What does Ephesians 6:4 mean?
ESV: Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
NIV: Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
NASB: Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
CSB: Fathers, don’t stir up anger in your children, but bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
NLT: Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.
KJV: And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
NKJV: And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.
Verse Commentary:
After three verses dedicated to how children should obey parents, one verse is given specifically for fathers. As the head of the household, the father is charged with ultimate responsibility for the way the children are raised. In practice, this instruction is meant for both parents, and would have been understood that way by Paul's readers.

Fathers are commanded not to agitate or irritate their children. The Greek word is parorgizete, which implies exasperation or frustration. In practice, this means avoiding unfair and cruel behavior, or blatant favoritism. Godly fathers are not to push their children toward anger. Anger can sometimes be a healthy emotion, yet can often lead to sin (Ephesians 4:26).

Instead, fathers (parents) are given a positive command to "bring them up." In other words, Christians are expected to be highly involved in raising their own children. Two areas are mentioned. First, Paul includes discipline. Discipline involved learning self–control and the ability to restrain from personal desires in order to do what is right. Second, Paul adds the "instruction of the Lord." We should be involved in teaching our children about God's ways through both education and example.

According to Scripture, a father trains the child he loves (Proverbs 3:12), instructs him (Proverbs 13:1), and provides for his children (Proverbs 19:14).
Verse Context:
Ephesians 6:1–4 gives instructions for children to obey their parents, and for parents to be careful in how they raise their children. Children who learn respect for proper authority will have a better chance at success in life. And, obedience to parents is the morally right way to behave. Parents, however, are to be careful not to antagonize their children. Instead of pushing them towards anger or frustration, Christian parents should give their children loving, God-centered teaching and discipline.
Chapter Summary:
Paul gives specific instructions to children and fathers, stressing obedience and patience, respectively. He also directs servants to serve with sincerity and good intentions, as if they were working for Christ. Masters are warned not to be harsh: the same God who judges all will not give them preference over those they supervised. All Christians are called on to use the tools given us by God for surviving the attacks of the devil. These are imagined as pieces of a suit of armor. Paul ends this letter in his typical style, with prayer, blessings, and news about his plans.
Chapter Context:
Ephesians opens with three chapters of doctrine, followed by three chapters of practical application. This final chapter of Paul's letter focuses on specific ways Christians should live. It also summarizes the spiritual tools we are given by God, imagining them as a suit of armor. Paul pulls the same basic ideas from the rest of letter together, showing how Christians should live out their knowledge of what salvation in Christ really means.
Book Summary:
Ephesians follows a theme common in Paul's writings: connecting theory with practice. In this book, however, he goes into greater depth before making the transition. As a letter meant to be read by more than just the believers at Ephesus, this is an important look at how Christian belief should translate into Christian action. The first three chapters lay out spiritual ideas, the last three chapters show how these truths should be applied in the life of a mature believer. Paul focuses heavily on love, the unity of the Christian church, and the incredible value of our salvation through Christ.
Accessed 7/17/2024 12:29:12 PM
© Copyright 2002-2024 Got Questions Ministries. All rights reserved.
Text from ESV, NIV, NASB, CSB, NLT, KJV, NKJV © Copyright respective owners, used by permission.
www.BibleRef.com