Does God’s direct discipline include physical beating?
Let’s consider the oft-quoted passage from Hebrews that seems to lend support to the idea that God inflicts physical pain or even sickness / disease on his children:
Hebrews 12:5-6 (NKJV)
5 And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons:
“My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord,
Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him;
6 For whom the Lord loves He chastens,
And scourges every son whom He receives.”
This passage is actually quoting from Proverbs 3:11-12, which we will turn to shortly.
The verb usually translated “to discipline” is really “to child”. That’s all it is. No other connotations there. The specifics as to precisely what aspect of “childing” is in view must be established from the rest of the context.
Now, the Greek verb “to scourge” – “mastigoo” (G3146 – μαστιγόω) used in the passage is of particular interest. This Hebrews passage is quoting from a Septuagint translation of Proverbs (which was done in 3rd century BC). In Septuagint, the verb “mastigoo” is used in a general sense of whipping, and even in a sense of “smiting”, or inflicting pain in general (e.g., Job 30:21, where Job is speaking of God “whipping” him with his hand, according to Job’s perception).