Carson: How Do We Know If God Is Disciplining Us?

Don Carson answered that question recently for TGC’s blog.

He draws three inferences:

  1. We are likely to make exegetical and theological mistakes when we take any one of these passages and treat it as if it explains all suffering.
  2. In any suffering, or in any other event for that matter, God is doubtless doing many things, perhaps thousands of things, millions of things, even if we can only detect two or three or a handful. [Cf. Piper’s tweet.]
  3. It follows that when we face suffering of any kind, we should use the occasion for self-examination.

Conclusion: “We sometimes observe that hard cases make bad theology. But easy, formulaic answers to questions of suffering are invariably reductionistic — and they make bad theology, too.”

Read the whole thing.


  1. Ivan Lambert says

    I thought of John 9 in how Jesus’ disciples were clueless as to why the man was born blind.
    And of course, Job’s friends / counselors were absolutely clueless as well!
    Thanks for the reminder, Andy.

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