APRIL 16, 2024



And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4 New King James Version). 

Parenting is a serious responsibility God has given to fathers and mothers. Some parents think that parenting is just meeting the demands of their children for good things. They assume that once they meet the material needs of their children, they are good parents. So they, sometimes, even meet the greed of their children! Such children grow up being covetous and lacking satisfaction.

While it is important to provide for the material needs of your children, send them to good schools, feed them, and clothe them, one crucial duty of parents, especially fathers, is bringing them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. It is disastrous to do everything for children but neglect their spiritual upbringing. Parents who do that will regret it later. Some of them who think they love their children may weep later because they did everything except what was necessary to preserve the children they claim to love.

Paul said in Ephesians 6:4, “And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord” (New King James Version). This scripture can be divided into two: “Fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath” and “Bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.” The first says what to avoid and the second what to do.

This scripture shows that fathers must take the lead in child training and not leave this to mothers to do as some absentee fathers do. Ephesians 6:4 also applies to mothers, but the scripture specifically mentions fathers.

Fathers (and mothers) must not provoke their children to anger. As other translations put it, they must “not provoke your children to anger” (New Living Translation; English Standard Version; New Revised Standard Version; New American Bible), “stir up anger in your children” (Christian Standard Bible; International Standard Version), “make your children bitter about life” (GOD’S WORD Translation), “not irritate your children” (Weymouth New Testament), “be hard on your children” (Contemporary English Version), or “over-correct your children” (J.B Phillips New Testament).

However, the second part of Ephesians 6:4 is also very important: “But bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord” (New King James Version). Rather than provoke their children to anger, make them bitter, irritate them, or over-correct them, fathers (and mothers) should bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord. The phrase “bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord” means to “raise them with the training and teaching of the Lord” (New Century Version), “bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (English Standard Version), or “bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord” (New King James Version). The phrase also means to bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord” (New Living Translation), or “bring them up in Christian discipline and instruction” (GOD’S WORD Translation).

Parents, especially fathers, must not only refrain from provoking their children to anger but must also bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord. They must bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord. They must start teaching them the Word of God very early in life.

God expected this of the children of Israel when He gave them the law. Deuteronomy 11:18-21 says, “Therefore you shall lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall teach them to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, that your days and the days of your children may be multiplied in the land of which the Lord swore to your fathers to give them, like the days of the heavens above the earth” (New King James Version). God expects parents today to use every available means and time to teach their children the word of God.

Parents must not be too busy to train their children in the way of the Lord; they must start training them early in their lives, not leave them to the teachers in church or school. Proverbs 22:6 says,Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it” (New King James Version). To “train up” means to teach, give instruction, reprove, and direct. Parents should “train up” their children in the way that they should go – the way God wants them to go, the way the Word of God says they should live – and when they are old, they will not stray, turn, or swerve from it. They will remember what they have been taught and live by it all their lives.

Child correction or discipline is part of training up your children in the way they should go or bringing them up in the training and admonition of the Lord. Proverbs 29:17 says,Correct your son, and he will give you rest; yes, he will give delight to your soul” (New King James Version). The New Living Bible renders the verse thus:  “Discipline your son and he will give you happiness and peace of mind.” In other words, if parents don’t discipline their children, they will not give them rest or give delight to their soul. They will not give them happiness and peace of mind. But parents must not provoke their children even as they train them, including correcting them.

The Bible talks about the use of the rod of correction or rod of discipline in training children, which some Bible scholars interpret as physical punishment, spanking, or flogging, but others disagree and say the rod of correction means firm correction or correcting them with the Word of God. So there are two opposing interpretations. Proverbs 22:15 says, “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; the rod of correction will drive it far from him” (New King James Version). The Good News Translation says, Children just naturally do silly, careless things, but a good spanking will teach them how to behave.” GOD’S WORD Translation says a similar thing:Foolishness is firmly attached to a child’s heart. Spanking will remove it far from him.The Amplified Bible explains the phrase ‘the rod of discipline” as “correction administered with godly wisdom and lovingkindness.”

Also, Proverbs 29:15 says,The rod of correction imparts wisdom, but a child left to himself disgraces his mother” (New International Version). The New Century renders the verse asCorrection and punishment make children wise, but those left alone will disgrace their mother.”  Proverbs 20:30 says, “Physical punishment cleanses away evil; such discipline purifies the heart” (New Living Translation). The New International Version presents it as Blows and wounds scrub away evil, and beatings purge the inmost being.”

Furthermore, Proverbs 13:24 says, He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him promptly” (Proverbs 13:24 New King James Version). As I have said, there are two opposing positions on the meaning of the “rod” in child discipline. The Good New Translation puts Proverbs 13:24 thus:If you don’t punish your children, you don’t love them. If you do love them, you will correct them.”

The writer of Hebrews says no discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful; later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it (Hebrews 12:11). Children may not enjoy discipline and parents may not enjoy administering it, but they both will enjoy the fruit thereafter. Parents should discipline their children while there is hope. Discipline your children while they are young enough to learn. If you don’t, you are helping them destroy themselves” (Proverbs 19:18 Good News Translation).

Parents must teach, instruct, nurture, and guide. They must correct them without abusing or injuring them. Children will not turn out well on their own without parental discipline. They should model what they teach their children. As parents raise their children, they must avoid provoking them, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord. Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged” (Colossians 3:21 New King James Version).


If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.

Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself.  I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and God raised Him on the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.

I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like a palm tree and grow like a cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.

PRAYER POINTS: Holy Spirit, help me to bring up my children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord; let me not provoke and discourage them. My children shall be taught by the Lord and great shall be their peace. They shall not become children of Belial, but children of God.

(For over 900 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit

T. O. Banso is the President of Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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