This posting is a response to a blog entitled “7 Things You Won’t Find in the Bible… I Dare You to Look.” I am taking that challenge! The seventh (and last) listed phrase was “Spare the rod and spoil the child.” I would agree that the phrase is not found in our English Bible—but what about the principle behind the phrase?
Words by themselves are meaningless—it is only when we attach meaning to the words that communication occurs. The principle behind this phrase can be found in the Bible, but the phrase can be heresy when different meanings are behind the words and the phrase.
Spare the rod and spoil the child ~ The author of that piece supported his position by quoting the following verses.
(1) “He who withholds his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him diligently” (Proverbs 13:24).
(2) “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; the rod of discipline will remove it far from him” (Proverbs 22:15).
(3) “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” (Proverbs 23:13-14).
(4) “The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child who gets his own way brings shame to his mother” (Proverbs 29:15).
The principle of “spare the rod and spoil the child” is clearly implied by these verses.