A Wise Child Will Hear His Parents Instruction

We must face the fact that many today are notoriously careless in their living. This attitude finds its way into the church. We have liberty, we have money, we live in comparative luxury. As a result, discipline practically has disappeared. What would a violin solo sound like i … More


It is only when the heart is ready to receive instruction, and the ear is ready to hearing that a person will grow in his spiritual life  (v. 12). There is a big difference between reading the Bible, or hearing it explained, and then in meditating upon it. This is why so many people never grow much in their Christian lives. Children need both verbal and physical correction. Just words and threatening will never produce an obedient spirit. One of the biggest mistakes many parents make is hollering at their children rather than using the rod (v. 13). Following this Bible  principle of discipline is of great value to the child and will spare him from the ruin that is bound to accompany the undisciplined life (v. 14). The joy of a parent whose child has learned from parental discipline is inexpressible (vv. 15-16).

Envying sinners (Ps. 37:1), and wanting to do what they do, is senseless because they have no hope (vv. 17-18). The immediate pleasure of sin cannot be compared with the ultimate hope associated with the fear of the Lord. By listening and heeding his father’s instruction, and desiring the right path, a son is wise (vv. 19-21). One way to stay on “the right path” is to avoid drunkenness (cf. 20:1) and gluttony (cf. 23:2). These two sins cause drowsiness, which results in laziness and poverty. Heeding parental instruction is repeated often in Proverbs, apparently because of children’s tendency to go their own  ways. Wise children will respect their parents when they are “old” (mature)  (vv. 22-23).  One of the reasons many children are disrespectful and fail to care for their parents as they grow old is because they were not properly disciplined when they were young. Wise children respect their parents when they are old and to do otherwise is to disobey the fifth commandment (Exodus 20:12).


In order to follow God’s instruction in this passage concerning the raising of my children I must go against what society is telling me. Our society is telling me not to spank my children and the Bible is telling me what the results will be.

Proverbs 23:12-23 (English Standard Version)

Apply your heart to instruction and your ear to words of knowledge. 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. My son, if your heart is wise, my heart too will be glad. My inmost being will exult when your lips speak what is right. Let not your heart envy sinners, but continue in the fear of the LORD all the day. Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off. Hear, my son, and be wise, and direct your heart in the way. Be not among drunkards or among gluttonous eaters of meat, for the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, and slumber will clothe them with rags. Listen to your father who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old. Buy truth, and do not sell it; buy wisdom, instruction, and understanding.

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