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Dear friends,

Welcome to my blog. I am honored to have you visit. I hope you'll find my articles a blessing. I welcome your input and especially comments and questions.

I write as a Christian from Jerusalem, Israel about Biblical subjects.

I am particularly interested in the subjects of children, families, women's issues, corporal punishment, science and nature as these subjects relate to the Holy Scriptures.

For more information, see my website: www.biblechild.com

With every good wish - Samuel Martin

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Twenty Two Testimonies about the free ebook "Thy Rod and Thy Staff, They Comfort Me: Christians and the Spanking Controversy

Twenty Two Testimonies about the free ebook

"Thy Rod and Thy Staff, They Comfort Me:

Christians and the Spanking Controversy

To get your free ebook, write: info@biblechild.com or download Samuel Martin's free ebook - Thy Rod and Thy Staff, They Comfort Me: Christians and the Spanking Controversy here - http://www.biblechild.com/assets/thy-rod-and-thy-staff-they-comfort-me-mar-2013.pdf

These 22 testimonies are all from Christian mothers.

From my inbox - "Hello,I've ordered your book from the bookshop as I didn't know you give it away for free.

I am a Christian, I am also a mother. I am at the moment a member of a church that preaches beating children as a godly way of disciplining them. to be honest it scares me as for years I have been working with young people and families and I just know how much harm and anger issues this can cause.

I have been researching this issue for a long time. I am trying to find as much biblically based evidence to try and speak about it to my husband and my Pastor. I want them to understand that what I am saying to them is not based on my feelings and rebellion against God's word but on the Bible.

I would appreciate any written materials on this topic so please, if you have got any more, would you please send or forward it to me.  Thank you"


This is an older testimony about my book - a very powerful and meaty post - "I just recently received a copy of your book and have gotten through about 1/3rd of it. I'm glad you wrote it and I'm glad I've come across it. It's been quite intriguing thus far.

Personally, I too have come to many of the same convictions you have concerning children and corporal punishment. Many of my first inklings of something being wrong though, came from observations that the "traditional methods" prescribed by most Christian "experts" on child rearing were ineffective on my son. He's a bit more "complicated" than most children since he has seizures, Autism and is believed to have some brain damage from a birth injury. Needless to say, these "Biblical methods" were not only ineffective, but down right inappropriate. I came to the conclusion that if Biblical truth were applicable across all boards than it should also be effective across all boards too - which truly wasn't the case with my son.

I too do a lot of Bible study in looking at the Greek and Hebrew texts themselves. So I do most appreciate your vanish point in presenting the material as you have. There is a verse in the Bible that states "what men meant for evil, God meant for good" and although the verse is contained in a story about Joseph and his brothers; I think there is some good principle in that statement. Even "standing alone" outside of the story where it is contained we can see practical life application in the idea it portrays. I've considered this verse many times in a variety of contexts and think it bears some general application to the controversy of hitting children. We know our thoughts are not God's thoughts and we also know the Hebrew language lends it's-self to a variety of truths presented in a pictorial form. I've looked up various verses that contain the word "rod" and "beat" and I'm not convinced that man in general has necessarily understood or interpreted these verses as God had intended in the penning there of. Now I do believe that the men who wrote them wrote them accurately as instructed; I'm just not so sure that we understand them well on account of our fallen nature.

I think it can be of a certain amount of wisdom to study a culture and understand how those specific people interpreted their own Holy Writings, but I don't think it's necessarily needed to totally understand Jewish culture in order to interpret the Scripture. The Bible has a pretty amazing way of defining it's-self and when we look at it isolated from what we think we know if it - some pretty profound truth can "jump out and bite us" when we least expect it. It's interesting historically to see what Jewish scholars over the centuries have thought of these verses in Proverbs; but I think it's prudent to keep in mind that Jesus had a lot of problems with these same "scholars" himself.
The truth of the matter is that life 2000 years ago was very harsh, regardless of weather you were a Jew or Gentile. In the Roman world, it was permissible to literally beat your children to death. Likewise in Deuteronomy 21:18+ a son could be put to death by request of his parents. Many scholars and lay people alike look at the harshness of the law and seek ways for it to not appear to be so punitive. The truth of the matter is though, that the law was conveyed specifically to produce death. (For in the law is the strength of sin and the wages there of are death.) If there is ever a time we should be grateful to be living under grace it should be now.
When Jesus came into this world, the light was revealed and as a consequence of that truth and grace being poured out (in the form of the Holy Spirit) subsequent generations and societies past that of the generation of the disciples inherited a very different world than the people of Moses day. Even the people of other religions (in this case the Jews) saw something fundamentally unpalatable about "the way things used to be". The "lighter" interpretation of Proverbs from the Rabbis you cited in your book was a consequence of this grace and truth. The law it's-self holds no mercy, and this is why those who strive to hold a "letter of the law" adherence to it, bear very little mercy themselves. This is why we see "religiously sanctioned child abuse" in much of "conservative Christianity" today. So yes, the interpretation that the first century and prior Jew physically beat their adolescent sons with sticks is probably true.

The point you made about the different stages of development referenced in the Hebrew words themselves was of a quite keen observation. I'd caught onto part of that when I'd done a study that I'd presented to a pastor regarding what God actually considered as sexual abuse. This pastor had stated that because Daniel had been castrated by the Babylonians in order to serve as a protectorate of the King's family - that this constituted the worst type of sexual abuse. Daniel having had "his desire taken away" was the worst thing this man could imagine. Obviously anyone who honestly compares Daniel's interpretation of his own experience to the experience of someone who's been brutally raped; can see a profound difference in the psychological impact of the two people in question. Comparing Daniel to a rape victim is like comparing a child who's been pushed down at the playground to a murder victim.
One of the things I noticed in this study I did; also touched on the different Hebrew words for "child". I don't know if you caught this but the word "na'ar" has it's roots in the context of a lion shaking off his mane. I found this very interesting in the context of the study I was doing since a male lion doesn't bear a mane to "shake off" until he's reached the point of being a reproductively viable animal. So what this said to me, was that a "na'ar" was an individual who had entered puberty but hadn't quite gotten to the age where they were considered mature enough to consummate a marriage. Thus the next stage in the Hebrew language - ("bthulah" and "bachur") people who were eligible for marriage but hadn't surpassed the marriage ceremony. (There are a few verses in Judges (I believe) that state God was displeased with those who'd engaged in sexual activity with children who'd not entered puberty yet.)
In your book you'd concluded that "na'ar" referred to a child over ten years old. One thing you are probably not aware of though (most people aren't) is that prior to the 20th century; the average age of menstruation was 17! Today it's 11. Why is this of interest? In the context of the Hebrew word "na'ar" - a "na'ar" is an adolescent who was probably closer to 15 or 16 than 10. Boys generally enter puberty later than girls. So, what did this mean in the context of first century adolescent boys? Developmentally, the synapse in the brain don't close until a child is about 9 years old. This is when the brain stops "growing" - the neurons stop differentiating and the growth plates in the skull start to calcify. From that point the brains "job" is to develop myelin sheathing around the nerves. This actually improves the reasoning ability of the child. (This is also the point in which their cognitive potential is set.) The later onset of puberty actually gave children more time to learn to reason. They had more time to mature mentally before puberty hit. They had more time to learn how to think clearly and engage in forward backward reasoning.
We see this in Luke with 12 year old Jesus in the temple. When Mary and Joseph finally find him; we see the answers he gives are technically correct but very black and white. He lacks the sophisticated thought processes of an older teen. He's not being rude, he's still a child - an "elem" if you will. His brain lacks the myelin sheathing that would allow him to think in a more sophisticated manner than he does. (He's obviously also lacking the presence of the hormones that initiate puberty.) Later in the passage it talks about Jesus increasing in physical size and puberty is the primary cause of physical growth in boys.
So getting back to those boys who were "beat with a rod" we see there is a variety of potential ages in this category, as well as a wide gap between what we see as "na'ar" today and what would have been historically true. Since developmental stages are a vary individual thing; we see that the Hebrew words are defined by the stages, not classified by age categories. Also we see these adolescent boys were not lacking in reasoning capacity - as an 11 or 12 year old would be.

So, there's some interesting stuff for you to chew on; as well as additional information for those interested in serious study of the spanking issue. Hope you found it enlightening. I'm enjoying your book and looking forward to finishing it."


"Hi, I stumbled upon the blog, Dulce de Leche, and Samuel Martin’s blog was mentioned as well as the offer of a book about the Scriptures and spanking – Thy Rod and Thy Staff, They Comfort Me.

I have been struggling with the whole spanking issue. I grew up being spanked, which did not harm me, as far as I can tell, but I also do not know that it benefitted me, seeing as my parents only punished doing wrong and failed to teach how to do right.

Now, with my own children (two 2-year olds) I see that when I spank them (because I was taught that’s what good parents do), it seems to exasperate them rather than discourage them from doing wrong. Though I have been very intentional in trying to teach them what they should do instead, the spanking seems to make them behave worse. When I stopped spanking them a few weeks ago, I saw major improvement in their behavior and attitudes, as well as in my own attitude.

A few years ago, I was told by my (former) pastor that even if spanking were made illegal, Christian parents should still spank their children because they are commanded to in Scripture (the “spare the rod, spoil the child verse”, which is, even to me clearly, not a command). He basically told us (my husband and I) that we would be sinning if we did not spank our children.

All this to say, spanking has not been sitting right with me, but I want to follow the Scriptures, whatever that may be. I believe God led me to this site at this time for a reason. I was looking for information on a completely different topic when I came upon this, but this is perfect timing considering where I am at in my parenting journey.

I would greatly appreciate a copy of the book. Is this book available in a digital format? For Kindle, or as a .pdf?


From the inbox - The problem of smacking (how the term 'spanking' is referred to in British daily talk) is one which also of a concerning to those parents and families and living in my birth country (the UK) - "I hope this finds you well. I saw your free offer of your pamphlet on child spanking/hitting mentioned on the internet. I live in England - I wonder if I could receive it. I have felt for a longtime that this hitting of children can't be right or Christian - I would appreciate looking at the Biblical evidence."


"Is your eBook "Thy Rod and Thy Staff, They Comfort Me: Christians and the Spanking Controversy" still available? I read an excerpt online and it seems like it would be a great tool in 'debunking' the beliefs of some Christians that children *have* to be spanked. I am against spanking and it's hard to 'prove' to them that they're not correct, and that I am not being a bad parent for not using or allowing the use of corporal punishment on my kids. Thanks!"

SIXTH - from a mom now a foster mother

Wow! I'm so glad that you have been able to give this book out to so many. [over 400 in the last 12 months] I still am so grateful that I discovered it. It has helped us to parent each of our children with love and respect. We have recently become foster parents and I was so proud to be able to say that we were Christians who don't spank. They make foster parents sign a contract to not spank foster children if they use corporal punishment with their own children. They are so used to Christians spanking there own children and seemed surprised that we didn't.

Blessing to you and all the work that you do.


"I would very much appreciate a PDF copy of your book “Thy Rod and Thy Staff, They Comfort Me; Christians and the Spanking Controversy".

Well since then I married and brought up two daughters. In the {mentions denomination] culture of the time, under pressure from the ministry, I did apply a limited amount of spanking with my elder daughter for a very few years, but by the time my second daughter was born I had come to the view that this was not a Christian way to bring up a child, and neither daughter was spanked from then on.

My daughters are now two fine, loving adult ladies. My eldest daughter is now married, and has a two year old son, and a three week old daughter.

She too is now concerned to bring up her children in a correct way, but is also aware of some pressure on her to apply spanking, which she has thus far resisted.

I would appreciate you sending a copy of the book to me, and I presume you would have no objections to me forwarding a copy on to her? Or alternatively I can ask her to contact you direct."


"I came upon your book title, "Thy Rod and Thy Staff, They Comfort Me: Christians and the Spanking Controversy," in a blog posted by The Hippie Housewife, where she mentions you are offering your book on corporal punishment and the Bible free of charge. As my husband and I are pregnant with our first child, and discussing discipline philosophy, I was wondering if your offer is still good?"


"Hello, I am writing to request a free download of the book "Thy Rod and Thy Staff, They Comfort Me; Christians and the Spanking Controversy" by Samuel Martin. I am a Christian, expecting my first child in August. I am floored by the willingness of many Christians to twist the Word of God so horribly. I look forward to having this book as a tool to back up what I already believe about parenting with the grace God parents us."


"I am a new mom to a beautiful baby girl and have recently found your blog! I was hoping to get a copy of your book, Thy rod and thy staff...????

I was spanked as a child and always thought that was what God wanted but THANK JESUS for the many revelations I have had recently about parenting! I just feel so genuinely excited about raising my daughter now...thinking God expected / wanted me to hit my kids to teach them right always felt wrong to me but I was prepared to do it bc I really believed that to be what God wanted. I'm so grateful my eyes have been opened. And so looking forward to educating myself more on this issue. Thank you for what you do!!! You are a blessing."


Hello! I am so excited about your book. The biblical spanking issue is one I feel God has put on my heart since childhood, as I was spanked and have vivid memories of it. Where many have forgotten the child's perspective with spankings, I remember them well and with much pain.
Please send me your book! "Thy Rod and Thy Staff, They Comfort Me; Christians and the Spanking Controversy" by Samuel Martin


I would like the PDF of "Thy Rod and Thy Staff, They Comfort Me; Christians and the Spanking Controversy", please.

I am newish to this topic and my husband and I feel like gentle parenting is the right thing for our child(ren).


Hello! Someone in an unschooling group I'm apart of posted a link to your post about a free .pdf of your book. My husband and I are gentle parents {guess that's how you'd word it} ever since Michael and Debi Pearl's teachings were suggested to us and we tried them out on our then 18mo daughter. She began hitting herself any time she was spanked, no matter what we did. That made us evaluate what we were doing and what we could do instead. Gentle parenting hasn't been the easiest, but it's definitely been very worth it.
I'm definitely interested in reading your book and I'll send others your way to get a free copy as well


More from the inbox - I'd like the PDF of your book. I really appreciate your work. I've seen first hand the damage that the teachings of the Pearls and this like them can do.


I came across your website and book (Thy Rod and Thy Staff) as I was searching online for Bible scholars who do not believe the Bible says to spank in those five Proverbs. Reverend Moody was the only other name I found – do you, by any chance, know of other “big” names who agree with your interpretation? I’ve looked at John Macarthur, John Piper, and many others who say the verses mean to spank, and I just don’t see how they can say that. I am doing this research because my church is currently showing the Tedd Tripp DVDs “Shepherding Your Child’s Heart,” where he teaches parents to spank for every offense.
Your book as been very helpful in clarifying some things for me! Thank you for making it available online. "


More from the inbox - "I'd love to read a copy of your book. My husband and I were both abused and while we choose not to spank, we have hit our children in anger in the past. As we have worked on our abuse issues and grown closer to God, it has gotten easier to take a moment and not react out of anger.
Our children's guidance counselor gave a class on Love and Logic and that also really helped.
One of my friends shared your status on Facebook today. I shared it after reading the discussion left in the comments of that status. I thou you'd be interested in what I posted:

This is great. I think it's pretty sad that people are using this status to argue that hitting a child is necessary. How else do you discipline? Consequences, removal, distraction...all depending on the situation and age of the child.

We get disciplined at work and in society without hitting. In fact, we're told hitting and bullying is wrong. Yet we think kids are too stupid to learn without hitting...while being smart enough to understand that hitting from a caregiver is different?"


"Thank you! I read the intro and can't wait to read the rest of your book.
So far I'm in total agreement with everything you've said.

I've shared a couple of these concepts with my friends in the past and they shrug their shoulders pick up their Ezzo/Tripp books and think they are still completely in God's plan. I am excited about a scholarly/biblical look at this topic that I hope can be shared with others to broaden this discussion. I am pained by this issue because I think well-meaning and loving parents are being deceived, thinking they are doing right. One of the ways they are deceived is by authors that flatter them into thinking they are good parents for taking their advice. I pray that God would continue to open eyes to the lies that are being sold, so that children would be raised without harm, bathed in love, grace, mercy, and training of their HEARTS that leads them to the free gift of Jesus in the gospel...not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Ghost."


"I am in full support and am still so extremely thankful for your book. It has given me such resolve and a sense of peace in what I am doing with my daughter. I am indeed treading in new water, as far as my own family is concerned, but I'm also blazing a path to be seen, and hopefully, some day emulated by fellow family, as I go. My family will be the evidence that it can be done by someone with little experience in gentle rearing, but a determination given and confirmed by God Himself. I want to thank you soooo much for your work. I plan on passing it on to anyone who will listen."


Beautiful testimony abouit Dulce's blog, which we all love! - "I follow the Dulce de Leche blog- which I love. I started to question the practice of spanking when my first son was very young, and discovering Dulce's blog and other resources helped confirm my choice. I found out about your work through her blog. She also personally recommended you.
I am thrilled to read your book, and be further equipped with some answers for friends who will hopefully choose to parent with gentleness and grace, rather than hurtful hands."


Another testimony - "Thank you very much for sending me the e-book!
I read about your offer and your work on Dulce Chale's facebook page. I am learning what I can to help us raise our children the best we can for God's glory. I used to think it was revealed in the Bible that parents were obliged to spank their children to "discipline" them correctly. Your work is very important in bringing true understanding to well-meaning Christian parents."


Some more comments from the inbox - "Thank you so much for your quick response- I can't wait to read the book!

I'm not exactly sure how I first heard of your book, probably either through the Dulce de leche blog or through the Why Not Train a Child blog. It was awhile ago, and I knew the ebook was available for free but I just never sat down to send the email and request it. Yesterday a facebook page I've liked shared your recent status update reminder about how to get a free copy so I decided to go ahead and request it.
My husband and I have 4 boys ages 4 and under and we started out spanking our two oldest boys because we thought that was the biblical thing to do (and I even used to roll my eyes at the blogs on gentle parenting that I now absolutely LOVE), yet neither of us ever felt good about it at all. It was a process, but thankfully God opened my eyes to what the Bible really says about discipline and how we are to treat one another and how He parents us. I am so happy to say that we gave up spanking in November 2011 and have never looked back. We parent our children with gentleness and understanding, coming alongside them in this journey of life, and God is teaching me new things all the time. I do feel a little awkward in some Christian settings though because most other parents we know do spank their children and we have a few good friends from our old church who are very much into the Pearl's books (yikes!). I think that most people probably assume that we spank our children too, we don't necessarily broadcast the fact that we don't...not because we are ashamed of it, just because it doesn't really ever come up in conversation. So I guess I feel like I don't quite fit in anywhere, so it can be discouraging. I am so thankful for more resources to read concerning spanking/discipline/etc. Especially since so many Christians believe that the Bible commands spanking, which is what I thought too until I actually took the time to look into what the Bible said instead of simply believing what other people told me that the Bible said

Thank you again for making your book free to anyone who wants it. I have a friend who I am currently in a parenting/discipline discussion with and I will pass on to her this info in case she would be interested in the book as well."


Tradition is a hard nut to crack - "Yes, thanks. I was tremendously blessed [by your book]. I even went through it [your free ebook] with my Pastor, who of course, is old school and is moderately pro-spanking, like most Christians. It challenged him, but did not convince him completely. It’s really hard to get through to people who are so ingrained to spanking. But, it did make him think and question many things, so I’m going to continue to work on him, and hopefully the Holy Spirit will enlighten him.
It’s amazing to see what a strong-hold “tradition” has on people because exegetically and logically, I don’t see the proof for spanking. My Pastor was even a little taken back because he couldn’t find exegeses from any of his commentaries on the “spanking” passages. It seems like it’s just been taken for granted over all these years.
Thanks for you all your hard work!

1 comment:

Hannah Elise said...

Am I the only one who cannot get biblechild.com to load? Is it down for maintenance or something>?