Punishment is designed to inflict a penalty on someone or something. This form of a sanction serves as retribution for an offense, especially a transgression of a legal or moral code. If boundaries aren’t defined and standards not upheld, lawlessness will begin to run rampant. Thus, in the passage below the apostle Paul urges first century Christians to be ready to punish wayward thoughts.
[Inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One), 2 Corinthians 10:5.
This mentality is taking into account the spiritual dimension. While Solomon urged his sons to sharpen one another via accountability, Proverbs 27:17, spiritual discipline requires special weapons, 2 Corinthians 10:4. Instead of choosing a paddle that was once common to spank a child, spiritual weapons are meant to overthrow and destroy strongholds. Similar to the ancient practice of purging, taking thoughts captives takes effort.
Being in readiness to punish every [insubordinate for his] disobedience, when your own submission and obedience [as a church] are fully secured and complete, 2 Corinthians 10:6.
Just as teetotalers use abstinence to halt wayward thoughts, obedience to Christ is the force that keep weak bodies in check. Realizing that many Israelites were vulnerable to conforming to other beliefs and cultures, Joshua urges those ready to enter God’s Promised Land to meditate on the Torah day and night. These first five books of the Bible clearly define God’s expectations. Therefore, the best way to punish wayward thoughts is through the practice of Bible memorization to recall right from wrong.
by Jay Mankus