The Bible Speaks on Family

By Staff
Jan 24, 2006

Family life today is under siege. Families are beset by divorce, a crisis in roles, absenteeism of parents, a breakdown of authority, preoccupation with things, inadequate time together, financial pressures, and a host of other problems. The Bible teaches that the institution of family is of divine origin and purpose. The Bible also provides guidelines for good relations within the family. A commitment to the Bible’s teachings and principles provides today’s best hope for the recovery of family life.

  1. The Family Is Divine in Origin.
    1. God created human beings in His own image.

      “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness’… So God created man in His own image; He created him in the image of God; He created them male and female” (Genesis 1:26-27).

      “Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being” (Genesis 2:7).

    2. God created people so as to need and find fulfillment in human companionship.

      “The Lord God said, ‘It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him’” (Genesis 2:18).

    3. God initiated the first family unit.

      So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to come over the man, and he slept. God took one of his ribs and closed the flesh at that place. Then the LORD God made the rib He had taken from the man into a woman and brought her to the man” (Genesis 2:21-22).

  2. The Family Is Divine in Purpose.

    God created the family, and He has divine purposes for it. Following His purposes for marriage and family life gives us the best opportunities for family fulfillment.

    1. Companionship is a basic purpose of God for marriage and family life. Sex is a God-ordained means of overcoming the essential loneliness of human existence.

      “Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is like him’” (Genesis 2:18).

      “This is why a man leaves his father and mother and bonds with his wife, and they become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24).

      “‘Haven’t you read,’ He [Jesus] replied, ‘that He who created them in the beginning made them male and female, and He also said: For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, man must not separate’” (Matthew 19:4-6).

    2. Procreation is another basic purpose of God for families.

      “God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth…” (Genesis 1:28).

      “Sons are indeed a heritage from the Lord, children, a reward… Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the sons… Happy is the man who has filled his quiver with them” (Psalm 127:3-5).

    3. Nurture is still another basic purpose of God for families.

      “Now if anyone does not provide for his own relatives, and especially for his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Timothy 5:8).

      “He also said to them, ‘You completely invalidate God’s command in order to maintain your tradition! For Moses said: Honor your father and your mother; and, Whoever speaks evil of father or mother must be put to death. But you say, “If a man tells his father or mother: Whatever benefit you might have received from me is Corban”’ (that is, a gift [committed to the temple]), ‘you no longer let him do anything for his father or mother. You revoke God’s word by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many other similar things’” (Mark 7:9-13).

  3. The Bible Contains Divine Principles for Good Family Relationships.

    God’s purposes for the family have been challenged, but they have not been changed. In the Bible, God gives the principles and the power by which His purposes for the family can be fulfilled.

    Husband-wife relationships:

    1. The Bible calls for the marriage relationship to be characterized by mutual and voluntary submission in mutual respect and trust. “…submitting to one another in the fear of Christ” (Ephesians 5:21).
    2. The Bible calls for mutual fulfillment in sexual union in the marriage relationship.

      “A husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise a wife to her husband. A wife does not have authority over her own body, but her husband does. Equally, a husband does not have authority over his own body, but his wife does” (1 Corinthians 7:3-4).

    3. The Bible calls for mutual fidelity in a monogamous relationship.

      “Marriage must be respected by all, and the marriage bed kept undefiled, because God will judge immoral people and adulterers” (Hebrews 13:4).

      “Do not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14).

    4. The relationship of the wife to the husband.
      1. She is to love him.

        “…older women are to… encourage the young women to love their husbands… so that God’s message will not be slandered” (Titus 2:3- 5).

      2. She is to be responsive to his leadership.

        “Wives, submit to your own husbands as to the Lord, for the husband is head of the wife as also Christ is head of the church. He is the Savior of the body. Now as the church submits to Christ, so wives should [submit] to their husbands in everything” (Ephesians 5:22-24).

        “Wives, in the same way, submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, even if some disobey the [Christian] message, they may be won over without a message by the way their wives live, when they observe your pure, reverent lives” (1 Peter 3:1-2).

        God commands that wives—whether married to a believer or non-believer—should seek to honor their husband’s leadership. The passage suggests that wives’ exemplary lives can cause their unbelieving husbands to come to know Christ personally. A Spirit-filled life can be convicting and also provides a platform to share the Gospel. The passage, however, does not suggest that the wife should obey her husband when such actions would nullify or compromise her Christian witness.

      3. She is to respect him.

        “…the wife is to respect her husband” (Ephesians 5:33).

    5. The relationship of the husband to the wife.
      1. He is to love her.

        “Husbands, love your wives, just as also Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her… In the same way, husbands should love their wives as their own bodies… each one of you is to love his wife as himself…” (Ephesians 5:25, 28, 33).

      2. He is to be committed to her.

        “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh” (Ephesians 5:31).

      3. He is to be considerate of her.

        “Husbands, in the same way, live with your wives with understanding of their weaker nature yet showing them honor as co-heirs of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered” (1 Peter 3:7).

    The relation of parents to their children:

    1. Parents are responsible for teaching their children.

      “These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up” (Deuteronomy 6:6-7).

    2. Parents must train children.

      “Teach a youth about the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6).

    3. Children need loving discipline.

      “And fathers, don’t stir up anger in your children, but bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).

    4. Children need a worthy example.

      “…clearly recalling your sincere faith that first lived in your grandmother Lois, then in your mother Eunice, and that I am convinced is in you also” (2 Timothy 1:5).

      “Uzziah… did what was right in the Lord’s sight as his father Amaziah had done” (2 Chronicles 26:3-4).

    The relation of children to their parents:

    1. Children are to honor their parents.

      “Honor your father and your mother so that you may have a long life in the land that the Lord your God is giving you” (Exodus 20:12).

    2. Children are to obey their parents.

      “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, because this is right” (Ephesians 6:1).

      “Children, obey your parents in everything, for this is pleasing in the Lord” (Colossians 3:20).

    3. Children are to learn from their parents.

      “Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction, and don’t reject your mother’s teaching” (Proverbs 1:8).

    4. Children are to provide for their needy parents.

      “But if any widow has children or grandchildren, they should learn to practice their religion toward their own family first and to repay their parents, for this pleases God” (1 Timothy 5:4).


The Bible contains God’s plan for achieving quality and health in family life. Christians are constrained to take very seriously the Word of God as it relates to the family.

All Scripture is from the Holman Christian Standard Bible unless otherwise indicated.

Further Learning

Learn more about: Family, Marriage, Parenting,

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