Similar to a sports team, one of the most important aspects in developing our family team is to formulate a training program for the participants. A power packed verse in the New Testament regarding our family training program is Ephesians chapter 6, verse 4. Understanding the key Greek words that underlie this verse adds great depth to its meaning. The English version (NASB) reads like this with the Greek counterpart to the bold words shown in parentheses.
“And, fathers, do not provoke your children to anger; but bring them up (έκτρέφετε) in the discipline (παιδεία) and instruction (νουθεσία) of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4.
- EKTREPHO translated “bring up” means “to nourish or feed“
- PAIDEIA translated “discipline” means “training that regulates character“
- NOUTHESIA translated “instruction” means “putting in the mind“
So an expanded or amplified version of Ephesians 6:4 might read like this, “Fathers, do not provoke, antagonize, or exasperate your children to the point of harming your influence. Instead, nourish them by establishing a training program that puts into their minds the ways and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Our training goal is two-fold. The top line, “do not provoke”, is about establishing a relationship. Generally speaking, your positive influence in the life of your child is directly proportional to your relationship. The bottom line, “instruction”, is about establishing a training program that puts the ways and knowledge of our Lord into the minds of our children. Both lines are important. The top line starts with a sincere interest in getting to know your children. The bottom line starts with examining God’s Word together as a family in a pattern that is regular, planned, everyone involved, and parent-led.
Ephesians 6:4 is a balance of relationship and instruction. Just like the balance of celebration and responsibility, love and control, grace and truth.