Bible Studies/2 Samuel 12:22


QUESTION: Hi Teacher Scott,
When David says the child wii never come back to him but he will go to the child.. I've heard this means that children
that havent yet reached the age of understanding, will be in Heaven.I'm just curious if there is another interpretation?

ANSWER: Ah, Joyce, this is admittedly a tough one.

There are many who believe in an "age of accountability"--the point at which a child is old enough to comprehend his situation before God and respond to the gospel. This is not a precise age, per se, but a level of comprehension. Prior to this point, the child is considered innocent or beyond God's judgment because he is unable to understand the gospel message and make a decision about his relationship with God.

Those who believe this believe that anyone dying before the age of accountability is automatically saved and goes to heaven. They cite this verse as possible proof of this view. They also reason that God would not condemn an innocent child who is unable to accept the gift of salvation. "It just wouldn't be fair."

Then there is another view. Those that hold this view find apparent support in numerous passages of Scripture. It's the view that says we are all sinners, not just by choice, but also by birth, by nature. One does not have to be old enough to choose sin or to choose God in order to be a sinner and to be guilty in God's eyes. While it may not seem fair, if anyone dies without Christ, regardless of age, that person is lost.

So which view is correct? Is the Bible clear? Well, that's just it. The Bible is not clear but allows room for speculation. And there may be a reason for that. Consider the problems if it were clear. If it were certain that a child dying before the age of accountability would automatically be saved, some extreme group might start killing babies to ensure that they go to heaven. If it were certain that the child would not go to heaven, some might condemn God for being cruel and unfair.

So what is the answer? I tend to believe in an age of accountability ... though I cannot prove it. Ultimately, I know that God is holy and just, and He is also kind, loving, gracious and merciful. So I trust Him with the answer to this issue.

What are your thoughts?


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: I agree with the age of accountability. It just seems so mean and cruel that a God of live and mercy could allow such peple in this world only to sentence them to eternal punishment. FYI, i was once asked why the Bible seems contradictory or ambiguous at times. The only answer I had was 2 Tim 2:15. 'Study to show thyself approved....' That if everything were perfectly clear, we wouldnt need to study. When talking to JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES, you sometimes have to get creative.
Next question. Same chapter, v 25. Who got the name change? My Bible just says 'he'

Good point, Joyce. If the Bible seems contradictory or ambiguous, it's only because we do not yet fully grasp its truth. Because the Bible is a reflection of the mind of God, it stands to reason that its truths can sometimes be quite complex. Our role is to research, uncover, investigate--"study," as you said, to seek to understand the truth. And not all of the answers are revealed yet.

As for your next question, the name change in verse 25 isn't exactly a name change but rather a second name ... for the baby. David and Bathsheba named him Solomon (meaning "peace"), and God named him Jedidiah ("loved by the Lord"). He had a double name. This is not unusual. Consider Jesus, who is also called Emmanuel, and Simon/Peter, and Saul/Paul.


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Scott Talbot


I have studied the Bible and Bible-related topics since the time I was very young. My education includes a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Bible, and a Master of Divinity degree. I enjoy delving into deep theological issues and always enjoy a healthy debate. But more importantly, I like working with people and helping them to find the answers that they are looking for. And I am convinced that these answers are available in the Bible.


By the grace and mercy of God, I have been saved, born again, adopted into the family of God. God has given me a love for the Bible, and for Bible-related subjects. In addition, He has blessed me with ongoing training in the Scriptures, from my youth on up. The more I learn about God through His Word, the more I want to share!

Campus Crusade for Christ, Grace Church at Willow Valley

Pillsbury Baptist Bible College - B.S. Bible & Pastorology; Calvary Baptist Theological Seminary - M.Div.

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