Can I Keep My Child Out of Hell? Biblical Spankings Are the First Step

Want to spice up the conversation at your monthly teas ladies?  Maybe you want some fireworks at your next bridge night. Or better yet, how about ruining your golf partner’s perfect drive by asking him seconds before he tees off if he spanks his three year old! Not only will he drive the ball squarely into cabbage (it’s a slang golf term for hitting the ball into inescapable rough), he may hurl his driver in your direction and glare at you for your impeccable (or not so impeccable) timing.  Let’s hope he didn’t have much of a wager going.

So why does this topic create so many sparks? Why do people get really hot when the topic comes up?  Do they really believe that a parent who spanks their child lovingly and biblically is psychologically hurting their child, forever?  It seems that emotions seem to run a lot hotter on this topic than even politics. This puzzles me greatly.  There shouldn’t be such soul vexations on this subject that for centuries, even millenniums, was not a topic for debate at all. Spankings used to be an uncontested parental tool to direct a child away from foolishness (a favorite term in the Book of Proverbs for people who act like idiots and don’t think before they do crazy things).

I want to propose that parents who spank their children lovingly and biblically are taking the first step of keeping them out of hell. I also want to propose that parents who spank their children angrily and un-biblically, meaning for selfish reasons rather than for the good of the child, are doing just the opposite.  They are contributing to their child’s rebellion which is putting them directly on the path to hell.

The Book of Proverbs is the world’s foremost source for wise parenting. In it, the author, King Solomon, guides us as parents in the proper role of corporal punishment as an effective tool to lead our children unto godliness and heaven. If you are a Bible-wise parent, and you know the descriptions of hell that came out of Jesus’ mouth, then you would realize that there is nothing more important in all of life than to put your children on a path to heaven. So let’s get serious. Your children will spend an eternity in heaven or hell and there is much that you as a parent can do to ensure their arrival and entrance into the Heavenly City. When I say much you can do, I mean a whole lot more than you think.

It would be good for every parent in every Christian home to ponder these verses: Proverbs 23:13–14 says “Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you strike him with a rod, he will not die. If you strike him with the rod, you will save his soul from Sheol”. (ESV)  Now what is Sheol? It’s easy for me to make a case that Sheol is the Old Testament and Hebrew understanding of Hades.  The translators who wrote the LXX or Septuagint Bible translated Sheol as Hades most of the time. If that understanding holds, then Sheol would be the same as the Hades referred to in the Book of Revelation in chapter 20 verse 14.  It says this, “Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire”. (ESV) To be blunt and mildly insensitive, parents who refuse to discipline their children with the rod are sending their children to Sheol/Hades which is a holding tank reserved for all those who will eventually be sent to the Lake of Fire which is Hell. Remember, I did not say that. Solomon did.

Perhaps you are impressed with statistics and research that backs up what these Scriptures say.  Although there is absolutely no need to do so since the Bible has no competition when it comes to speaking absolute truth, nevertheless there is substantial documentation to show that loving discipline applied proportionately to the infractions are extremely beneficial to the child.

Let’s start with the polls.  How many people believe it is good for children to receive a good spanking when necessary? Here are the numbers: Sixty-two percent (62%) of Latino and Caucasian women believe it is sometimes necessary to give a child a “good hard spanking”. Eighty-one percent (81%) of African American women would agree with their Latino and Caucasian sisters. Seventy-three percent (73%) of Latino men, seventy-six percent (76%) of Caucasian men, and eighty percent (80%) of African American men agree with their Latino, Caucasian and African America sisters that it is sometimes necessary to give a child a “good hard spanking”.[1]

Research on this topic is pathetically unreliable since no behavioral scientist can segregate out all of the variables to come up with accurate data. Do children who have rebellious personalities cause parents to spank more often with less results? Likely they do.  Do children with compliant personalities require less spankings and therefore skew the results toward the conclusion that less spankings produce better behaved children? Again, likely they do.

Here is a quote from Focus on the Family’s website I find very helpful in this discussion: “Research also supports the fact that, when used correctly and infrequently and as one of many discipline forms, spanking has been a common factor in kids with well-developed self-motivation, empathy, morality and character”.[2] ​

If you need further advice about when to spank or not to spank, I found this article at Focus on the Family to be super helpful. I believe you will to. Here’s the link:

One final thought about spanking (from a dad who was once guilty of spanking the wrong daughter). If you are going to spank, do it out of public view, and in such a way as to bring real, not fake tears, to the eyes of the child to produce genuine repentance.  In other words, no spanking through a diaper. That’s meaningless, actually it is defeating the purpose because you are teaching the child the threat of a spanking has no pain.

Oh, and two more final words from my editor daughter (the one I shouldn’t have spanked) –1) make sure the child knows to the best of their ability why they are being disciplined and 2) make sure this is done calmly with no hint of anger.

Here’s to your children’s hell-free future. May you enjoy eternity with them because you were astute enough to take advice from the wisest man who ever lived. Yes, that would be King Solomon. Can’t wait to meet him.


[2] Ibid.

About Darryl Knappen

I shepherd the flock of believers called Cornerstone Church in Alexandria, MN, a family integrated Baptist Church and more importantly am married to a fabulous woman named Pati who is grandmother to our 5 wonderful grandchildren, Luke, Wyatt, Brin, Livy and Eleanor (Ellie).
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