Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Ephesians 3:4
Today’s scripture is part of the ancient “household codes” in Paul’s letter to the church at Ephesus. It is helpful to go to the Greek to understand it.
First, the word “provoke.” The Greek word is παροργίζετε (parorgizete’), coming from the root παροργίζω (parorgizo), which means rousing someone in anger by getting up close and personal or pushing their buttons. We have idioms in our culture, such as “cut to the quick,” which means to inflict an emotional wound.
Next, we turn to the words “bring them up.” The Greek word is ἐκτρέφετε (ektrephete’), coming from the root ἐκτρέφω (ektrepho), which means nurture. This type of verb implies intimate nurturing and nourishing another into maturity, also up close and personal.
Both words take us into intimate space, one for harm and the other for leading young ones into God’s ways. So if God’s ways are of love, then it is love that a father must model.
Last Sunday, I spoke about being faithfully present. Two days before Father’s Day, Dad’s remember your call to be faithfully present in your kids’ lives, no matter how old they are!