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Ephesians, Chapter Six, Lesson One

THE SPIRIT FILLED LIFE - Part 6            Page 4
V. 4 (Cont'd.)

** While speaking of parents in the first two verses of our passage for today, Paul now uses a different word, translated here as "fathers". Is he taking his attention away from both parents to focus on one?

Most likely not - the word translated as "fathers" here in verse four is pateres, and usually referred to male parents. However, it was sometimes used to speak of both parents as in Hebrews 11:23 where Moses was said to be "hidden for three months by his parents".

During Paul's day the father was by far and away the dominant figure in the home, he was therefore the most likely candidate for provoking his children to anger. But this by no means would excuse the mother, who would have been obviously capable of doing the same thing.

While wanting to be sure that the head of the family acts in a godly manner, the context of the passage in which Paul is writing would include the mother's responsibility as well.

** Paul is now going to give the parents three commands. The first in a negative form, the last two in the positive. What is the first one issued to parents?

"...do not provoke your children to anger..."

** Which children are we talking about? Have we seen them already today?

Yes - these are the very ones which are to obey and honor these same parents! Here is the closing of any generation gap, in mutual love and subjection.

** What is wrong with provoking our children (or anyone for that matter) to anger?

Anger is sin! cf. Ephesians 4:31, Colossians 3:8

...and we must not cause others to sin!
cf. Matthew 18:3-6

** What does it mean to provoke?

The word suggests a repeated, ongoing pattern of treatment that gradually builds up a deep-seated anger and resentment that boils over in outward hostility.

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