THE BIBLE TEACHING ON FAMILY LIFE.
1. Nuclear family. The Bible recognises a family independent of close relatives. Gen 2:24 permits every man to leave his parents to get United with his wife in a separate household.
2. Child bearing. Bearing children is very important and it’s very woman’s desire. Barrenness is considered a curse and unfortunately is blamed on women, eg Hannah 1 Sam 1:8.
3. Respect of parents. Respecting parents is viewed as important, forming a basic part of the ten commandments. Exod 20:12
4. Family as learning center. The old testament looks at a family as a place where all family members have to learn and internalize God’s laws and scriptures.
5. Centre for rituals. A family is a place where members come close to God through participating in religious festivities. Deut 16. The family had to prepare for feast of tabernacles, atonement, etc.
6. Righteous family. A family that respects and lives righteous is believed to easily win God’s favour and blessings. Proverbs 3:33
7. Exemplary family head. The head of the family has a responsibility of showing a good example to the rest of the members, to emulate him. Proverbs 15:27.
8. Child education. The family is recognized as the centre of children’s education where they get social and moral inculcation. Parents and elders are the teachers. Proverbs 15:27
9. Incest is condemned. Sexual intercourse between family members is condemned in Lev 18.
10. Child discipline. The family is given basic guidelines on how to discipline the child into a better member of society. Proverbs 13:24 says “spare the rod and spoil the child”
11. Hard work. King Solomon in his proverbs shows that hard work keeps a harmonious relationship among family members. Proverbs 19:7 shows that a poor can’t be loved fully.
12. Saving a family. Noah is seen saving his family members by putting them into the ark to survive. Gen 7:13. A responsible family head shouldn’t allow his family to perish.
13. Fighting to protect family members. When the men at Shechem raped Dinah, her brothers Simeon and Levi avenged by killing them. Gen 34:25ff. Family members should be on the side of fellow members.
14. Permanency. The family has to be a permanent covenant between the members that lasts forever. The elements that ensure that permanence are harmony, love sharing etc.
The purpose of the family
1) To Reflect the Image of God (“…in Our image”).
After God created the universe, the earth, plant life, and all animal life, He then created a new creation, one different from all the rest in one very important point. He created human beings. Humans have fleshly bodies like animals, made from the dust of the earth (Genesis 2:19), but God Himself breathed the “breath of life” into man’s nostrils and he became a “living soul” (Genesis 2:7). By this act, God imparted to humans a little piece of Himself, thereby lifting man from the condition of being a mere, transient animal into the state of being a permanent, part-physical, part-spiritual creation.
(2) To Conduct Government For God (“…rule, have dominion, subdue”).
Now the purpose of being made in God’s image is so that we can operate on earth in God’s stead. The second purpose of the family is to conduct government for God. It is God’s intention for humans to have dominion over all of the rest of His earthly creation in order to bring everything into harmony with Him and His will. This concept is repeated throughout the Bible—in Genesis, in Psalm 8:6 and Hebrews 2:7-8 (“You made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet”), and elsewhere.
(3) To Produce and Raise A Godly Heritage (“…multiply and fill the earth”).
One of the most important purposes of the family is to raise a godly heritage—to fill the earth with God-fearing, morally-mature, emotionally-sound, Spirit-filled, righteousness-working, God-worshiping young people who, in turn, will do the same after they become parents.God’s desire is that parents would concentrate on building character and a godly spirit into their children. His desire is that His people would extend a godly heritage throughout the present world and down through the coming generations.
Notice the following scripture passages regarding children:
“In thee shall all families of the earth be blessed…”(Genesis 12:3).
“Didn’t the Lord make you one with your wife? In body and spirit you are his. And what does He want? Godly children from your union. So guard yourself; remain loyal to the wife of your youth.” (Malachi 2:15 New Living Translation).
(4) To Nurture God’s People (“And God blessed them…”).
The fourth critical purpose for the family is to serve as the nurturer of people. God designed human beings to live and thrive on love. Love is the power that energizes heaven and earth. Love is the greatest and most powerful motivator on earth. But it is not the mostprevalent motivator. Because of sin and selfishness, fear—insecurity, pride, self-seeking, hatred, lack of self-esteem, and dozens of other forms of fear—is the most prevalent human motivator. But love shouldbe. God made us dependent on and addicted to wholesome, positive, and loving relationships and interconnectedness. Our emotional, mental, social, physical, and spiritual health depends largely on the health of our relationships.
1. Mark 10:9, Jesus emphasises that that the family unit should be a permanent one. He says “what God has put together, let no man separate”, this condemning divorce.
2. Jesus stresses the importance of love in the family. He equates God’s love for His people to the kind of love that should exist among family members. Matt 7:9-11
3. Paul in Colossians 3:18 clearly explains family leadership and administration, saying the husband the head of the family and other members submit to him.
4. Paul gives parents the duty to bring up children in the Christian discipline. Ephesians 6:4 Children’s morals reflect the morals held by their families.
5. Paul appeals to children to always respect and obey their parents. In doing this, they would joyfully live longer.
6. Peter in 1 Peter 3:7 shows that wives and all other women should be treated with care by their husbands in the family.
7. Family should be guided to be God fearing. Cornelius a Roman soldier helped his family to do what God wants eg giving to the poor, praying regularly etc. Acts 10:
8. Matt 19:29 shows that those forsaking the companionship of one’s family for the sake of the Gospel will be rewarded richly by Jesus.
9. Jesus also shows in Mark 3:35 that his true brothers and sisters are those that that work hard going God’s will.
10. Paul appeals for a respectable relationship among the Christian family members in 1 Tim 5:1,2. The aged need respect for their age while the young need to be appreciated for what they go through.
11. Jesus teaches the need for family members to respect every member’s vocation or career in Mark 3:31-35. He says he never allowed his earthly parents to disrupt his ministry in the temple.
12. In 1 Tim 3:4.5 Paul makes it necessary for religious leaders to raise up exemplary families that would be emulated by others. They should themselves be good examples to their children.
13. Paul calls for the help and care of the family beyond the nuclear family. He says in 1Tim 5:4,8 that it’s a good religious practice to support old parents and other relatives.
14. Jesus teaches about forgiveness of family members who have strayed. In the parable of the prodigal son, the father re-admits his son after repentance