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He Scourges Those He Loves | Hebrew 12:6 Explained

For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines,
And He scourges every son whom He receives.” – Hebrews 12:6

What do you think the writer of this letter is implying when he says God disciplines us and scourges us?

Is discipline some kind of punishment? And if so what would that punishment look like? Would it be causing you to lose a job? Would it be God giving you a disease? Would it be God letting something bad happen to you?

And if that is discipline, doesn’t that fly in the face of God for giving you of your sins?

And I’ve heard many sermons about this word scourge. I won’t meet them in the middle and water this word down. Jesus was scourged. By His stripes we are healed. Do you know what it would have looked like if you saw Jesus after he was scourged? You would’ve seen flesh bone in blood everywhere. Do we really believe this is what God is doing to his children? Because if that’s what God is doing to his children, and I don’t want any part of it. Today we are going to show you the true meaning of Hebrews chapter 12:6. And here’s the news flesh. This is not something that should be scary. This is actually something that should comfort you.

Let’s begin by looking at a few verses and see if there’s any conflict between those and this idea that God is disappointing us in a form of punishment or scourging us.

The one who believes in Him is not judged;-John 3:18

There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.-1 John 4:18

And their sins and their lawless deeds
will no longer remember-Hebrews 10:17

having canceled the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.- Colossians 2:114

And where these have been forgiven, sacrifice for sin is no longer necessary.-Hebrews 10:18

I am writing to you, little children, because your sins have been forgiven you on account of His name.- 1 John 2:12

 So let’s get back to the scary verse again and Hebrews chapter 10

Hebrews 12:6 For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines,
And He scourges every son whom He receives.”

What are we to make of this? Well, the good news is, if you are a child of God this is actually a verse that should comfort you, not scare you. Check this out.

For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines

Let’s start with the easy one. Discipline.

There are many people that want us to believe that God’s discipline for his children is some form of punishment or a watered-down version of his wrath.

But does that really fit with all the comforting verses we just read about the gospel and God’s promises? Of course not. So what does God’s discipline look like?

Discipline is not punishment for past sins.
Discipline is training for future living.

For some reason, there are many leaders and teachers that want to make us think that being disciplined by God is the equivalent of some type of punishment. Discipline simply means to be discipled. To be trained. To be canceled. It’s a good thing. It may not always be comfortable, but nonetheless, it remains a good thing.

Athletes discipline themselves to be in the best shape of their life. This discipline is a good thing but it requires a lot of hard work. But there’s no punishment in this. Some people discipline themselves to eat healthily. Some people discipline themselves to read their Bible or go to church frequently. I’m not sure why people want to read the word discipline in the Bible and turn it into some kind of butt-kicking from God.

Okay. Now the hard one. Scourges.

OK, it’s a fair question to say how do we explain away this scourging? Well, the first thing I would ask all of you is have you ever had anything from the equivalent of scourging that came from God? And I honestly hope you don’t think getting cancer, raped, or any other horrific thing is coming from God. There’s no way in the world that would ever line up with Jesus dying on the cross and being full payment for our sins. They either remain punishment for sins or there doesn’t. God either remembers them and holds them against you or he is taking them away.

Hebrews 12:6 And He scourges every son whom He receives.

Let’s unpack some very important points that will change your mind forever about how you see this big scary word, SCOURGES.

A few points to keep in mind:

1. The letter is written to the Hebrews. Hebrews are Jewish people.

2. As such, the letter was written in Hebrew.

3. I’m not sure why, but it would appear that the translator utterly failed to take into account with the original term “scourges” meant when it was written.

Hang in there with me – this will all make sense in a moment. 

  • Scourge is a deadly Weapon.
  • Scourge’ was added to Proverbs 3:12
  • In your bible concordance, ‘scourge’, in its original language was ‘biqqoret’ (the Hebrew term).

4. Biqqoret can be translated as ‘scourge’ or ‘To Inquire Deeply”.

5. The translator likely failed to consider the OLDER meaning.

How do I know this it’s not about scourge is meaning beating us versus inquiring deeply? Very simple.

1. You will not read anything about people being scourged in the old testament.

2. That’s because the scourge weapon had not yet been invented.

3. In the old testament the word scourge simply meant to inquire deeply.

4. So fast forward hundreds of years later when they invented the weapon, they needed a name for it. So just like we do today, they arrived at a name by looking at what it did. It inquired deeply into the skin.

Think about the word television. How did we get the name? We got it from words that existed before television did. Tele means “to or at a distance”. Vision means “sight”. So to see something at a distance resulted in calling it what we know today as the television.

What’s the takeaway? The takeaway is if you are a child of God you are not being punished. You are certainly not having metal shards buried deeply into your skin as a means of payment for your sins. God that’s completely dealt with all of our sins. There’s no more punishment. There’s no slap on the wrist. There’s no kick in the butt. But there is loving discipline as God inquires deeply into our lives, day by day, and helps to counsel us and grow us so that we may be conformed to the identity of Jesus Christ. So if you’ve ever called on Jesus to rescue you from your sins, you can relax and draw near to him with confidence. Your sin problem is dealt with. That’s the reason to go out and live godly lives. Because He made us clean and He made us close.


Author: Mike Cynar

Mike Cynar was raised in a church setting where he frequently noticed that many attendees would eventually drift away. The church labeled these individuals as ‘back sliders’ or ‘fake Christians’ just looking for ‘fire insurance’. However, Mike realized the issue was rarely with these individuals but instead with the church’s message itself. The teachings heavily emphasized behavior improvement and one’s flaws, with only a fleeting mention of one’s identity in Christ. It felt as though every sermon was tailored to the church of Corinth, who as we know or committing sins that even unbelievers don’t partake in. This trend was noticeable not just in one denomination, but across Baptist, Catholic, Pentecostal, and many other churches. Upon understanding the true essence of the gospel – that our righteousness comes from Jesus’ actions, not our own – Mike was inspired to liberate believers from lifeless sermons and reconnect them with the genuine teachings of Jesus. He believes that one can nurture a vibrant and growing bond with Jesus, unhindered by rigid religious practices. And thus, “Jesus Without Religion” was born.

It turns out that it is grace that leads to repentance. And if our heart is to get others to walk in the Spirit and live a godly life, then the best approach is not a beat down sermon, but rather to remind other that it is only when we understand our true identity in Christ that we will live it out. Yes, it’s true, if you’re convinced that God thinks you’re a dirty sinner, you will ultimately continue a lifestyle that mirrors that view, but if you truly believe that even on your worst day, you are called holy, sanctified, justified, and will be presented blameless in the end, well, it turns out this is the secret to living out on the outside what has been worked in to the inside.


  • Shelly Posted February 19, 2022 5:48 pm

    Amen. Spot on message

  • Jim Schablitsky Posted September 9, 2022 5:57 pm

    Hi Mike,
    This is an excellent message about God’s love for us, and all for our profit that we might be partakers of his holiness. Blessings, Jim

    • Mike C Posted September 9, 2022 6:49 pm

      I’m always appreciative when people start to share kind words. Thank you Jim.

  • Robert Bass Posted September 14, 2022 11:17 pm

    the word scourge in Hebrews 12:6 means severe punishment…but not punishment for sinful past deeds….let me ask you sir….if it pleased the Father to Crush the Son…..why are we dancing around the word scourge?…..secondly…consider one of the marquis verses in New Covenant…Phil 3:10 “Knowing Him by the power of His Resurrection the fellowship of His suffering being conformed to the likeness of His death…..suffering and dying to our flesh 2/3 recipe for Knowing Him in present tense?????…so the more severe points do not cause me to sense He is tormenting me…the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked and it may take what it takes to circumcise it????

    • Mike C Posted September 15, 2022 9:36 am

      So, YOU say ‘scourge’ means ‘severe punishment’.

      So, let’s dissect what you’re actually saying.

      You would be saying that Jesus died on the cross for our sins. The wages of sin is death, and Jesus took that wage/punishment and died. I do not think you would disagree where the scripture says that Jesus was the propitiation for sin. Which means to satisfy a deity. So if God is satisfied with the payment, why would we slap Jesus in the face with this idea that it was not enough?

      So this sounds like you’re making two entirely separate arguments which completely conflict with each other. On one hand you’re acknowledging the work of the cross, but on the other hand you’re saying God still has a need to dole out more ‘severe punishment’ for sin. So, let’s just call a spade a spade – you’re rejecting that the cross was enough payment for sin.

      Now to get back to your words about “dancing around the word scourge”.

      I find it very interesting that you did not even offer up a tiny defense for my explanation of the word scourge. There was no dancing. It was an intimate explanation. I literally pointed out that this old testament citing of the word scourge existed long before the scourge weapon did. Only later was the skirt weapon invented and named according to what it did. Inquired deeply. You’re trying to make the case that this has something to do with the weapon. And I’ve already taken the legs off of that argument. You need to get back to the original Hebrew meaning of the word scourge stop seeking to turn it into the Greek meaning.

      If there’s any dancing going on, it’s those that are not willing to acknowledge this very obvious fact and timeline that these words were used and created.

      • Dale Posted October 22, 2023 12:49 pm

        I am wrestling with this too but youre assessment does not align with one infallible truth which is the scripture being perfect. When I read your reply it appears that you are stating that the writer of Hebrews and the translator made a mistake. Why is it so hard to accept that Elohim would use whatever means neccessary to peel back the layers of crap that can fill our hearts? “Inquire deeply” falls short when the following verses compare God the Father’s discipline to that of an earthly father. Where is the pain in inquiring deeply? He loves you enough to correct you when need be, prune you when need be, I am okay with this and you are apparently not. It sounds like you are struggling and that’s okay it’s not easy “Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”

        • Mike C Posted October 22, 2023 2:09 pm

          My assessment does align with the infallible truths of scripture being perfect so long as my assessment is accurate, which I believe it is.
          I’m not sure why you have an issue with translations including mistakes. There is a big difference in the original manuscripts, being perfect, without mistake, and later translations being with mistakes. It is also widely known that many translations have been changed and updated over the years.
          I think I made my case, almost indisputable by proving a very simple fact that everyone, and it seems including yourself, seem to overlook. And that is at the time this original quote was written, even though it used the word ‘scourge’, the actual weapon had NOT been invented yet.
          So how do you explain the language if the weapon had not been invented?

          And it’s one thing to suggest that God is disciplining us, or correcting us, but how do you reconcile those words with the idea of literally beating someone near me to the point of death?
          I think if we’re honest with ourselves about the points I’ve just presented to you, it leaves us no choice, but to consider that the translation has flaws, which has absolutely no negative impact on the original manuscripts.

  • Amy Bechtel Kimball Posted August 12, 2023 10:16 pm

    I’m really enjoying your webpage as a resource. I am editing a topical study on the Finished Work of the Cross and translating it into Spanish to teach the precious Christians here about their firm identity in Jesus so they can walk in freedom!!

    What is your source for saying that Hebrews was originally written in Hebrew/Aramaic? An online search proves controversial for the answers I’m seeing. Thank you.

  • Charles Churchill Posted August 12, 2023 10:59 pm

    It’s odd that the same Greek word was used by Hebrew scholars in the Septuagint for verses such as
    Exo 5:14 And the officers of the children of Israel, which Pharaoh’s taskmasters had set over them, were beaten, and demanded,…
    Deu 25:2 And it shall be, if the wicked man be worthy to be beaten, that the judge shall cause him to lie down, and to be beaten before his face, according to his fault, by a certain number.
    But it’s also used for verses like:
    Proverbs 3;12, For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.
    I don’t see any basis for your interpretation.

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