“Blows and wounds scrub away evil, and beatings purge the inmost being.”
Explanation and Commentary of Proverbs 20:30
This verse speaks to the reason for discipline. Not to be taken wrongly, the right consequences for our errors and sins can cause us to avoid the same errors and sins in the future. The Bible calls a parent not to spare the rod when raising a child (Prov 13:24). This means some sort of discipline. There is disagreement whether this means that the “pain” must come from spanking or if it can be some other unpleasantness, so long as the child wants to avoid it.
Another way to consider this is that when one faces pain, there is a purifying of spirit that can occur so long as one accepts the pain as discipline. Enduring hardship, for the person who lives their life in a meaningful way, can forge endurance and grit, which can later be used to face larger obstacles. In a fallen world, hard things happen. It is those who find meaning in the hard things and use them to strengthen their “inmost being” who can not only survive the hardship but thrive under it.
Lastly, one should not take lightly the discipline of our Father in heaven, who loves us and will lead like a good father. It should also be understood that the “blows and wounds” which “scrub away evil” the most effectively have been those inflicted on Jesus Christ, who was pierced for our transgressions (Isa 53:5). He took the blows, but our inmost being was purged, praise be to God!
Breaking Down the Key Parts of Proverbs 20:30
#1 “Blows and wounds scrub away evil, and beatings purge…”
No discipline feels fun or easy, but all of it has the potential, if we will submit ourselves to it, to drive out evil from us. Sadly though, this verse and some like it have been used to justify a kind of torture from those who had no right to inflict it. In this case, the blows and wounds create evil and engender bitterness. Again, the most effective blows for purging evil were those inflicted on Christ.
#2 “…the inmost being.”
The true seat of the soul, the inner being, the inner man or woman, this is who we truly are under the surface that we have so carefully put on for the world to see. Maturity is becoming on the outside what we are on the inside, the inside having been purged by the gospel of Jesus Christ and the wounds of our own discipline.
Expert Overview of Proverbs
Biblical Translations of Proverbs 20:30
Blows and wounds scrub away evil, and beatings purge the inmost being.
Physical punishment cleanses away evil; such discipline purifies the heart.
Blows that wound cleanse away evil; strokes make clean the innermost parts.
The blueness of a wound cleanseth away evil: so do stripes the inward parts of the belly.
Blows that hurt cleanse away evil, As do stripes the inner depths of the heart.
Natalie Regoli is a child of God, devoted wife, and mother of two boys. She has a Masters Degree in Law from The University of Texas. Natalie has been published in several national journals and has been practicing law for 18 years.