Do NOT teach this Bible verse to your children

If you do, they won’t let you forget it:

Eph 6:4 Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. NIV

My youngest daughter loves to quote the highlighted part to me (“You’re exasperating me”). 

All kidding aside, that verse has important commandments.  There is a proper way to treat children such that you don’t lead them to anger.  That doesn’t mean never making them unhappy, of course. 

We must discipline and guide our children but not crush their spirits.  And we must live consistently with our professed beliefs.  We’ll all slip at times, but consistently acting one way at church and another at home will lead our kids into cynicism and away from faith.  Do your children see you acting one way at church and another outside it?

And you also must  bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.  How are you doing to do that if you don’t know what the instruction of the Lord is?  How do you learn the instruction of the Lord?  In the Bible, of course.  If you aren’t studying God’s word how can you possibly teach it to your children?

It is our jobs to teach our children about Jesus and his message.  Sunday School classes and youth groups have a role but not the primary one. 

Some other translations of this verse:

Eph 6:4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.  ESV & NASB

Eph 6:4 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. NLT

Eph 6:4 And fathers, don’t stir up anger in your children, but bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. HCSB

7 thoughts on “Do NOT teach this Bible verse to your children

  1. This leads to a very complex subject in the world today, but spreading widely. Abuse. Not hitting and bruising the children, but abusing them emotionally. This is something the victims have problems sharing and describing, because they see the hypocrisy, but they are made to feel so low, they are struggling in their own minds.

    The church doesn’t seem to know how to handle this.

    Women who live in this situation are in deep conflict.
    So are the children.

    It’s rarely addressed.
    Glad you blogged on this.

  2. I’d like to study this verse in the original Greek. The KJV translates it “Fathers provoke not your children to wrath”. Wrath is very different from exasperation and anger.

    This is my issue with most modern translations. In an effort to be modern they sometimes water down the original intent of the original Greek.

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