Bible Verses About Discipline And Self-Discipline

by Serena at Stewardship.com

bible verses about discipline
Bible verses about discipline and self-discipline

Bible Verses About Discipline And Self-Discipline

In this post, we will look at what the bible says about discipline and self-discipline. The Logos Factbook defined discipline as the concepts of correction, punishment, and education. Discipline may be given by parents, Christians, or even God. Whereas self-discipline is defined by thefreedictionary.com as the act of disciplining or power to discipline one's own feelings, desires, etc, especially with the intention of improving oneself.


Origins of Discipline And Self-Discipline

Where do discipline and self-discipline come from? According to the bible verses below, discipline and self-discipline originated from God. Through Genesis 1-3, the bible tells us how God created the world and the first humans Adam and Eve. God is also the law-giver and the moral-giver. 

In the Exodus and Deuteronomy bible verses below, it mentioned how God's way of living was written down and asked to be taught to people. 

In Psalms 94:10 bible verse below, God is the one who disciplines nations. It is also mentioned in Proverbs 1:7-8 that the fear of God is the beginning of knowledge and how the fools despise wisdom and instructions (which are needed for self-discipline). It talks about the resistance of man towards discipline and self-discipline, which is further echoed in Proverbs 1:30-33, with God warning about the consequences. 

From 2 Timothy 1:7, this bible verse tells us that God is the one who gives us a spirit of self-control, which is just like self-discipline.

You shall teach them the statutes and the laws, and shall show them the way in which they must walk, and the work that they must do. (Exodus 18:20)

Therefore you shall love The LORD your God, and keep his instructions, his statutes, his ordinances, and his commandments, always. (Deuteronomy 11:1)

He who disciplines the nations, won’t he punish? He who teaches man knows. (Psalm 94:10)

7 The fear of The LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but the foolish despise wisdom and instruction. 8 My son, listen to your father’s instruction, and don’t forsake your mother’s teaching; (Proverbs 1:7-8)

30 They wanted none of my counsel. They despised all my reproof. 31 Therefore they will eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own schemes. 32 For the backsliding of the simple will kill them. The careless ease of fools will destroy them. 33 But whoever listens to me will dwell securely, and will be at ease, without fear of harm. (Proverbs 1:30-33)

For God didn’t give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and self-control. (2 Timothy 1:7)

The Value Of Self-Discipline

The bible verses below talk about the value of self-discipline. If you can buy just one thing in the world, what would you buy? It is interesting that Proverbs 23:23 says to buy the truth, and to get wisdom, discipline and understanding. 

1 Timothy 4:8 went on to say that godliness (which requires self-discipline) has far greater value than physical exercise, with its value in all things! As the bible says that godliness (which requires self-discipline) has such great value, won't you be interested to obtain it?

The value of self-discipline is so great that Proverbs 16:32 below says that it is better to rule one's own spirit than to rule a city. It may also mean that ruling a city is hard but it is even harder to be able to rule one's own spirit.

Buy the truth, and don’t sell it. Get wisdom, discipline, and understanding. (Proverbs 23:23)

For bodily exercise has some value, but godliness has value in all things, having the promise of the life which is now and of that which is to come. (1 Timothy 4:8)

One who is slow to anger is better than the mighty; one who rules his spirit, than he who takes a city. (Proverbs 16:32)

Why Is Self-Discipline Important?

According to the bible verses below, there are at least 3 reasons why self-discipline is important. Firstly, because our time is limited. Secondly, because the devil wants to destroy our lives. Thirdly, because we will become good testimony when we have self-discipline.

Self-Discipline Is Important Because Our Time Is Limited

The bible verses in Ephesians 5:15-16 tell us that when we live self-disciplined lives, we will redeem our time as the days will pass and with it, we may miss opportunities to do good, thus we need to make good use of our time right now.

 As the bible verse in 1 Peter 4:7 talks about end all of all things is near. Sometimes we may feel like we will live forever, but the truth is time flies and we will all die one day. And Jesus will come back again one day.

Thus, we need to live in a way that are truly disciplined and self-controlled so that we can do what is most important and in alignment with God's will and plan for our purposes.

15 Therefore watch carefully how you walk, not as unwise, but as wise, 16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil.17 Therefore, don’t be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. (Ephesians 5:15–17)

But the end of all things is near. Therefore be of sound mind, self-controlled, and sober in prayer. (1 Peter 4:7)

Self-Discipline Is Important Because The Devil Wants To Devour Us.

The bible verse below is very clear that there is a devil in this world that wants to have us. Self-discipline or self-control in the way we live will prevent us being devoured by the devil and falling into the devil's schemes.

It is also mentioned in other parts of the bible how the devil is wanting to destroy the lives of those God loves and God is our good Shepherd who can guide us on the correct paths. To read more about God's leadership in our lives, read here.

Be sober and self-controlled. Be watchful. Your adversary, the devil, walks around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. (1 Peter 5:8)

Self-discipline Makes You A Good Testimony

Having self-discipline in your life will bring order not just to your life but also to others. In the bible verses below in Titus 2:1-5, when older men and older women live a godly life (which is self-disciplined or self-controlled), they become good role models to the younger generation. They also become a testimony of the goodness of God's words. 

1 But say the things which fit sound doctrine, 2 that older men should be temperate, sensible, sober minded, sound in faith, in love, and in perseverance, 3 and that older women likewise be reverent in behavior, not slanderers nor enslaved to much wine, teachers of that which is good, 4 that they may train the young wives to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 to be sober minded, chaste, workers at home, kind, being in subjection to their own husbands, that God’s word may not be blasphemed. (Titus 2:1–5)

Self-Discipline Can Help Us Lead A More Fruitful Life For God

The bible verses below in 2 Peter 1:5-11 tell us that if we practice those good qualities below more and more, with self-discipline, then we will not be idle or unfruitful in the knowledge of Jesus.

This may also mean that we will be able to live a more abundant life that pleases God and serves others according to God's plan for our lives. 

5 Yes, and for this very cause adding on your part all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence; and in moral excellence, knowledge; 6 and in knowledge, self-control; and in self-control, perseverance; and in perseverance, godliness; 7 and in godliness, brotherly affection; and in brotherly affection, love. 8 For if these things are yours and abound, they make you to not be idle or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For he who lacks these things is blind, seeing only what is near, having forgotten the cleansing from his old sins. 10 Therefore, brothers, be more diligent to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never stumble. 11 For thus you will be richly supplied with the entrance into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 1:5–11)

How To Be Self-Disciplined?

If only we can buy self-discipline off the counters at a cost, but we know that is not possible. Here are some ways to obtain self-discipline. It is a process but you can do it!


bible verses about self-discipline and discipline

1. Read The Bible

The bible has the answer for where we can get self-discipline, it says in 2 Timothy 3:16 that all scripture in the bible is from God and it is profitable for teaching us, for reproofing, for correction and for instruction in righteousness- which includes self-discipline! Let's read on further.

16 Every Scripture is God-breathed and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness, 17 that each person who belongs to God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16–17)

Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things out of your law. (Psalm 119:18)

2. Ask God For Understanding

The bible verse below in Psalm 119:34 encourage us to ask God for understanding when we read his words. It is a kind of understanding that when we do, it makes total sense for us to follow His ways with all our hearts. God is gracious and he is able to give you the understanding when you ask him for it.

It furthers says in Proverbs 17:10 that if we have understanding, the "rebuke" will go deeper into us, than when we try so much harder without the understanding.

You can say a simple prayer like "Dear God, please give me understanding when I read your word", and that is good.

Give me understanding, and I will keep your law. Yes, I will obey it with my whole heart. (Psalm 119:34)

A rebuke enters deeper into one who has understanding than a hundred lashes into a fool. (Proverbs 17:10)

3. Love God's Teachings

These bible verses encourage us to develop a love for God's corrections or teachings. In order to do so, we should have an attitude of appreciating its value and not scoffing at it.

Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid. (Proverbs 12:1)

A scoffer doesn’t love to be reproved; he will not go to the wise. (Proverbs 15:12)

I delight to do your will, my God. Yes, your law is within my heart.” (Psalm 40:8)

4. Accept God's Teachings

After loving God's teachings, these bible verses encourage us to accept God's teachings and not to reject them. It is a way for the heart to become wiser. 

Hear instruction, and be wise. Don’t refuse it. (Proverbs 8:33)

The wise in heart accept commandments, but a chattering fool will fall. (Proverbs 10:8)

A wise son listens to his father’s instruction, but a scoffer doesn’t listen to rebuke. (Proverbs 13:1)

5. Live Out God's Teachings

After reading or hearing God's words, having understanding for it, loving it and accepting it, the bible verses below here in Psalm 119:67-68 encourage us to observe God's word in our lives. It is the way to help us to stay self-disciplined and not to go astray.

67 Before I was afflicted, I went astray; but now I observe your word. 68 You are good, and do good. Teach me your statutes. (Psalm 119:67–68)

6. Understand You Wholly Belong To God

For the above 5 points, it is not easy for us to follow it if we use our own strength. Thank God that he teaches us to rely on him and His Holy Spirit for us to live a self-disciplined life.

The context of the bible verses below in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, 1 John 3:24 and Romans 8:10-14 talk about how when we believe in Jesus Christ and accept him as our Savior, we receive God's Holy Spirit in us. 

With the price paid for our sins by Jesus Christ on the cross, our bodies now belong to God and we have his spirit in us- according to 1 Corinthians 6:19-20. In other words, we wholly belong to God! With that mindset, when we focus on glorifying God through our body and our spirits, we are no longer just living for our own selves, but rather for God's glory. 

It says further in the bible verse from 1 John 3:24 that God gave us his Spirit, it is not from our own merits. And Romans 12:1 encourages us to live in a way that it's not from our own desires but to please God and that is a sacrifice that is holy and acceptable to God.

Philippians 1:27 encourages us to live in a way to make good of what Jesus has done for us.

19 Or don’t you know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. Therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s. (1 Corinthians 6:19–20)

He who keeps his commandments remains in him, and he in him. By this we know that he remains in us, by the Spirit which he gave us. (1 John 3:24)

1 Therefore I urge you, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service. (Romans 12:1)

Only let your way of life be worthy of the Good News of Christ, that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your state, that you stand firm in one spirit, with one soul striving for the faith of the Good News; (Philippians 1:27)

7. Live According To God's Spirit In You

Romans 8:10-14 also explains that when we have the Spirit of God, the very same Spirit that raised up Jesus from the dead lives in us. Thus, for us to truly live, is to live a life that pleases God through His Spirit's guidance.

The bible verses in Galatians 5:22-26 further explains how that looks like, with the fruit of the Spirit, and self-control (like self-discipline) is part of the fruit of the spirit. When we live according to God's spirit, we will exhibit love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness and self-control. 

The bible verse in Romans 4:17 gives us a vision for God's kingdom- it is not a place just to fulfill our desires to eat and drink, but it is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. It is interesting that although eating and drinking can provide us with enjoyment but they do not create true joy and peace.

The bible verse in Galatians 5:16 also says that when we walk by the spirit, we won't fulfill the lust of the flesh. Thus, self-discipline through the Holy Spirit's help will ensure that we will not engage in a sinful lifestyle.

10 If Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the spirit is alive because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of him who raised up Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised up Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you. 12 So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. 13 For if you live after the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are children of God. (Romans 8:10–14)

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith,23 gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh with its passions and lusts. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let’s also walk by the Spirit. 26 Let’s not become conceited, provoking one another, and envying one another. (Galatians 5:22–26)

17 for God’s Kingdom is not eating and drinking, but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. (Romans 14:17)

16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you won’t fulfill the lust of the flesh. (Galatians 5:16)

8. Renew Your Mind And Be Transformed

The bible verses below talk about the importance of our minds in relation to how we live.

In Romans 12:1-2, it teaches us not to follow what everyone does or follow what the world trends are,  but be transformed by the renewing of our minds. In what ways do you live according to the world instead of allowing your mind to be renewed? Are there any ways for you to take control of that so that your mind will be able to renew through God's word more?

The bible verses below also talk about thinking about things of the Spirit, that leads to life and peace, rather than thinking about things that are not pleasing to God (from Romans 8:5-8).

1 Peter 1:13-16 also talk about thinking about the grace we have through Jesus Christ, to remind ourselves that we are forgiven by Jesus so that we can live a life of obedience and in holiness because God who called us is holy.

2 Don’t be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what is the good, well-pleasing, and perfect will of God. (Romans 12:2)

5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 6 For the mind of the flesh is death, but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace; 7 because the mind of the flesh is hostile toward God, for it is not subject to God’s law, neither indeed can it be. 8 Those who are in the flesh can’t please God. (Romans 8:5–8)

13 Therefore prepare your minds for action. Be sober, and set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ— 14 as children of obedience, not conforming yourselves according to your former lusts as in your ignorance, 15 but just as he who called you is holy, you yourselves also be holy in all of your behavior, 16 because it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:13–16)

9. Prepare For Self-Discipline In All Things

Just like how the bible verse above in 1 Peter 1:13 says, we need to prepare our minds for action.

The bible verses below in 1 Corinthians 9:23-27 illustrates this more with an example of running a race and those who compete in games have to exercise self-control in all things.

Paul wrote here in 1 Corinthians 9 that he controls his body and make it submit to his will in this matter of preaching the Gospel of Jesus' salvation to people. And this race that he ran, he understands that the reward is eternal and incorruptible. 

What are the things you can do on a daily basis to exercise self-discipline throughout your day's routine?

23 Now I do this for the sake of the Good News, that I may be a joint partaker of it. 24 Don’t you know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run like that, so that you may win. 25 Every man who strives in the games exercises self-control in all things. Now they do it to receive a corruptible crown, but we an incorruptible. 26 I therefore run like that, not aimlessly. I fight like that, not beating the air, 27 but I beat my body and bring it into submission, lest by any means, after I have preached to others, I myself should be disqualified. (1 Corinthians 9:23–27)

A Word On Sexual Self-Control

The bible verses below in 1 Corinthians 7:4-11 gives godly advice to people regarding sexual self-control. It encourages husbands and wives not to deprive each other unless by mutual consent for a limited period but to get together again. 

And Paul advises people if they have no self-control in this matter to marry instead of burning with passion. The video below on "How to Find the Best Partners" share some insights on the kind of  marriage partner to look for.

4 The wife doesn’t have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise also the husband doesn’t have authority over his own body, but the wife does. 5 Don’t deprive one another, unless it is by consent for a season, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer, and may be together again, that Satan doesn’t tempt you because of your lack of self-control. 6 But this I say by way of concession, not of commandment. 7 Yet I wish that all men were like me. However, each man has his own gift from God, one of this kind, and another of that kind. 8 But I say to the unmarried and to widows, it is good for them if they remain even as I am. 9 But if they don’t have self-control, let them marry. For it’s better to marry than to burn with passion. 10 But to the married I command—not I, but the Lord—that the wife not leave her husband 11 (but if she departs, let her remain unmarried, or else be reconciled to her husband), and that the husband not leave his wife. (1 Corinthians 7:4–11)

Bad Types Of Self-Discipline That Will Not Work

There can be bad types of self-discipline, according to the bible, here are a couple

Legalistic Self-Discipline That Rely On Human Rules Instead Of God's.

Here in the bible passage below in Colossians 2:20-23, Paul is teaching the believers in Colossae that they now belong to God, and thus instead of focusing on following man-made rules and man-made teachings, they should instead set their mind on Jesus Christ and the life above (Colossians 3).

This means that any rules and teachings that originated from humans instead of God, that tell people to follow a list of "do-nots", may appear wise and like self-discipline, but these man-made rules do not offer any protection against fleshly indulgence. 

20 If you died with Christ from the elemental spirits of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to ordinances, 21 “Don’t handle, nor taste, nor touch”  22 (all of which perish with use), according to the precepts and doctrines of men? 23 These things indeed appear like wisdom in self-imposed worship, humility, and severity to the body, but aren’t of any value against the indulgence of the flesh. (Colossians 2:20-23)

Self-Discipline Training Using Bad Habits

The following bible verse in 2 Peter 2:14 talks about false teachers and false prophets, who have hearts trained in greed. This relates to bad habit formation. Instead of a good habit that requires practice and repetition, this kind of training is getting the self used to more of a bad thing, such as greed. 

The process of this "training" of bad habits is a bad type of self-training as the person is doing the reverse: instead of eliminating things that hinder a good way of living, the person is eliminating the sensitivities of the conscience that convicts that it is a bad habit. Instead of developing helpful habits to live a godly and productive life, the person develop destructive habits to an ungodly one.

Over time, the person becomes desensitized to the bad habit and become so deep in it, he or she became "trained in" it, in this case, for the bible verse, it is greed.

14 having eyes full of adultery, and who can’t cease from sin, enticing unsettled souls, having a heart trained in greed, accursed children! (2 Peter 2:14)

After the above section on Self-Discipline, this following section will discuss about Discipline.

What Disciplines Us

In this section, we will look at discipline. First of all, we will see what the bible says about what disciplines us. 

Our Wickedness Can Discipline Us

According to Jeremiah 2:19, this bible verse talks about how our own wickedness will correct us. When we refuse to do right and did wicked things, the consequences we have to suffer can become a form of discipline to us. 

Your own wickedness will correct you, and your backsliding will rebuke you. Know therefore and see that it is an evil and bitter thing, that you have forsaken The LORD your God, and that my fear is not in you,” says the Lord, The LORD of Armies. (Jeremiah 2:19)

God Can Discipline Us

The bible verses below in Deuteronomy 8:5-6 tell us that it is a Heavenly Father thing for God to discipline his children just as a man teaches his son the right ways to live.

5 You shall consider in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so The LORD your God disciplines you. 6 You shall keep the commandments of The LORD your God, to walk in his ways, and to fear him. (Deuteronomy 8:5–6)

Our Parents Can Discipline Us

The bible verse below encourages parents to discipline their children, so that their children's actions will not lead to deathly consequences.

Discipline your son, for there is hope; don’t be a willing party to his death. (Proverbs 19:18)

Parental Discipline

The bible talks a lot about the importance of parental discipline.

The bible verse in Ephesians 6:4 did not forget to warn parents that they should not provoke their children to wrath- such as embittering their children, with abuse or mistreatment. Instead, parents should nurture them according to God's word and godly discipline.

This form of parental discipline would be good for the children, so that the children will learn the correct ways to live as they continue to grow older.

The bible verses below in Proverbs emphasize on the need to correct and discipline one's children. The benefits of this godly parental discipline can help the child to live in a way that is wise and prevent them walking down a dangerous path. 

4 You fathers, don’t provoke your children to wrath, but nurture them in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:4)

8 My son, listen to your father’s instruction, and don’t forsake your mother’s teaching; 9 for they will be a garland to grace your head, and chains around your neck. (Proverbs 1:8–9)

1 Listen, sons, to a father’s instruction. Pay attention and know understanding; 2 for I give you sound learning. Don’t forsake my law. (Proverbs 4:1–2)

20 My son, keep your father’s commandment, and don’t forsake your mother’s teaching. 21 Bind them continually on your heart. Tie them around your neck. 22 When you walk, it will lead you. When you sleep, it will watch over you. When you awake, it will talk with you. 23 For the commandment is a lamp, and the law is light. Reproofs of instruction are the way of life, 24 to keep you from the immoral woman, from the flattery of the wayward wife’s tongue. (Proverbs 6:20–24)

One who spares the rod hates his son, but one who loves him is careful to discipline him. (Proverbs 13:24)

A fool despises his father’s correction, but he who heeds reproof shows prudence. (Proverbs 15:5)

Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6)

Folly is bound up in the heart of a child; the rod of discipline drives it far from him. (Proverbs 22:15)

12 Apply your heart to instruction, and your ears to the words of knowledge. 13 Don’t withhold correction from a child. If you punish him with the rod, he will not die. 14 Punish him with the rod, and save his soul from Sheol. (Proverbs 23:12–14)

15 The rod of correction gives wisdom, but a child left to himself causes shame to his mother. 16 When the wicked increase, sin increases; but the righteous will see their downfall. 17 Correct your son, and he will give you peace; yes, he will bring delight to your soul. (Proverbs 29:15–17)

It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth. (Lamentations 3:27)

Here are some biblical examples of things that went wrong when parents did not discipline their children.

In bible verses 1 Samuel 3:12-14 below, God was pronouncing judgment on Eli and his sons, because Eli the priest did not discipline nor restrain his sons for mishandling and showing contempt for God's offerings, and his sons also slept with the women who served at the Tabernacle. Although Eli was aware, he did not take control as a father to stop his son's sinful behavior. As a result, God's judgment came upon them. 

In the bible verses 1 Kings 1:5-8 below, it talks about how Adonijah made himself the new King without the knowledge of the King who was still reigning - his father King David. David had not disciplined him when he was growing up according to verse 6.

Thus even though King David had a plan for his other son Solomon to take the throne after his death, his undisciplined son, Adonijah had went around to seek some allies to make himself king, without his father's consent. 

The result of David not disciplining his son resulted in a son who was proud and not caring about the recklessness of his actions.

12 In that day I will perform against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from the beginning even to the end. 13 For I have told him that I will judge his house forever for the iniquity which he knew, because his sons brought a curse on themselves, and he didn’t restrain them. 14 Therefore I have sworn to the house of Eli that the iniquity of Eli’s house shall not be removed with sacrifice or offering forever.” (1 Samuel 3:12–14)

5 Then Adonijah the son of Haggith exalted himself, saying, “I will be king.” Then he prepared him chariots and horsemen, and fifty men to run before him. 6 His father had not displeased him at any time in saying, “Why have you done so?” and he was also a very handsome man; and he was born after Absalom. 7 He conferred with Joab the son of Zeruiah and with Abiathar the priest; and they followed Adonijah and helped him. 8 But Zadok the priest, Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, Nathan the prophet, Shimei, Rei, and the mighty men who belonged to David, were not with Adonijah. (1 Kings 1:5–8)

Good Purposes Of God's Discipline

It can be scary to think about God's discipline. God's discipline is like a traffic sign telling us to turn around or change our ways so that we will not continue onto a path that leads to our own or others' destruction. The bible teaches us that there are good purposes of God's discipline for us. Here are some.

God's Discipline Help Us Become The People He Designed Us To Be

As the bible verse below in Isaiah 45:9 says, God is fashioning us into according to his plan. Thus, he has a design for how he is able to shape us into, when he shapes us as a potter shapes clay.

 9 Woe to him who strives with his Maker— a clay pot among the clay pots of the earth! Shall the clay ask him who fashions it, ‘What are you making?’ or your work, ‘He has no hands?’ (Isaiah 45:9)

God's Discipline Help Us To Repent

Another purpose of God's discipline for us is to help bring us to repentance of our sins, according to Jeremiah 31:18-19.

18 “I have surely heard Ephraim grieving thus, ‘You have chastised me, and I was chastised, as an untrained calf. Turn me, and I will be turned, for you are The LORD my God. 19 Surely after that I was turned. I repented. After that I was instructed. I struck my thigh. I was ashamed, yes, even confounded, because I bore the reproach of my youth.’ (Jeremiah 31:18–19)

God's Discipline Shows Us A Better Way

God's discipline which includes instructions in right judgment for us is able to teach us, according to the verses in Isaiah 28:26-29. We sometimes may think of doing things our own ways, or we may even think that a certain decision seems quite right for our lives. However God knows better.

Analogously, God has a better way for things to be done, such as beating dill with a stick instead of threshing it with a sharp instrument. Thus, when we experience God's discipline, sometimes it is meant to show us there is a better way instead of what we think, which will ultimately be better for us in the long run.

This is because God loves us.

27 For the dill isn’t threshed with a sharp instrument, neither is a cart wheel turned over the cumin; but the dill is beaten out with a stick, and the cumin with a rod. 28 Bread flour must be ground; so he will not always be threshing it. Although he drives the wheel of his threshing cart over it, his horses don’t grind it. 29 This also comes out from The LORD of Armies, who is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in wisdom. (Isaiah 28:26–29)

God's Discipline And Training Prepares Us For Challenges Ahead

The bible verse below in 2 Samuel 22:35 was part of a song of praise to God from David, after God delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul who hunted after David's life. 

David sees that through those difficulties in his life, it is a form of teaching from God that strengthens him and prepares him for future challenges and made him stronger as a result.

He teaches my hands to war, so that my arms bend a bow of bronze. (2 Samuel 22:35)

Consequences Of Not Heeding Discipline

The following are some bible verses on the consequences of not heeding discipline. 

1. Poverty And Shame

Poverty and shame come to him who refuses discipline, but he who heeds correction shall be honored. (Proverbs 13:18)

32 Then I saw, and considered well. I saw, and received instruction: 33 a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep, 34 so your poverty will come as a robber and your want as an armed man. (Proverbs 24:32–34)

2. Death

There is stern discipline for one who forsakes the way. Whoever hates reproof shall die. (Proverbs 15:10)

3. Becoming Unwise

27 If you stop listening to instruction, my son, you will stray from the words of knowledge. (Proverbs 19:27)

4. Damage To Life And No Boundaries

Like a city that is broken down and without walls is a man whose spirit is without restraint. (Proverbs 25:28)

6 I have cut off nations. Their battlements are desolate. I have made their streets waste, so that no one passes by. Their cities are destroyed, so that there is no man, so that there is no inhabitant. 7 I said, “Just fear me. Receive correction,” so that her dwelling won’t be cut off, according to all that I have appointed concerning her. But they rose early and corrupted all their doings. (Zephaniah 3:6–7)

5. Sudden Disaster And Calamity

23 Turn at my reproof. Behold, I will pour out my spirit on you. I will make known my words to you. 24 Because I have called, and you have refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no one has paid attention; 25 but you have ignored all my counsel, and wanted none of my reproof; 26 I also will laugh at your disaster. I will mock when calamity overtakes you, 27 when calamity overtakes you like a storm, when your disaster comes on like a whirlwind, when distress and anguish come on you. 28 Then they will call on me, but I will not answer. They will seek me diligently, but they will not find me, 29 because they hated knowledge, and didn’t choose the fear of The LORD. 30 They wanted none of my counsel. They despised all my reproof. (Proverbs 1:23–30)

1 Woe to her who is rebellious and polluted, the oppressing city! 2 She didn’t obey the voice. She didn’t receive correction. She didn’t trust in The LORD. She didn’t draw near to her God. (Zephaniah 3:1–2)

5. Deep Regrets When Older

11 You will groan at your latter end, when your flesh and your body are consumed, 12 and say, “How I have hated instruction, and my heart despised reproof. 13 I haven’t obeyed the voice of my teachers, nor turned my ear to those who instructed me! 14 I have come to the brink of utter ruin, among the gathered assembly.” (Proverbs 5:11–14)

6. Leading Others Astray

He is in the way of life who heeds correction, but he who forsakes reproof leads others astray. (Proverbs 10:17)

Why God Disciplines People

We have just looked at the terrible consequences of not heeding discipline.

Next, we will look at reasons why God disciplines his people.

1. He Is Our Father In Heaven

God says in the bible verses below in 2 Samuel 7:14-16 that because he is a father, he will discipline his children, but his loving kindness will not leave his children in the midst of that.

14 I will be his father, and he will be my son. If he commits iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men and with the stripes of the children of men; 15 but my loving kindness will not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before you. 16 Your house and your kingdom will be made sure forever before you. Your throne will be established forever. (2 Samuel 7:14–16)

2. Judgment To His Children's Enemies

In the bible verses below in Deuteronomy 11:2-7, God's chastisement (or discipline) to the Pharaoh and to the all Egyptian land is a judgment against his children's enemies, so that his children can be freed from the slavery. 

2 Know this day—for I don’t speak with your children who have not known, and who have not seen the chastisement of The LORD your God, his greatness, his mighty hand, his outstretched arm, 3 his signs, and his works, which he did in the middle of Egypt to Pharaoh the king of Egypt, and to all his land; 4 and what he did to the army of Egypt, to their horses, and to their chariots; how he made the water of the Red Sea to overflow them as they pursued you, and how The LORD has destroyed them to this day; (Deuteronomy 11:2–5)

3. God Loves Those He Corrects Or Disciplines 

God tells us through the bible verse in Revelation 3:19 below that because he loves people, he corrects and disciplines, so that they can repent of their wicked ways.

In the bible verses below of Hebrews 12:5-13, it also tells us more about God's love as a reason for his discipline to his children. Even though it can be painful momentarily, later on it can produce peaceful fruit of righteousness.

As many as I love, I reprove and chasten. Be zealous therefore, and repent. (Revelation 3:19)

5 You have forgotten the exhortation which reasons with you as with children, “My son, don’t take lightly the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when you are reproved by him; 6 for whom the Lord loves, he disciplines, and chastises every son whom he receives.” 7 It is for discipline that you endure. God deals with you as with children, for what son is there whom his father doesn’t discipline? 8 But if you are without discipline, of which all have been made partakers, then you are illegitimate, and not children. 9 Furthermore, we had the fathers of our flesh to chasten us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much rather be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they indeed for a few days disciplined us as seemed good to them, but he for our profit, that we may be partakers of his holiness. 11 All chastening seems for the present to be not joyous but grievous; yet afterward it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. 12 Therefore lift up the hands that hang down and the feeble knees, 13 and make straight paths for your feet, so what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed. (Hebrews 12:5–13)

9 Honor The LORD with your substance, with the first fruits of all your increase; 10 so your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine. 11 My son, don’t despise The LORD’s discipline, neither be weary of his correction; 12 for whom The LORD loves, he corrects, even as a father reproves the son in whom he delights. (Proverbs 3:9–12)

The Power Of God's Discipline

We ought to keep in mind that God's discipline can be hard at times, and thus we should aim to live in a way that not incur God's wrath and painful discipline, as shown in the bible verses below.

These passages here remind us of the power of God and that he is able to discipline with various means if he really wants to. However, we should be very careful to never judge people's difficulties as part of God's discipline to them because they "sinned" or "need to repent". 

Jesus did say that in this world we will have trouble (John 16:33-"I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”)

So, having trouble in this world is different from receiving God's disciplinary wrath. We should leave this matter of God's disciplinary judgment to God himself and we should be careful not to hurt anyone with our assumptions or comments.

1 O LORD, don’t rebuke me in your anger, neither discipline me in your wrath. 2 Have mercy on me, The LORD, for I am faint. The LORD, heal me, for my bones are troubled. (Psalm 6:1–2)

1 O LORD, don’t rebuke me in your wrath, neither chasten me in your hot displeasure. 2 For your arrows have pierced me, your hand presses hard on me. (Psalm 38:1–2)

11 When you rebuke and correct man for iniquity, you consume his wealth like a moth. Surely every man is but a breath. Selah. (Psalm 39:11)

11 The pillars of heaven tremble and are astonished at his rebuke. (Job 26:11)

If You're Suffering Due To Your Actions

If you are currently undergoing some stress or difficulties due to some mistakes that you did, and you deeply regret those, the bible verse below in Psalm 119:75-76 encourages us to seek God's loving kindness and comfort.

You can say a prayer to God if you are wondering if this is God's judgment to you and ask for his mercy.

75 O LORD, I know that your judgments are righteous, that in faithfulness you have afflicted me. 76 Please let your loving kindness be for my comfort, according to your word to your servant. (Psalm 119:75–76)

O LORD, in trouble they have visited you. They poured out a prayer when your chastening was on them. (Isaiah 26:16)

How To Avoid God's Discipline

The bible verses below in Jeremiah 26:12-13, Joel 2:13 and Jonah 3:10 encourage us that God will relent from punishing us or disciplining us if we turn from our evil way, towards him and repent. This means following God's words and commands instead of continuing our sinful ways. 

When we turn back to him, Joel 2:13 says that God is gracious and merciful and abundant in loving kindness, he will be able to forgive us and relents from sending calamity.

The bible verse in 1 John 1:9 tells us that Jesus is faithful, that through the punishment he carried for us on the cross, as long as we confess our sins to him, he is able to forgive us and cleanse us from our sins.

12 Then Jeremiah spoke to all the princes and to all the people, saying, “The LORD sent me to prophesy against this house and against this city all the words that you have heard. 13 Now therefore amend your ways and your doings, and obey The LORD your God’s voice; then The LORD will relent from the evil that he has pronounced against you. (Jeremiah 26:12–13)

13 Tear your heart and not your garments, and turn to The LORD, your God; for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abundant in loving kindness, and relents from sending calamity. (Joel 2:13)

10 God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way. God relented of the disaster which he said he would do to them, and he didn’t do it. (Jonah 3:10)

9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us the sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9) 

Benefits Of Being Corrected

1. It Can Be A Form Of Blessing In Disguise

The bible verse below talks about correction being like the oil on the head in Psalm 141:5, which  is like a form of anointing or blessing.

The other verses in Psalm 94:12-13 and 1 Corinthians 11:32-33 also talk about the other benefits of God's discipline- to give us rest from the days of adversity, and so that we may not be condemned with the world.

Let the righteous strike me, it is kindness; let him reprove me, it is like oil on the head; don’t let my head refuse it; Yet my prayer is always against evil deeds. (Psalm 141:5)

12 Blessed is the man whom you discipline, O God, and teach out of your law, 13 that you may give him rest from the days of adversity, until the pit is dug for the wicked. (Psalm 94:12–13

32 But when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world. 33 Therefore, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for one another. (1 Corinthians 11:32–33)

2. Correction Can Provide Wisdom

The following bible verses from Proverbs also talk about how correction can provide wisdom and knowledge.

7 One who corrects a mocker invites insult. One who reproves a wicked man invites abuse. 8 Don’t reprove a scoffer, lest he hate you. Reprove a wise person, and he will love you. 9 Instruct a wise person, and he will be still wiser. Teach a righteous person, and he will increase in learning. 10 The fear of The LORD is the beginning of wisdom. The knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. (Proverbs 9:7–10)

31 The ear that listens to reproof lives, and will be at home among the wise. 32 He who refuses correction despises his own soul, but he who listens to reproof gets understanding. 33 The fear of The LORD teaches wisdom. Before honor is humility. (Proverbs 15:31–33)

20 He who heeds the Word finds prosperity. Whoever trusts in The LORD is blessed. 21 The wise in heart shall be called prudent. Pleasantness of the lips promotes instruction. 22 Understanding is a fountain of life to one who has it, but the punishment of fools is their folly. 23 The heart of the wise instructs his mouth, and adds learning to his lips. (Proverbs 16:20–23)

Listen to counsel and receive instruction, that you may be wise in your latter end. (Proverbs 19:20)

Flog a scoffer, and the simple will learn prudence; rebuke one who has understanding, and he will gain knowledge. (Proverbs 19:25)

When the mocker is punished, the simple gains wisdom. When the wise is instructed, he receives knowledge. (Proverbs 21:11)

3. When Fully Trained One Can Teach Others

When discipline and training is completed, the bible verse below in Luke 6:40 says that one will be like his teacher. This shows that the person would gain the skills to be as effective as their teacher and also be able to teach others just like his teachers.

A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher. (Luke 6:40)

How To Correct Others 

The bible verses below encourage us all to use gentleness when we are trying to help someone to get back on the right path or when we are trying to tell them to stop a certain sinful act.

The bible verses here encourage us to use kindness and humility when we do that, so that we are relying on God's power to help these people and not by our brute force.

The bible verse in Galatians 6:1 also reminds us that when we correct other people's sins, we ourselves need to be careful of our own tendencies to be tempted in the same matter.

1 Brothers, even if a man is caught in some fault, you who are spiritual must restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, looking to yourself so that you also aren’t tempted. (Galatians 6:1)

in gentleness correcting those who oppose him. Perhaps God may give them repentance leading to a full knowledge of the truth, (2 Timothy 2:25)

1 Remind them to be in subjection to rulers and to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, 2 to speak evil of no one, not to be contentious, to be gentle, showing all humility toward all men. (Titus 3:1–2)

As we can see, the bible has a lot to say on this topic of discipline and self-discipline. I hope this post will be able to provide some insight on God's word to you.

Here is a prayer that you can follow to help you to have more self-discipline.

Bible version: the public domain World English Bible (WEB) has been used throughout this post. The WEB translation of "Yahweh" has been changed to "the LORD" which is more familiar to most readers.

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