(( The full article is here: https://biblicalgenderroles.com/2016/09/20/does-the-bible-allow-a-husband-to-spank-his-wife/ ))
The practice of wife spanking continued to be common practice in America well into the 1950s. It was portrayed in old films and TV shows right up to the 1970s. It was during the 1960s and 1970s with second wave feminism that the “Domestic Violence” movement attempted to eradicate wife spanking completely from American society. Wife spanking would of course return as as sexual type of fun, but it was never to be used as actual discipline by a husband toward his wife.
While the Bible does not specifically speak to wife spanking (either specifically allowing it or specifically condemning it) we must ask the question “Are there general principles of the Scriptures that would speak to this issue?” The answer is YES.
Principle #1 – Husbands Have a Right and Responsibility to Discipline their Wives
The Bible tells us that husbands are the head of their wives “as Christ is the head of the Church”:
“23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. 24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.”
Ephesians 5:23-24 (KJV)
Not only are husbands the head of their wives as Christ is the head of the Church but God created marriage to model the relationship of Christ to his Church. Husbands are to model Christ’s headship over his Church by loving their wives as Christ loves the Church. One of the primary ways in which Christ loves his Church is in his spiritual washing of her:
“25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.”
Ephesians 5:25-27 (KJV)
This spiritual washing by Christ of the spots and wrinkles of his Church is discipline. Christ alludes to this same concept in the book of Revelation after rebuking his seven Churches:
“As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.”
Revelation 3:19 (KJV)
So, it is clear from the Scriptures that if a husband is modeling the relationship of Christ to his Church with his wife he has not only the right, but also the responsibility of spiritual disciplining his wife.
Principle #2 – God Allows Physical Punishment As A Form Of Discipline
The Bible tells us that God approves physical punishment as a form of discipline in the following passages:
“He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.”
Proverbs 13:24 (KJV)
“13 Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. 14 Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.”
Proverbs 23:13-14 (KJV)
“If there be a controversy between men, and they come unto judgment, that the judges may judge them; then they shall justify the righteous, and condemn the wicked. 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. 3 Forty stripes he may give him, and not exceed: lest, if he should exceed, and beat him above these with many stripes, then thy brother should seem vile unto thee.”
Deuteronomy 25:1-3 (KJV)
“Judgments are prepared for scorners, and stripes for the back of fools.”
Proverbs 19:29 (KJV)
“A whip for the horse, a bridle for the ass, and a rod for the fool’s back.”
Proverbs 26:3 (KJV)
As we can see from these passages of the Scripture – not only is physical discipline approved by God for children but it is also approved by God for adults.
When we take these two Biblical principles together we see that God has given men both the right and responsibility to discipline their wives and God approves of physical discipline for adults. Therefore, we can rightly conclude from these two Biblical truths that God allows men to spank their wives.