What words are associated with Biblical discipline?
There are a variety of terms used in Scripture in regards to discipline, but are we incorrectly understanding these words through our own cultural lens? I decided to look up each of these words in the dictionary in order to have a better understanding of their true meaning.
Discipline: training to act in accordance with rules; activity that develops or improves a skill; to bring to a state of order and obedience by training
Discipline your son, for there is hope; do not set your heart on putting him to death.
Reproof: to criticize or correct, especially gently
The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.
Train: to develop or form the habits, thoughts or behavior by discipline and instruction; to make proficient by instruction and practice
Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.
Instruct: to impart knowledge; to furnish with knowledge, to teach, to educate
Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
Teach: to impart knowledge or skill
You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.
Correct: to point out errors or faults
Correct your son, and he will give you comfort; He will also delight your soul.
The majority of these terms emphasize verbal correction – NOT physical correction.
It’s interesting to note that Scripture also indicates that the Word of God does ALL of these things!
2 Timothy 3:16-17
Now that we know what Biblical discipline means, let’s explore how we should discipline by looking at the only perfect Father – our Heavenly Father.