What does the Bible say about child abuse?


By BibleAsk Team

Child Abuse the Bible

While the Bible doesn’t mention the phrase “child abuse,” there are clear teachings on how to treat children. Jesus showed tender loving compassion towards children. And when His disciples tried to keep the little ones from coming to Him, He reproved them saying, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these” (Mark 10:14). “And He took them up in His arms, laid His hands on them, and blessed them” (verse 16).

The Bible warns against child abuse in any form. Jesus said, “whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea” (Matthew 18:6).

This should not be understood to mean that physical disciple is condemned. On the contrary, the Bible teaches that children should be corrected when necessary.  Proverbs 13:24 says, “He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.” But discipline should be administered with the right spirit of love, compassion, wisdom, and without anger (Ephesians 4:26–27; Proverbs 29:22)

The Bible also prohibits child sexual abuse. To force sexual acts upon a child is abhorrent to God. Jesus highlighted the purity of children and the need to become like children. “Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.  Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.  Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me” (Matthew 18:2-5).

The Bible also speaks against psychological abuse. Paul writes, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). By placing unreasonable rules, parents can frustrate their children. And the apostle explained, “Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged” (Colossians 3:21). The home should be a place of peace where family members communicate and interact in a loving, encourging and caring manner and without strife (Ephesians 4:15–19).

Check out our Bible Answers page for more information on a variety of topics.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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