Intermediate Edition

I.  Family Relationships


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Chapter 34  Part I

Family Relationships

The Bible contains discerning insights and directions regarding relationships with those closest to us. As such these teachings are among the ones which are the most often applicable to our lives.

Prologue: Issues Regarding Getting Married

Unmarried people can be fully devoted to the Lord

[Paul, to believers:] I would like you to be free from worry. An unmarried man concerns himself with the Lord’s work, because he is trying to please the Lord. 33But a married man concerns himself with worldly matters, because he wants to please his wife; 34and so he is pulled in two directions. An unmarried woman or a virgin concerns herself with the Lord’s work, because she wants to be dedicated both in body and spirit; but a married woman concerns herself with worldly matters, because she wants to please her husband. 35I am saying this because I want to help you. I am not trying to put restrictions on you. Instead, I want you to do what is right and proper, and to give yourselves completely to the Lord’s service without any reservation.   1 Corinthians 7:32-35 GNT

Do not marry outside of God’s people

[Paul, to believers:] Do not become partners with those who do not believe, for what partnership is there between righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship does light have with darkness? 15And what agreement does Christ have with Beliar? Or what does a believer share in common with an unbeliever?   2 Corinthians 6:14-15 NET

A person should have only one spouse

 A spiritual leader must have a good reputation. He must have only one wife and have children who are believers.   Titus 1:6a GW

Remarriage and adultery

[Jesus:] And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.   Matthew 19:9 ESV


A husband and wife should be as one

The Lord God used the rib from the man to make a woman, and then he brought the woman to the man. 23And the man said, “Now, this is someone whose bones came from my bones, whose body came from my body. I will call her ‘woman,’ because she was taken out of man.” 24So a man will leave his father and mother and be united with his wife, and the two will become one body.   Genesis 2:22-24 NCV™

Just as originally the man and the woman were of the one body (vv. 22-23), so a husband and wife will be united as “one body” (v. 24). The term “one body” appears to encompass a oneness in spirit, and is signified and expressed through sexual bonding.

Husbands should love their wives

Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her …   Ephesians 5:25 NET

This calls for a love that is ever persistent and is all surpassing, even to the point of sacrificing one’s life.

Wives should submit to their husbands

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.   Ephesians 5:22-24 ESV

Such submission should be voluntary and willing. The corresponding authority of the husband is not about control and should only be practiced in a Christ-like manner and in love, which should characterize all he does in relating to his wife.

Do not commit adultery

You shall not commit adultery.   Exodus 20:14 NET

Avoid divorce

So they [husband and wife] are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.   Matthew 19:6 NET

Parents’ Duties to Children

Parents should love their children

[Paul, speaking of women in the church:] In this way they [older women] will train the younger women to love their husbands, to love their children, …   Titus 2:4 NET

Parents should care for their children

[Paul, to the Thessalonian believers:] But we were gentle when we were with you, like a mother taking care of her children.   1 Thessalonians 2:7 GNT

[Moses, speaking to the Israelites of God’s care:] You saw how he brought you safely all the way to this place, just as a father would carry his son.   Deuteronomy 1:31b GNT

Parents should discipline their children

Discipline your children while they are young enough to learn. If you don’t, you are helping them to destroy themselves.   Proverbs 19:18 GNT

Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them.   Hebrews 12:9a ESV

Parents should teach their children about God and his deeds, inspiring them to trust and obey God

We will tell the next generation about the Lord’s praiseworthy acts, about his strength and the amazing things he has done. 5He established a rule in Jacob; he set up a law in Israel. He commanded our ancestors to make his deeds known to their descendants, 6so that the next generation, children yet to be born, might know about them. They will grow up and tell their descendants about them. 7Then they will place their confidence in God. They will not forget the works of God, and they will obey his commands.   Psalms 78:4b-7 NET

This speaks of parents telling their children of God’s deeds and power (v. 4) and subsequently of his commands (vv. 5-6). Verse 7 then concludes that in light of God’s wonderful deeds for them, the children would trust God and obey his commands.

Children’s Duties to Parents

Children are to honor their parents

“Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment accompanied by a promise, namely, 3“that it may go well with you and that you will live a long time on the earth.”   Ephesians 6:2-3 NET

Children are to obey their parents

Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.   Colossians 3:20 ESV

Children should heed their parents’ teaching

[A wise father, to his son:] My son, keep your father’s commands, and don’t forget your mother’s teaching. 21Keep their words in mind forever as though you had them tied around your neck. 22They will guide you when you walk. They will guard you when you sleep. They will speak to you when you are awake. 23These commands are like a lamp; this teaching is like a light. And the correction that comes from them will help you have life.   Proverbs 6:20-23 NCV™

“They will guard you when you sleep” (v. 22) speaks of the security or protection that living by such teaching provides.

Children are to help their parents

But if a widow has children or grandchildren, they should first learn to fulfill their duty toward their own household and so repay their parents what is owed them. For this is what pleases God.   1 Timothy 5:4 NET

Pray for persecuted Christians