Ephesians 6:4 says, “And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”
The last time we discussed this, several weeks ago, I explained that bring them up means to nourish them by providing the kind of spiritual nourishment they need day by day. You need to know where they are in their spiritual lives and what they need to best help them to grow.
Two words are given in this passage telling us how to nourish them. We need to do so with the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Let’s look at “nurture” this time and “admonition” in the next post.
Nurture means child training, chastisement and discipline. You will find the same word in Luke 23:16 where the word is used to tell what Pilate did to Jesus. It is also found in Hebrews 12:6 to explain what God the Father does to us His children – He “chastens” us. In 1 Corinthians 11:32 we are told that we are “chastened” by the Lord so we won’t be condemned with the world.
The idea of nurture involves the discipline we apply to the lives of our children. Proverbs 13:24 for example says that “He who spares the rot hates his son.” Proverbs 22:15 tells us that the rod drives out foolishness.So there is a type of physical chastening taught in Scripture that is to be used to discipline and chasten our children in such a way that they learn obedience and respect for authority and ultimately God. This kind of discipline should not be construed to mean abuse nor punishment out of anger. Hebrews 12 tells us that the Lord chastens those He loves. We are to do the same. It’s not a matter of being angry and taking it out on children. It’s a matter of loving our children enough to desire and expect that they learn how to behave themselves in the world in which they live.