Provoke not your children


What does it mean in the scriptures Parents, provoke not your children to wrath ?


Where in the Bible does it say this?

It is impossible to evaluate any Bible verse out of context.


Don’t use the OT as a tool to raise your children. It also says “if you love your son, don’t spare him the rod” or some insanity along that line. May be God’ inerrant word, but it’s stupid advice. If you want to know how to properly smash an infant’s skull against a rock, the OT is the go-to book, though.


Insanity? You have a grave misunderstanding of just what the Bible means.

Yes, God have mercy on your soul if you don’t discipline your son. You hate your son if you don’t punish him when he does something sinful or wrong. You are condoning his sin, and thus leading him down the path of sin.

When you don’t understand something the Bible says, don’t pass it off as nonsense. Everything in it, even the Old Testament, is meaningful; you just have to discover that meaning and apply it properly.

Not everything in the Bible is as it appears, so you should find Church-approved resources to assist you in understanding it.


perhaps it is something more along the lines of not constantly nagging your children with things not pertaining to sin. for example, trying to control every little detail aspect of their lives. i’m no theologian though, just my opinion


I have seen examples in public places of a nasty-tempered parent with a child in which a scenario was enacted that just made me cringe. This is a composite of different recollections. Basically what happens is maybe the child is a little fussy or uncooperative. But not out of control, nothing that couldn’t be solved.

But the parent snarls at them something like “You wanna spanking?” Child responds with frustration and apprehension. Parent gets louder or more as if goading the child “Keep it up, you’re gonna get a spanking. You wanna spanking?” Back and forth they go.

It’s as if the parent hopes the child will really give him an excuse to haul off and “whup” him or her. There’s just something in the tone of voice and the mannerisms - it’s creepy to observe. :frowning:

This might be one example. Constant mean-spirited putdowns at home would be another. Like telling a teenager she will turn out to be a slut, or her brother that he’s a lazy bum who won’t amount to anything, etc.


It can sometimes be difficult to understand the meaning of something when we use an extremely narrow view to explain.

There is nothing insane about that statement unless taken out of context, which people enjoy doing. Having said that, I’d like to see the OP reference as well. Ephesians 6:4? There is something similar in Colossians 3:21 as well.

I would say it means not to purposely mess with your children to get them mad for no reason. We should try to build up our kids, not break them down.


It isn’t an Old Testament quotation.
Ephesians 6:4: "And you, fathers, provoke not your children to anger; but bring them up in the discipline and correction of the Lord. "


That just sounds like the ancients. The Spartans were really rough. I think this scripture says something about obedience to parents too.


Proverbs 16:24 the part about the rod. Such a gentle and loving God. We all wish we had had a father like that. Jesus was nothing like a human being, so God is essentially clueless about the human condition. He’s doing his best, but his best is suggesting that to love a child is to hit him with a rod. Is this a nightmare and God is actually sane and with a heart filled with love?


It might be helpful to compare different versions of the bible to get a truer understanding of this verse.

King James: 24 He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.

Douay Rheims: 24 He that spareth the rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him correcteth him betimes.

NIV: 24 Whoever spares the rod hates their children,
but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.

RSV-Catholic Edition: 24 He who spares the rod hates his son,
but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.

Good News: 24 If you don’t punish your children, you don’t love them. If you do love them, you will correct them.

New Living Translation: 24 Those who spare the rod of discipline hate their children.
Those who love their children care enough to discipline them.

Bear in mind discipline means to teach, not punish.

EDIT: You can compare verses from different translations at


**Colossians 3:18-21
The Christian Family.
18 Wives, be subordinate to your husbands, as is proper in the Lord.
19 Husbands, love your wives, and avoid any bitterness toward them.
20 Children, obey your parents in everything, for this is pleasing to the Lord.
21 Fathers, do not provoke your children, so they may not become discouraged.

closed #13

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit