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Colossians 3:21

ESV Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.
NIV Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.
NASB Fathers, do not antagonize your children, so that they will not become discouraged.
CSB Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they won't become discouraged.
NLT Fathers, do not aggravate your children, or they will become discouraged.
KJV Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.

What does Colossians 3:21 mean?

After addressing wives, husbands, and children, Paul adds additional instructions for Christian fathers. This closely resembles the instruction Paul gives in Ephesians 6:4 warning fathers not to provoke anger in their children. Some render the phrase Paul uses here in Colossians as "do not cause your children to become resentful." The idea is that of stirring up or causing problems for your child. Unfairness and aggression, in particular, are to be avoided. Fathers are not to be problem-makers for their children, but rather providers and examples for their sons and daughters.

Fathers who provoke their children can cause discouragement. Children rely on their father to offer encouragement. When fathers fail in this aspect, it can have long-lasting impact on the well-being of their child. Once again, Ephesians 6:4 mirrors this part of Colossians. Fathers are called to both offer discipline and to teach God's ways to their children. This is not to be delegated to a mother or other influencers. Spiritual instruction may involve the support of all family members, but it is ultimately the personal responsibility of the father.
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