Proverbs 22:15

ESV Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline drives it far from him.
NIV Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far away.
NASB Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; The rod of discipline will remove it far from him.
CSB Foolishness is bound to the heart of a youth; a rod of discipline will separate it from him.
NLT A youngster’s heart is filled with foolishness, but physical discipline will drive it far away.
KJV Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.

What does Proverbs 22:15 mean?

Almost no one disputes the fact that children are born in ignorance. Important aspects of life must be taught directly so children don't suffer drastic consequences learning by experience. Good parents use careful discipline to prepare children for various dangers and basic needs. Much more controversial is the truth that humanity is born not only uninformed, but morally crooked. This concept is known as a "sin nature." A common joke is that the only people who don't believe children are born with sin in their hearts are those who have never raised a child. Without being taught, a child will display rebellion, selfishness, greed, and so forth.

David confessed, "Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me" (Psalm 51:5). Every human being has received a sin nature through the lineage of Adam. Paul writes in Romans 5:12: "Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned." In the book of proverbs, "folly" is not merely a lack of sense or information; it also includes moral and spiritual truths. Loving discipline (Proverbs 13:24; 19:18) moves a child from foolishness and death towards wisdom and life (Proverbs 1:7; 8:34–36). This is presented in a context of love and care, not abuse or carelessness. Parents should choose wisely what form of discipline works best with their children, in each moment, and for each individual child. Corporal punishment—a literal "rod"—may not work as well as depriving a child of some privilege or luxury. In whatever way it comes, discipline must not be overbearing. Ephesians 6:4 exhorts: "Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord."

Ultimately, the goal of any such discipline is to guide children towards the only real cure for sin and depravity, which is Christ. Being aware of our limitations is part of understanding our need for a Savior.
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