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Discipline is Absolutely Necessary
Proverbs 12:1 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
12 He who loves discipline loves knowledge,
but he who hates reproof is stupid.
Apologies, I flipped this with the uasvbible.org blog. Tomorrow, it will be back on track.
He who loves discipline loves knowledge: We have a masculine singular verb (אָהֵב aheb) translated he who loves, which can be rendered whoever loves. The one loving discipline, correction, and reproof loves knowledge, which leads to a successful life.
Discipline (מוּסָר musar) is repeatedly mentioned throughout the book of Proverbs. In the Scriptures, discipline often carries the sense of correction, admonition, rebuke, or chastisement. It is the practice or methods of teaching and enforcing acceptable patterns of behavior: correction, admonition, or modification, whether it is self-discipline or the discipline of another. According to The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, it “denotes the training of the moral nature, involving the correcting of waywardness toward folly.” (Garland and Longman 2008, 48) Do we need this training? Whether we are disciplining ourselves or being disciplined by another, grasping the counsel within the Scriptures and then applying it in our lives moves us to become better servants of God. If we are to move from inherited death to life, we require discipline. Knowledge (דַּעַת daath) is the possession of information learned by personal experience, observation, or study. It includes wisdom, understanding, insight, and the ability to live successfully apply what has been taken into one’s heart and mind. The Bible strongly urges us to seek and treasure accurate knowledge, as it is far superior to gold. – Prov. 8:10; 20:15.
but he who hates reproof is stupid: The Hebrew (שָׂנֵא sane) rendered hate means to abhor, detest, loathe, to dislike intensely, to feel apathy for or hostility toward someone or something. Reproof: (תּוֹכַחַת tokachath) has the sense of an act or expression of criticism or disapproval, even condemnation. It is speaking strong words of disapproval, which may also include punishment. (Prov. 1:23, 25, 30; 3:11; 5:12; 6:23; 10:17; 12:1; 13:18; 15:5, 10, 31, 32; 27:5; 29:1, 15) The Hebrew term (בַּעַר baar) is one who lacks or is marked by a lack of knowledge or intellectual acuity, i.e., pertaining to lacking understanding but implying other negative moral imperfections as well. It is rendered stupid, which is only used in the wisdom literature within the Old Testament. In Psalm 73:22, baar means beastlike or brutish. It is what is used to describe foolish ones, those who have no sense.
In our human imperfection, there is a tendency to hate or resent reproof (correction) and through the source that it is coming through, be it another human or the Word of God. If we give in to this hatred of reproof, it degrades us to be less than human, to being nothing more than a senseless unreasoning beast, who lacks moral discernment. Receptiveness to what is learned is a great form of self-discipline when we apply what is right and just, properly applying the information we receive.
If we are eager to improve our lives, we will crave discipline. He who is righteous is quick to apply the discipline he receives at home, from church leadership, from Christian friends, and especially God’s Word. The words within the Scriptures are like ox goads that prod him to follow an upright path that leads to life. This one does not wait for knowledge to come his way, he seeks it out like hidden treasure, to make his course straight. Yes, one who loves discipline loves knowledge.
If we are going to find favor in the eyes of God, discipline is very much necessary, especially self-discipline. Discipline is correcting what is wrong or missing. Maybe we wish that we had deeper knowledge of God’s Word. Maybe we wish that we were more effective in sharing the Word of God with others. (Matthew 24:14; 28:19-20; Ac 1:8) However, if we lack self-discipline, these things will never be a reality. This applies to every facet of our lives. For example, we live in a world that feeds the fallen flesh with immoral desires through every form of entertainment and even simply going from one place to another, especially in the workplace. Is there not a need for self-discipline, in order to restrain the eye from focusing on improper sights? Moreover, Scripture tells us that all humans are mentally bent toward evil, and our hearts are treacherous and unknowable. (Gen. 6:5; 8:21; Jer. 17:9) Therefore, immoral thinking can be cultivated in the recesses of the mind. Self-discipline is needed in order not to entertain, dwell, or cultivate such thoughts.
The wicked one hates reproof, on the other hand, he loves neither discipline nor knowledge, so he remains brutish and beastlike in feeding his fallen flesh. Because he has given into his evil leanings, feeding his imperfect human tendencies, he has become less than human, an unreasoning animal, a brute, who lacks moral judgment. We must resolutely resist this leaning, this inclination.