Are you provoked enough to attend church?
And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (Heb. 10:24, 25 NRSV)I have always understood the word "provoke" only to refer to causing someone to have negative feelings, such as anger or resentment. But there was the word in the Bible reading in a context where the provocation was to do something good. When we got back home I checked my English dictionary and, to my surprise, discovered that there are meaning senses of the word "provoke" which do not necessarily refer to a negative result. The example given in my dictionary was of provoking laughter. I don't know how many people can use the word "provoke" in a neutral or even positive context, but, apparently, some do.
For my own ideolect and, I suspect, the ideolects of many other English speakers, the word "provoke" is used only in negative contexts. Because of that I prefer alternates words in Heb. 10:24, 25 including "stir up" (RSV, ESV), "spur on" (NIV, NET), "encourage" or "encouraging" (CEV, NLT, ISV), and "stimulate" (NASB).
To me, the lesson here is that a Bible version should use vocabulary that is accurately understood by the largest percentage of people of its target audience. Dictionaries are sometimes cited by English Bible translators as indicators of how people understand words, but dictionaries seldom tell us what percentage of people understand which meaning senses for each word. I do not believe in "dumbing down" Bibles nor writing to the lowest common denominator, but I do believe that the words used in a Bible translation should be ones that evoke the desired meaning as the primary meaning that the most number of people have for those words.