Do Not Provoke Your Child to Anger: What Does Ephesians 6:4 Mean?


Ephesians 6:4, “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” King James Version (KJV)

TranslationEphesians 6:4
ESVFathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
NASBFathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
NIVFathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
NLTFathers, 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.

Do Not Provoke Your Child to Anger: Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary

6:1-4 The great duty of children is, to obey their parents. That obedience includes inward reverence, as well as outward acts, and in every age prosperity has attended those distinguished for obedience to parents.

The duty of parents. Be not impatient; use no unreasonable severities. Deal prudently and wisely with children; convince their judgements and work upon their reason. Bring them up well; under proper and compassionate correction; and in the knowledge of the duty God requires.

Often is this duty neglected, even among professors of the gospel. Many set their children against religion; but this does not excuse the children’s disobedience, though it may be awfully occasion it.

God alone can change the heart, yet he gives his blessing to the good lessons and examples of parents, and answers their prayers. But those, whose chief anxiety is that their children should be rich and accomplished, whatever becomes of their souls, must not look for the blessing of God.

Ephesians 6:4 | Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

4. fathers—including mothers; the fathers are specified as being the fountains of domestic authority. Fathers are more prone to passion in relation to their children than mothers, whose fault is rather over-indulgence.

provoke not—irritate not, by vexatious commands, unreasonable blame, and uncertain temper [Alford]. Col 3:21, “lest they be discouraged.”

nurture—Greek, “discipline,” namely, training by chastening in act where needed (Job 5:17; Heb 12:7).

admonition—training by words (De 6:7; “catechise,” Pr 22:6, Margin), whether of encouragement, or remonstrance, or reproof, according as is required [Trench]. Contrast 1Sa 3:13, Margin.

of the Lord—such as the Lord approves, and by His Spirit dictates.

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