Building Strong Family Life

“Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands, as to the Lord”. . . Eph 5:22 “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for it”. . .Eph 5:25 “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.” Eph 6:1

“The Family is the oldest and most basic of human institutions. In both the Israelite culture of the Old Testament and the Hellenistic culture of the New Testament, the household might consist of parents and children, relatives from several generations, servants, and even friends, depending on the economic resources of the head of the family. The Bible stresses its importance as a spiritual unit and a training ground for mature adult character.

The Bible pictures a clear authority structure within the family, whereby the husband is to lead the wife and the parents are to lead the children. But just as all leadership should be a form of ministry rather than tyranny, so these domestic leadership roles must be fulfilled in love (Eph. 5:22-6:4;Col. 3:18-21; 1 Peter 3:1-7). The Fourth commandment requires the head of the household to lead his whole family in Sabbath observance; the Fifth requires children to respect and submit to their parents (Ex. 20:8-12, Eph.6:1-3). Jesus Himself set an example in this as a child (Luke 2:51). Later, He fiercely opposed supposed gestures of piety that were really evasions of responsibility toward parents (Mark 7:6-13), and His own last act before death was to provide for His mother’s future (John 19:25-27).

The family is to be a community of teaching and learning about God and godliness. Children must be instructed (Gen. 18:18, 19; Deut. 4:9; 6:6-8;11:18-21; Prov. 22:6; Eph. 6-4) and encouraged to use that instruction as a basis for their lives (Prov. 1:8; 6:20). Discipline should be used as a means of corrective training to lead children beyond childish folly to self-controlled wisdom (Prov. 13:24; 19:18; 22:15; 23:13, 14; 29:15, 17). Just as there is purposeful, loving discipline in God’s family (Prov. 3:11,12; Heb. 12:5-11), so there must be in the human family.

The family is meant to function as a spiritual unit. The Old Testament Passover was a family observance (Ex. 12:3). Joshua set an example when he said, “as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Josh. 24:15). Households became the units of Christian commitment in New Testament times (Acts 11:14; 16:15, 31:33; 1 Cor. 1:16). The fitness of candidates for church office was assessed by observing whether they had led their own family well (1 Tim. 3:4, 5, 12; Titus 1:6).

Building strong family life is always a priority in serving God.”

_______
*Excerpt from ReformedWomen Book-Bible Study, “Christian Living in the Home: — “A Christ Centered Home” Additional Study Materials, “The Christian Family” from New Geneva Study Bible Notes on Ephesians 6:1-4, October 2, 2001

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