Hebrews 12

But in the Hebrews text we have this pesky use of the word “scourges” which definitely means to beat and hurt. The thing is, that’s nowhere in the original verses. They are found in the Septuagint and that is the source being cited and I believe that the Lord oversaw all of the writing of Scripture-and Hebrews is definitely Scripture. The thing is, the presence of this word does not change the meaning of the passage and must not be allowed to argue for something not intended by the author. Our author of Hebrews is not arguing that God punishes so human parents should punish, or that human parents punish so God punishes. Our author is saying that even difficult, painful, and “following Jesus to the cross” times in our life are things we can learn from. No matter how painful, until we have suffered to the point of death we are learning lessons and we can be encouraged by viewing everything we experience as the discipline of the Lord.

One interesting thing I’ve found about this passage that I will share. Apparently the word “scourge” first appears in the KJV and then is translated back into Greek texts by later translators. This is supported by the fact that the references in the study Bible are for Strong’s dictionary which is the dictionary for the KJV. I contacted the head of the Aramaic Society which is very much into researching the most original texts, and this is what I learned. Aramaic is the oldest Semitic language and basically original Hebrew. In the version of the Bible they are releasing, this is how the passage reads for verse 6: “For those whom the Lord loves He chastens him, and disciplines the son in whom He is pleased.” I was assured that in the oldest versions of this text the idea of scourge is nowhere present. Discipline yes. Scourge no. This would be a more accurate representation of the verses being cited.

Ultimately, each and every passage of Scripture must be viewed in light of all of Scripture and I would never scourge my children because one verse that says this is something fathers do without even suggesting it is something they should do. Certainly any argument for modern day spanking based on this one reference in Hebrews is built on incredibly shaky ground and I do not believe an argument can be made for this practice based on this citation.

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