice staff. They comfort me. So like, I would just pose a question. How can an object that is used to be your child, also be a source of comfort to your child. Like, if if I used if I used a wooden spoon on my child

Speaker 2:

to to spank him with it,

Speaker 1:

he's probably not going to use it as a source of comfort when he's sad. It's not a comforting thing. So how is the staff? How can we say that I ride a nice staff? They comfort me? And then also turn around and say, he that spares his rod, hateth his son. Like, I I feel like the two the two understandings that we had the current understanding that parents have don't match.

Speaker 2:

And like, I feel like we've the parents really need

Speaker 1:

to dive into what this all means. And they actually have several there's several several verses Throughout the Old Testament in particular, Exodus twenty one:twenty. If a man smite his servant or his maid with a rod, and he die under his hand, he shall be surely punished. So we see here in this verse that the rod was a heavy enough instrument

Speaker 2:

in the bible that it was capable of killing a person. And I got into actually right into the book of exodus. It was actually written into the book of exodus that if you killed someone using your rod or staff, you were to be

Speaker 1:

punished. Because it was a heavy enough instrument. So how can we, you know, justify using a rod to, you know, discipline our children knowing that it also has the potential to kill them. Like, the the two do not they don't correlate they don't match up. Like, it's not it's not something that we can honestly even contemplate or think about. Like, it shouldn't even be a thought in our mind. So we just feel like a very basic basic understanding of the word shawbot, which was rod. The shepherd used it to herd his sheep. He used it to count his sheep. He used it To correct their direction, he used it to diagnose and heal his sheep. It was never used to beat or harm the sheep. So with that understanding of the word Shabbat, which means rod in original Hebrew in the bible, Just from a basic understanding of that, we can see that they are not speaking of an actual literal spanking or beating of a small child. Like, they are not speaking of that. They are speaking of discipline. He that spieth discipline hateth his son, but he that lubeth him chasoneth him behind. So we corrected them because we love them. We correct their direction, but we do not do it through physical violence against it. We do not do it with with corporal punishment. That is not something that I believe is is biblically based at all. And, like, we really need to study the bible in order to understand that. And as parents,

Speaker 2:

I think we all have a duty. Like, if we're going

Speaker 1:

to use the bibles to justify our parenting decisions, we we need to read the bible. And understand what it's saying, and we need to research this, to understand what it's actually saying. Otherwise, you're you're just quoting what somebody else said, and that's not that's not okay. That's not okay to just, you know, quote what Joe Smith down the road said, oh, Joe Smith said, you know, spare the rods, spoil the child, and he said it's biblical. So therefore, no, that's not. That's that's not enough. Like, we we need to actually we need

Speaker 2:

to actually look into this. We need to actually

Speaker 1:

Yeah. We need to look into what we're being told. Like, we just can't take it for granted anymore. Another verse that I'd like to bring up is Saint Paul in Collegium's chapter three verse twenty one said, do not provoke your child your children to anger unless they be discouraged. And in the original Greek that this was written in, it was also often understood to be broken in spirit. So discouraged also could mean broken in spirit. So provoking our children to anger and beating them down all the time was spoken against by Saint Paul because it could lead to a child being broken in spirit. And, you know, the use of a rod is an actual literal beating down and I I would say ninety five percent of the time it will lead a child to anger. Your child will be angry at you in one way or another. Even if they hide it from you, they will be angry at at the, you know, the injustice of of it all.

Speaker 2:

And, like, even even Jesus spoke out about you

Speaker 1:

know, driving our children to anger and and scandalizing them by our treatment of them. In Luke seventeen too, he said it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck and he cast into the sea, then he should scandalize one of these little ones. And that that is a very very heavy verse for us because he's literally saying that it would be better if we were dead. Then we should hurt or scandalize or in any other way hurt the face of one of his children, one of the children that he's given us to to guard and to disciple through life. So Like, we have to be very very careful with how we raise our kids and we have to be very very careful with how we apply the bible and how we just, you know, rapidly cast around bible verses, oh, the bible says, you know, we have to spank them with a rod.

Speaker 2:

And so, you know, we have literal is that we cut off of trees in in

Speaker 1:

a lot of cases, I've actually heard of parents doing this, or in to train up a child, they go into they actually suggest that parents use a length of plumber the plumbers piping no greater than a quarter inch in diameter. And they suggest that you use that to spank your kids with. And there have been several several people that actually tested it on themselves. They bought it. They tested it on themselves. Before they use it on their children because they're like, there's just no way this is not gonna hurt them and they said it was a very light spot. And they left welts on themselves. So all of these these parenting books using this these verses to justify spanking and corporal punishment and children

Speaker 2:

seriously leading Christians, other Christians astray. Like, it is a very serious problem. And I will be getting I I actually will be

Speaker 1:

getting into those books next week and next week's episode because Like, I grew up with those books, and I

Speaker 2:

grew up around people that had read those books. And I I never thought twice about them.

Speaker 1:

It was just, you know, that was just the way you raise your kids. That was the way we do it. Right? And this book was like a guidebook for that. And like now that I've actually researched the bible verses that these people use, and actually gone into the theology that they base this on. Like, there's just it there's so many so many problems. I'm actually currently going through to train up a child and the no greater joy series with the highlighter. Like, highlighting all of these things, like, that are just so very problematic where they take the bible and they twist it to fit a certain narrative. And it's

Speaker 2:

a huge

Speaker 1:

problem. And it's one that definitely needs to be talked about more. Like, we are not we are called to encourage our children and to chasten them with with the rod of correction. K? With the rod of correction not, chasing them with a rod of correction or called to chasing them with the rod of correction, which we as we already have seen, translates into discipline. And we're not called to beat them with the literal rod or or apply any kind of of physical punishment on our children. And so, like I said, we all of us as parents like, the second the second we we become aware that we that God has called us to be parents. The second we become aware of this, like, It is our job to research and to know the bible. And to know what it is that God is calling all of us as parents to do. He's calling us to disciple his children. He's calling us to guide his children. He is calling us to to help them, not to provoke them to anger, not to scandalize them, not to anger them so much that they we cause them to lose their faith little by little and to break their spirit. Like, we're we're called to herd them towards him or cow to diagnose any, you know, spiritual or physical problems that they have or called to heal them. Recall to actually discipline them and discipline it means to teach. Recall to teach them. We're not called. The bible does not call us to beat our children with a rod. It is it is simply not in there and like we we really need to move towards that that kind of understanding. Of of grace and gentleness with our children. Like, Jesus had so much love for little children. He was so gentle with them. And, like, one of my biggest one of my biggest things that really drove me towards this method of parenting was the thought, like, I would ask myself if I could see actually see Jesus spanking my two year old son. Like, if I can't see Jesus spanking or raising a hand against one of the children, his children, like, What am I doing? Why am I doing this? And so, like, if if we can't see god doing this to in one of his children, then we are we should not do it either because we are all called to be Christ like as much as is humanly possible. We are called to follow along his path. I am the way the truth and the life. We are literally called to follow him, and so we have to do our ultimate, very best to do that. And as parents, our vocation is to follow him, as parents, like, we we need to do our best to follow the Bible. And there's there's so many words of wisdom. There's so much truth in the Bible when it comes to parenting. I mean, it's absolutely chalk full of it once you start looking for it. It's absolutely unbelievable because it is such a huge part of the world. Like the family is the backbone of society. And so it's honestly not all that surprising if you think about it. You know, that the bible would be just full of of guidance for parents to follow because we we really do shape the world with how we raise our kids. And so if we want to make the world a better place, then that starts with with us having an actual bounce and true understanding of what Christ is trying to teach us. Thank you so much for listening in on this episode. However, brief it was, this episode on my understanding of biblical parenting and how I can apply it to my life and just the little bits of research I've done I was going to go into a little bit about the different Christian parenting books that I've come across in my research into this, but I think I'm gonna save that for the next episode before this episode gets a little too long for you guys. So next week, I will be going into different books like to train up a child, no greater joy. Just different books

Speaker 2:

that basically justify spanking within a a family and that use the bible to justify it.

Speaker 1:

And so I'll just be kind of going into a brief breakdown

Speaker 2:

of that. So tune in next Thursday for an episode on that, and I will see you guys all next week.

Speaker 1:

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Exploring the Origins of Biblical Parenting
Understanding Discipline in Biblical Context
Understanding Biblical Parenting and Spanking
Episode Wrap-Up and Call to Action