John Eadie is one of my favorite commentators and this morning I came across once again his superb commentary on the verb προοργίζω in Ephesians 6:4. Paul exhorts fathers not “to provoke” their children to anger. Eadie’s comments are those of both a good Greek scholar as well as a wise pastor. He writes,
The verb προοργίζω signifies to irritate—to throw into a passion….In Col 3:21 the apostle uses ἐρεθίζετε—“Do not rouse or provoke.” The paternal reign is not to be one of terror and stern authority, but of love. The rod may be employed, but in reason and moderation, and never from momentary impulse and anger. Children are not to be moved to “wrath” by harsh and unreasonable treatment, or by undue partiality and favourtism. If they be uniformly confronted with paternal frown and menace, then their spirit is broken, and the most powerful motive to obedience—the desire to please—is taken from them.