God created the family to be place of teaching and learning about God and godliness. This article explains how this is achieved in the home.

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The Family

The Christian household is a Spiritual unit

Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Ephesians 5:21

The family (i.e., the household, consisting of parents and children, with or without relatives, friends, and servants in addition) is the oldest and most basic of human institutions. The Bible stresses its importance as a spiritual unit and a training ground for mature adult character.

The family has a built-in authority structure whereby the husband is leader to the wife and the parents are leaders to the children. All leadership is a form of ministry rather than of tyranny, and these domestic leadership roles must be fulfilled in love (Eph. 5:22-6:4; Col. 3:18-21; 1 Pet. 3:1-7). The fourth commandment requires the head of the house to lead his whole family in Sabbath-keeping; the fifth requires children to respect and submit to their parents (Exod. 20:8-12; Eph. 6:1-3). Jesus himself set an example in this (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 he died 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 must be encouraged to take the instruction seriously as a basis for their living (Prov. 1:8; 6:20). Discipline, which means directive and corrective training, is necessary 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 occasion (Exod. 12:3). Joshua was setting an example when he said, “As for me and my household, 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 family well (1 Tim. 3:4-5, 12; Titus 1:6).

The building of strong family life must always be a priority in our service of God.

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