The Nature of Chastening (IV)

Mike Grushon
Lebanon, Tennessee

We have been engaged in a study of the topic chastisement. In the last two segments we have studied the text of Hebrews 12 which is the longest single passage in the New Testament dealing with the subject. In order to get a well-balanced insight into the applications of the words translated chastisement, it is desirable that we observe a few of the other occurrences of its usage in the New Testament.

In Titus 2:12 this reading is found: "Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world." Here the same root word translated chastisement in Hebrews is translated "teaching." Literally its usage means discipline through the accepting of verbal instruction.1 Barclay in his book prefers the use of "schooling" to that of "teaching," but whichever is used the basic idea remains the same.2

In I Corinthians 11:32 Paul says "We are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world." This clearly points out the use of the word "chastened" to be discipline. God's acts of chastening have as their motive that we might be partakers of his holiness. In this report, he manifests his love. Not all suffering is chastening; not all suffering is for the sake of discipline. Suffering may be the result of faithfulness and devotion, and we glory in our persecutions. Chastening is a matter for humbling, not for glorying.3 In connection with this passage, we should look at Revelation 3:19 where it is written, "As many as I love, I reprove and chasten." God's love is holy love and cannot in any way be inconsistent with His holy character. That love directs the chastening, so that it is for our profit.4

In the admonition, "Ye father, provoke not your children to wrath; but bring them up in the nurture and the admonition of the Lord," found in Ephesians 6: 4, the idea of parental training is advanced. This usage parallels the usage and application of a large part of the text in the Hebrew letter. In this passage the parents are cautioned in their attitudes during their raising up of a child. In Hebrews the observance is made about how often they fail in attempting to do so. 5 Barclay concerned himself mainly with the idea of the passage being warning to parents; however, another important aspect of the passage is the use of the word nurture. In bringing up a child, the parents nurture him; they do not immediately treat him as an adult, rather they bring him up step by step, until he is ready to live as an adult. Such is the nature of God's chastening. It nurtures; it prepares the Christian to lead the more excellent Christian life. 6

In both Acts 7:22 and 22:13 the words are translated in such a way as to imply formal training. Acts 7:22 says that Moses was brought up in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and Acts 22:23 refers to the religious training of Paul at the feet of Gamaliel. In these cases the education is in the form o! a formal education.7

"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works." In this passage several thoughts connected with the scriptural use of chastening can be observed. Three different words, which carry in their meaning, some implication of our concept of chastening, are used in this passage in most English translations of the Bible. They are "reproof," "correction," and "instruction."8 In this text the words are used in relation to the power of the scriptures, but there can also be drawn a correlation to the words as they are used in relation to certain aspects of chastening.

The scriptures are valuable for reproof, not because they find fault, but because they convict a person of the error of his ways and point him towards the right way. In a similar manner, chastening is a reproof. It tempers us when we are wrong, and points us to the right way. 9

The second of the three words is "correction." When used in this sense it means to work as a standard, or to test against a standard. Chastening helps us eventually to measure up to God's standard; therefore it in this sense corrects us. The final word is "instruction." In this text the Bible instructs a person in righteousness. It trains a person, preparing him for life. In the same manner chastening is instruction. It educates or trains a person for the Christian life.10


1. Hamilton

2. Barclay, OP. CIT., p. 201.

3. W. E. Vine, FIRST CORINTHIANS, (London: Oliphants Limited, 1951), p. 162.

4. Ibid.

5. William Barclay, THE LETFERS TO THE GALATIANS AND EPHESIANS, (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1958), pp. 209-211.

6. Halley, OP. CIT., pp. 10-11.

7. W. R. Walker, STUDIES IN ACTS, (College Press).

8. William Barclay, THE LETTERS TO TIMOTHY, TITUS AND PHILEMON, (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1960), pp. 228-229.

9. Ibid.

10. Ibid.

TRUTH MAGAZINE XIV; 20, pp. 10-11

March 26, 1970