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The “rod” Proverbs

I received a sarcastic little note suggesting that I didn’t believe God’s Word because, according to the critic, I don’t take the proverbs about disciplining children “literally.” My strong admonition about extreme caution in spanking was not taken well and I got smacked with the “you don’t believe the Bible because you don’t take it literally” charge. However, I do not know a single person (even among the radical pro-spanking group) that takes all the proverbs of the bible with the same rigid literalism that they claim licenses them to strike their child with repeated severity. I offer a few tongue-in-cheek examples of some biblical proverbs and a similar rigid literalism they use:

Do not look at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, and goes down smoothly (23:31).

White wine is fine. Drink up. Just stay away from the red stuff.

When you sit down to eat with a ruler, observe carefully what is before you, and put a knife to your throat if you are given to appetite (23:1-2).

I suggest a small Swiss Army knife. And don’t press too hard. Awkward. As for the “observation” part, I use a small pocket microscope, but I’m liberal. People who take God’s Word more seriously and literally wait until the lab results are back. Of course, the best way to avoid the awkward situation is either not to eat with rulers at all or stop by McDonald’s on your way so you have that pesky appetite dealt with.

Do not rob the poor, because he is poor, or crush the afflicted at the gate (22:22).

Crush them, if need be, but not at the gate. And, for crying out loud, don’t rob the poor! Rob the rich. Haven’t you seen Robin Hood?

By knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches (24:4).

Prosperity theology is only partially right. It’s not prayer and faith, brothers! It’s knowledge! Go to school, get good grades, and God will fill those rooms!

If you have nothing with which to pay, why should your bed be taken out from under you (22:27)?

Now, if you’re a person who sleeps on a Futon couch, don’t sweat it.

If one curses his father or his mother, his lamp will be put out in utter darkness (20:20).

No boy’s lamp, my brothers, will be able to withstand being put out forever if he curses his mama. No matter how good the battery life. Furthermore, since we’re on the topic of lamps:

Haughty eyes and a proud heart, the lamp of the wicked, are sin (21:4).

Wicked people’s lamps are bad, bad, bad. Be careful which garage sales you go to. Don’t buy just anybody’s lamps.

A wise king winnows the wicked and drives the wheel over them (20:6).

He winnows them, brothers and sisters! WINNOWS them! Don’t you give me some lame, cultural metaphor stuff that shows your liberal tendencies. The Bible is clear. He’ll get some big fans and winnow the wicked right out. Furthermore, he will drive a wheel — probably a wheel from one of them big monster trucks– right over them.

But I must close my exposition of the proverbs with a heartfelt confession. I feel guilt and shame, but the Word is clear:

All a poor man’s brothers hate him; how much more do his friends go far from him (19:7).

I feel shame. My brother is dirt poor, but despite what the Word says, I kind of love him. But, oh! One more thing for you parents:

Blows that wound cleanse away evil; strokes make clean the innermost parts (20:30).

Oh, my! I feel myself being worked up into a froth, brothers and sisters. The Bible says blows. Not some of this willy-nilly, namby-pamby, child-centered love-pats you call discipline. Blows! And “blows” means “blows!” The last time I checked my dictionary “wounds” mean open sores, broken skin. It’s no wonder your child still disobeys. You are not striking hard enough. It’s no wonder they are not clean inside. Give them blows!

************************

I could go on, but it’s embarrassing. It is so ridiculous it should be obvious, but sadly, the “rod proverbs” are the main so-called biblical grounds that countless parents use to justify the unwarranted and ungodly harming of their children. The inconsistency of their “literal interpretation” is nowhere more easy to prove than in the Book of Proverbs itself. There is a lot of abuse that is happening and it is time that the opposition to it move from the shrill voices on the sidelines that are sometimes righteously, sometimes bitterly, calling attention to the scandal to center stage.

I believe that spanking is indeed allowed and, therefore, optional. But that is a long-shot from saying it is commanded and, therefore, freely at the disposition of parents to use whenever, however, and for whatever reason they may desire.

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36 Responses

  1. Pretty disappointed with your thought that spanking isn’t commanded. Care to take that one back or explain further?

  2. Sure. I plan to do more on this later, but I don’t have time at the moment. Elucidate me. Show me where it is commanded. Discipline is commanded. Chastising is even commanded. I am willing to concede (and, in fact, confidently assert) that discipline sometimes necessitates the infliction of pain. I’ll also concede that a spanking (rightly done) may be the most efficient and grace-filled way to administer disciplinary pain. But insisting that “spanking” is commanded, I think, is an addition to the Word that ultimately leads to the careless implementation of it (spanking).

  3. At first glance these verses seem to carry a commanding nature to them:

    Proverbs 13:24 He who withholds his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him diligently.

    Proverbs 23:13-14 Do not hold back discipline from the child, Although you strike him with the rod, he will not die. 14 You shall strike him with the rod And rescue his soul from Sheol.

    Proverbs 29:15 The rod and reproof give wisdom, But a child who gets his own way brings shame to his mother.

  4. […] Shepherding a Parent’s Heart The Gospel and Discipline – A Scenario The “rod” Proverbs […]

  5. I’m a little disappointed that you didn’t include Proverbs 31:6-7 in this list. (For the sake that those who most likely believe rod-beatings are commanded, I’ll also make sure that I quote from the KJV.) :):

    “6)Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts. 7)Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more.”

    After all, what’s a good Proverbs 31 woman without going around the nursing homes passing out some vodka to the heavy hearted? Now, if that’s not a hortatory subjunctive for the book of Proverbs…

    If “Let…” and “Give…” don’t carry commanding tones to them, then I don’t know what does.

    Far too many conflate discipline with physical punishment, and conclude that the only form of acceptable discipline is spanking.

  6. These opinions on spanking have awakened thoughts from the past I believed were laid to rest.
    Being raised in a dysfunctional home, spankings no beatings were the norm. I told myself that I would not do the same to my children. I went out of the way to not to spank my kids, unfortunately I used threats, different forms of punishment to teach them how to be what I thought they should be. Not having any knowledge of God, most of my direction was bad to say the least. Still, they are my children and I deserve to raise them how I see fit! Honestly, that did not need to be said, but isn’t that how we feel sometimes?
    Changing gears a bit, God is changing my thoughts towards living life from His example. That example would be what Christ did for me on the cross.
    This would be the mindset I would have loved to showed my children as they were growing up.
    As a parent living now by Grace, I now know I have a responsibility to my children. To love them as Christ loves me.

    Saying that, I pray that my temper be stilled and my pride be stifled before I correct my children. After all, that’s what Christ does for me every day. And if then I need a spanking, so be it.

  7. Bob,

    Perhaps you are ticked off, but this thing is weak. I’ve never heard any of the bogus interpretations of the Proverbs you referenced, except for the “red wine” one by some pro-alcohol. It seems like the guy that wrote the note got under your skin. Are you saying that “rod” is a metaphorical rod, simply because Proverbs repeatedly uses metaphor?

    Gill on Prov 13:24:

    Who withholds or withdraws his rod of correction, which is in his hand, which he has power to use, and ought to exercise at proper times; he, instead of loving his son, may be said to hate him; for such fond love is no better than hatred; and, if he really hated him, he could scarcely do a more ill thing by him than not to correct him for a fault; which was the sin of good old Eli, and both he and his sons suffered for it

    Gill on Prov 22:15:

    he rod used by parents, for the correction of sin and folly, is a means of making children wise, and of restraining the folly that is bound up in them; and of reclaiming them from those sinful ways, which the folly of their hearts leads them to, and so in some measure of driving it far from them.

    Gill writes on Prov 23:13:

    if he be beaten moderately, there is no danger of his dying under the rod, or with the stripes given him; besides, such moderate and proper corrections may be a means of preserving him from such crimes as would bring him to a shameful and untimely death, and so he shall not die such a death; and by such means, through the grace of God, he may escape the second, or eternal death.

    On Proverbs 29:15:

    Are the means of giving wisdom to a child, reproved by its parent with the rod; and of driving out foolishness from him, and of making him wiser for the time to come; he shunning those evils for which he was before corrected, ( Proverbs 22:15 ) ; So the children of God grow wiser by the corrections and chastisements of their heavenly Father, which are always for their good; and he is a man of wisdom that hearkens to the rod, and to him that has appointed it, and learns the proper instructions from it, ( Micah 6:9 )

    Is rod and reproof, metaphorical rod and metaphorical reproof?

    I don’t think Gill was fooled into not understanding figures of speech where they were.

    On what basis do we say that unless Scriptural regulation is found in the imperative mode we are not required to practice it? This seems to be a new development in the history of biblical obedience. When is a teaching of God optional?

    http://www.gty.org/Resources/Print/Articles/A216

  8. I do wonder too a little bit if spanking was such a big part of fundamentalist teaching that you might be throwing the baby out with the bath water here. Certainly abuse isn’t scriptural, but just because abuse happens doesn’t mean you throw out biblical discipline.

  9. Kent,

    First (just to clarify): I’m not ticked off and I don’t actually believe any of those “interpretations” are used anywhere. I said it was tongue-in-cheek.

    Now… [good natured sarcasm alert] … John Gill? is there not some irony that an anti-Calvinist dispensationalist uses the interpretation of a First-Day Sabbatarian, Hyper-Calvinist Covenantalist to support his point? I find it fascinating that the same people who reason away First Day Sabbatarianism find the same arguments invalid when it comes to rod discipline. [end sarcasm]

    Thanks for your quotes here… I’ll ponder them and hopefully interact soon enough to keep the dialogue going.

  10. Not being a parent, I recognize I don’t speak from experience (though, I’ve also never made a parenting mistake!). However, I have a few thoughts and musings to lay out.

    I would be interested in knowing whether spanking/corporal punishment was practiced by Christians up until the last 100 years or so (and, if there are other societies/religions which argue against its use).

    The reason I am curious is that it’s possible we are being shaped by our culture’s understanding of discipline/punishment more than we realize. If someone has specifics to show otherwise, I’d love to be able to look into it, but it seems that generally we’ve moved from corporal punishment as a whole to more privilege removal and reform efforts. (I.e., we don’t do canings/whippings anymore, or even public stocks. Instead, we take away people’s freedoms and seek to reform them; we don’t spank in schools anymore, we suspend). It seems that same attitude has become more prominent in parenting too.

    That may be a good thing (there’s no doubt that corporal punishment was/is abused in many cases), but I haven’t been fully convinced. I don’t want to be a pragmatist, but I doubt many people think that the behavior in public schools today is better than it was 50 or more years ago. And also, it’s not as though all the people who experienced corporal punishment from their parents/grandparents failed in life…in fact, I’d tend to think the majority of them actually turned out all right.

    Granted, Proverbs are proverbs and not necessarily commands/promises, but they are at least a “this is the way things normally work” type of thing. And it would be rather difficult to argue that none of the Proverbs encourage corporal punishment (especially one like Prov 23:13). That’s why it would make sense that the use of corporal punishment usually works out ok (kind of like it was a proverb…)

    I think I can understand someone saying that spanking/corporal punishment is not necessarily commanded (i.e., there may be cases in which a parent never needs to spank a child), but that would be more the exception than the norm. Certainly, other ways of disciplining should be used as well (spanking is not a be all/end all), but I have a hard time thinking that corporal punishment should simply be abandoned.

  11. And, fwiw, many of the examples you give tongue in cheek really don’t argue against what you’re trying to argue against. Many of them are prohibitions against specific acts, but that doesn’t mean taking them literally means allowing everything else. Many of them latch onto a specific word (bed vs. futon), but the people arguing that spanking is commanded don’t say you have to use a “rod.” They recognize it stand for something (similar to “lamp” or “winnows” or “wheels”).

    IOW, you seem to be arguing against a woodenly literal and unthinking approach, but I’ve not seen people use the rod passages in that way. I think what you really want to show is that a proverb is not the same as a command or promise–it’s a proverb. I don’t think it’s really an issue of literalism vs. non-literalism. It’s a misunderstanding of the genre (not the language).

    • Ben,

      Sure, they illustrate my point. I am arguing precisely against a wooden literalism and, yes, that is a common way of interpreting them. IOW, I’m not arguing necessarily that the rod passages don’t, in fact, speak about an actual rod. What I’m arguing is that the claim that I don’t believe the Bible because I don’t insist that those passages be interpreted literally is wrong and I give whacked out examples to prove my point.

      My larger point (not made here) is that the rod proverbs are at best a tenuous basis for insisting that God commands corporal punishment via some kind of “rod.” That is, in my mind, a misuse of the proverb. Clearly, it approves of (and even assumes) that on occasion corporal punishment is necessary and helpful. And I would agree.

      • Obviously you were the one who received the complaint, so I can’t speak exactly to what was said. But, unless the complaint was, “You’ve got to beat your child with a ‘rod.’ If you use your hand, paddle, or anything else you don’t take the Bible literally” then I don’t think the problem is a woodenly literal approach. If the complaint was “The ‘rod’ passages clearly show we should spank our children, so if you don’t spank them you don’t take the Bible literally” then the issue is not really wooden literalism. It’s either wrongly interpreting rod to refer to spanking (which is not a matter of wooden literalism, b/c they recognize “rod” stands for something else and just got what it stands for wrong, in your opinion) or wrongly interpreting the proverb to be a command.

        Your examples show the absurdity of the first complaint. I don’t think they do with the second.

  12. maybe that’s the point, too, Ben. If the person is accusing Bob of not taking the Bible “literally” about “spanking” (let’s look that word up in Strongs, shall we). that person has already goofed. He himself is not taking the Bible “literally” by beating with a rod. It shows that he believes his interpretation/application to the point that he doesn’t even see it as an interpretation/application.

    • Maybe…but I still think the accuser would simply say “that’s not what I meant by ‘literally.'”

      Consider Bob’s example of Sabbatarianism. If someone said “If you don’t practice the Christian Sabbath, you don’t take the Bible literally” and you responded by giving examples of absurd, woodenly literal interpretations of passages in the Mosaic Law, you would not really be dealing with their argument. The problem isn’t that they are employing a woodenly literal interpretation of the Sabbath, but that they are failing to think through issues of genre, application, redemptive history, etc.

  13. May I bring up a different point? Why do we assume “rod” means corporal punishment/pain?

    Proverbs 13:24 He who withholds his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him diligently.

    Proverbs 23:13-14 Do not hold back discipline from the child, Although you strike him with the rod, he will not die. 14 You shall strike him with the rod And rescue his soul from Sheol.

    One of these says “strike.” So that one is referring to corporal punishment obviously. But as Bob has pointed out, none of us here believe in salvation by spanking. This verse is obviously not literal. Or if it is to be literally read, then it contradicts Ephesians 2:8-9.

    But the other one just says “rod” much like Psalms 23, “thy rod and thy staff comfort me.” I don’t read the rod in Psalms 23 as painful punishment. The rod/scepter is a symbol of shepherding authority. It has many functions for the shepherd (reigning in the sheep, fighting off predators). Striking the back of the sheep may be one use, but it is definitely not the PRIMARY use of the rod in the hands of the Good Shepherd.

    Reread Proverbs 13:24 in the context of Psalms 23, and it changes the meaning entirely.

    • Actually, a literal interpretation of Prov 23:13-14 does not have to contradict Eph 2:8-9 if taken literally. Sheol is often used to refer to the grave, so it could be saying that corporal punishment keeps someone from an “early” death.

      • Except that it doesn’t say early. Literally, it just says grave. Even the idea that it is referring to saving them from an early death is not a literal reading of the verse.

      • It depends on what you mean by literal. If you mean “woodenly word for word” then it’s not. If you mean taking what the words mean and interpreting them in a normal way, then it is. To say you are keeping his person from the grave most easily refers to an “early” death. (But, even if it just referred to death it would still not contradict Eph 2:8-9. It would seem strange to say that he would never die…thus, the “early.”)

        FWIW, I know of several good commentaries that give the interpretation I gave. I would be interested to hear of any good commentaries the give the interpretation you hold. (It would be even more interesting if there was a commentator not within the last 100 years who holds your interpretation–i.e., rod doesn’t refer to “corporal punishment” or “pain”).

        Obviously, the meaning is not determined by the number of commentators one can muster, but I feel fairly confident in saying mine is the more traditional and common interpretation, so the burden of proof would lie on you to support a different one.

  14. Hi Bob,

    I read Calvinists. I read evangelicals. I read fundamentalists. I read you. It’s hard to find anything to read that is as substantive and good on sanctification and many aspects of soteriology as the Puritans. I mainly included Gill’s and MacArthur’s commentary for you. Gill would also be historic. I also agree with them, but I thought they would be more persuasive because they are Calvinists and they are serious. I read Gill among many others in almost every series I do. He’s got a lot of good things to say.

    I think Gill is wrong on the Sabbath, but I understand how he takes the position. I’ll await to hear how the Sabbath is akin to the rod in Proverbs.

    Thanks.

  15. Ben, I can’t seem to reply directly to your comment. R. C. Sproul for one. He says that the rod of discipline refers to a “wide range of disciplinary choices” that may or may not include corporal punishment.

    • Sproul says that Proverbs 23:13-14 does not refer to corporal punishment? Could you let me know where he talks about that? I would be interested in reading it.

      And the reason I mentioned the last 100 years is b/c of what I said above–maybe we are being more shaped by our culture today than we realize. I just wonder if anyone in the past argued that the rod did not refer to corporal punishment (NOTE: I’m not saying that it doesn’t include more than corporal punishment–representing a broader category of discipline of which corporal punishment is a part–but it seems people are now saying it doesn’t refer to corporal punishment at all.)

  16. And, yes, I know Sproul is within the last 100 years. Personally, that doesn’t seem relevant to me.

  17. Am I the only one who gets Ben’s pun about the wooden literality of the rod?

    Bob, Ben’s right. At least some of your satire does not parallel the accusation leveled against you. You’d need to approach it more like:

    “If you have nothing with which to pay, why should your bed be taken out from under you (22:27)?”

    So only the bed would be taken and not the TV or the car or the fine china? Furthermore, if, in a given case, the creditors took everything but the bed, is God’s Word rendered void?

  18. Or to put it in theoretical terms, you’re arguing that the metonym need not literally include the figure representing the category.

    • d4v34x said,
      “you’re arguing that the metonym need not literally include the figure representing the category.”

      Thank you, this is precisely what I’ve been thinking.

      Every pro-spanker here acknowledges that “rod”–used in the proverbial genre–could legitimately be taken to mean more than “rod.”

      Bob is saying that it could legitimately be taken to mean less.

      Only Wendy is arguing that “rod” does not refer to corporal discipline on any level.

      I have not read Sproul’s comments, but it sounds like he’s on board with those of us who say that “rod” can mean more, but not less, than corporal discipline.

      The possibility that “rod” might refer, not only on the application level, but actually on the surface level, to something other than corporal discipline (i.e. beating off predators, etc.) is intriguing, but to me (and I think even to Bob?) unconvincing.
      [[a]] Corporal discipline simply makes more sense in context than the alternatives. Try inserting an alternative idea into those passages… in some (probably not most) of them you might be able to make it work, but even there it doesn’t fit as well.
      [[b]] Let’s just say, for sake of discussion, that the use of “rod” in Proverbs is vague in all but one place; well, in the one place it is clear (23:13), it UNarguably refers to corporal discipline…this carries FAR more interpretive clout within Proverbs than Ps. 23 does!

      Turning back to Bob, now–
      We all agree that some degree of hyperbole, or other proverbial dynamics, are probably in play in the proverbs in question.
      What we disagree on is just what the hyperbole extends to. For instance, in Prov. 20:30, we might agree that hyperbole extends to degree, while disagreeing over whether hyperbole extends to kind: I would say that hyperbole extends to “that wound,” but not to “blows,” whereas you might say that hyperbole COULD extend to both “that wound” and “blows.”

      Ben’s comments about the historicity of the thing are enormous. Absolutely enormous. What in the world are the odds that we, 1900 years after the completion of the canon, are just now arriving at something (this important!) that everybody else missed? The audacity of that suggestion is positively mind-boggling!

      Anyway, I’d like to clarify that I am as strongly anti-Ezzo/Pearl/Gothard as Bob is. In my particular situation, I’m especially anti-Ezzo since that’s what I’m bombarded with most frequently. Babies are babies for God’s sake! Anyway, I digress…

  19. Ben, Proverbs are very cultural, though there is a principle for us. You’d really have to go back to Hebrew culture at the time of solomon, if that is even possible.

    I wish this whole book were online, but here is part of this man’s discussion:
    http://parentingfreedom.com/samuelmartinbook.pdf

    Even all the Hebrew words for “child” are significant to the issue.

  20. Proverbs are very cultural, with a princple for us. as far as historicity, you have to go back to solomon’s time, you really do. you can’t go to some other culture to understand what is the picture here.

    i mean, just look at how many words in Hebrew there are for “child” in English.

    http://parentingfreedom.com/samuelmartinbook.pdf
    Here’s one “word” question in these verses–wish the whole book were online.

  21. “Only Wendy is arguing that “rod” does not refer to corporal discipline on any level.”

    Just FYI — I did not say this.

    The easiest way to find Sproul’s notes on the rod in Proverbs is in the Reformation Study Bible.

  22. Kent, while I’m not a scholar on Puritans, it is oh-so-clear that the emphasis on parenting by the Puritans is MUCH different from the emphasis usually placed in Christian circles in our culture. I remember reading about Jonathan Edwards exhorting parents to teach, love, catechize, pray for, and preach the need for Jesus to their children.

    While we get –some– of that within our culture, the overwhelming influence of Christian parenting books (as I’ve seen over the past 2+ decades) has been on the “right” use of spanking/chastisement/training/the rod/or whatever term the author prefers.

    It seems like our current Christian culture is so overly-focused on spanking and “the rod” verses, that the heart of parenting — communicating to our children our and their need for a Savior — is lost.

    It seems as if our current Christian culture is so worried about having “good kids” and pressure is placed on parents to perform and make their kids perform, that we forget about the reality of what sin shows us, and that is how much we need to rely on the Gospel. Looking back at when I was a younger mother with toddlers, I felt that pressure to perform, that pressure to make me kids behave perfectly — as if in doing that we would be good enough for God. I knew my salvation wasn’t merited by that, but I still felt that pressure and lived as if it did. . .

    And that is missing the whole point, isn’t it?

  23. Errrr, Kent. . . that whole comment wasn’t directed specifically at you — just sparked by your mention of Puritans. . .

  24. Bob,
    I read quite a few of the comments under your orginal post, then gave up. A little encouragement to you….. I think a lot is being taken out of context. I’m not sure if all the posts are from people from church….. If they are not they are missing a LOT of information. I think the sermon you gave was informative and made me personally think about why I am spanking. Am I just playing the “parent card”. This may be ok sometimes but the point you made on Sunday was really wonderful… That “Proverbs was written in the Old Testament with the Old Covenant. If a child rebelled against his/ her parents the child could be stoned to death. So to protect them you used the proverbs as wise living to protect them from death.” (i believed I quoted you)
    Thank you for your dedicated service to our church and our family. I’m sure it is difficult for you to preach on such touchy subjects, but it shows your dedication to Christ. Thank you.

    • Julie,

      No one who comments here is from my church and few actually know me. So they have limited context! It’s the nature of the beast! Thanks for your kind words.

  25. QUOTE: “What in the world are the odds that we, 1900 years after the completion of the canon, are just now arriving at something (this important!) that everybody else missed? ”

    But. . . different eras of Church history focused on different things. I don’t think this was really an issue of concern at the Council of Nicea or Chalcedon.

    I believe it is an assumption that the Church for the past 1900 years had the same understanding, interpretation, and implementation of family practices — including the “Rod Verses.” How we in the 20th century, general North American Evangelical Protestant culture understand and implement the “Rod Verses” is very culturally influenced.

    Really. . . don’t you think we’re looking through cultural glasses when we read “A whip for the horse, a halter for the donkey, and a rod for the backs of fools!” and “Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline drives it far from him” and “Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you strike him with a rod, he will not die”

    — and then say it means smack a young child on the bottom or thighs with your hand and/or implement; but never in anger; not after a child is 12 (or conversely, not before a child is 4); never in anger; always with a full explanation of what was done; be sure to give a restoration hug. . .

    Or. . . whatever the current practice is within the Christian community. . . as the “Biblical” way to spank has shifted over the past 20+ years.

  26. To beat or not to beat…..that is the question! Bob, I love the way you have the ability to get everyone all “passionate” about these kinds of things. Continue to “rod” each other. It’s fun to watch.

    Straight Ahead!

    jt

    • o.k….. i read all those comments thinking, “wow- Bob did it again” and then laughed outright at Joel’s comment! Joel- you definitely personally know the Bob I know!
      I shall not give any opinion here on the actual subject, but I will say, as Julie did, that I appreciate Bob’s dedication in studying the Word and presenting it to the church- and how he encourages them to study the Word for themselves. Bob- whether you are “right or wrong” on this subject, you are, as always, loved and appreciated! 🙂

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