After Paul tells fathers what ‘not to do’, he then moves on to tell fathers what ‘to do’:
“Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”
NIV and HCSB translate ‘training and instruction’.
Other versions translate this as ‘discipline and instruction’.
First century dads were almost always ‘present’. Children were around their fathers all day, most every day, because most families worked the land. They were farmers.
Instruct – to teach; to give knowledge; to provide authoritative information.
There were no public or private schools and there were no children and youth ministries. It was solely the responsibility of the father and the mother.
“Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.”
“You shall teach them (God’s Law) diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit at home and when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise.”
The ‘instruction of the Lord’ was designed to happen in and around the home in the rhythm of everyday life as dad worked and played with his children day after day. It was the gathering around the table for meals when the family ‘sat at home’ that was critical in providing ongoing opportunities for instruction and for dialogue.
“Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table.”
Prayer. Heavenly Father, thank you for your divine design. Give me grace today to embrace my role as a godly father and to appropriately instruct my own children.
In Jesus Name, Amen.