The positive exhortation for fathers is to bring up children “in the training and instruction of the Lord.” This phrase could refer specifically to instruction in Christian doctrine. But it’s more likely that this verse teaches fathers that they are participating in the Lord’s work of training and instruction of children. Yes, fathers and mothers are responsible for bringing up their own children. But, more broadly, this is God’s work. Why is this important? First of all, it reframes the ancient notion of absolute paternal authority. Fathers exercise their authority under the supreme authority of God. Moreover, since they are to be submitted to their brothers and sisters in Christ, they can be held accountable to raise their children with love, justice, and grace.