“Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”
Explanation and Commentary of Ephesians 6:4
Children are commanded to submit to and obey their parents because God has given them parents as his own agents to raise them and teach them to follow him. Furthermore, when children are taught to honor their father and mother (Ex 20:12), they will have no trouble honoring their Heavenly Father as adults. But Fathers here are warned not to take advantage of their position to “exasperate” their children.
There are several ways in which exasperation can be achieved, all of which will undermine the authority of the parent, creating unnecessary conflict and power struggles that will end in a breakdown of trust in the relationship, undermining the main goal of parenting, which is producing godly and productive offspring in the world.
The ways parents commonly exasperate their children include: erratic behavior, quick temper, inconsistency with rules and discipline, neglect, various forms of mental, emotional, and physical abuse. God will hold us accountable for the way we have brought up our children, and it will not go well for those who take it lightly.
To “bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord” we should lead by example, and with gentle, consistent instruction on the Word of God. Additionally, kids should be taught to think rationally, and independently, so that when the time comes, they can freely choose the most rational action possible, that of putting their faith in Jesus Christ for salvation.
Breaking Down the Key Parts of Ephesians 6:4
While the verse is specifically addressed to fathers, the wisdom would apply as well to mothers.
#2 “do not exasperate your children;”
To exasperate to irritate someone until they are angry. There would be nothing gained from treating children this way. Rather, it is a cruelty.
What follows is set as an alternative to exasperating, since exasperating and good parenting do not go together in any way.
#4 “bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”
“Bring them up” means to walk with God as he grows them. It means to show our children the way by example and accountability. We are to be attentive to their growth and their relationship with God. Modeling and teaching them to love and fear God are paramount.
Bible Study on Ephesians 6:4
Expert Overview of Ephesians
Biblical Translations of Ephesians 6:4
Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
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.
Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.
Natalie Regoli is a child of God, devoted wife, and mother of two boys. She has a Masters Degree in Law from The University of Texas. Natalie has been published in several national journals and has been practicing law for 18 years.