What can we say about the family in the Bible?. From the first book of the Bible, the book of origins, that is to say, Genesis, the concept of the family appears. We find not only traces of family history, but also the foundation of the Bible. At the creation of the world and of humanity, before the sin of Adam and Eve, the Bible indicates two divine institutions: the Sabbath and Marriage.
The marriage began in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2: 18-24). The Bible mentions the first children given by God (Genesis 4: 1-2). This was the beginning of the human family. God did not only build the family (Psalms 127: 1-6), he blessed the family (Psalms 128: 1-6). This is the foundation of the family in the Bible. But that’s not all; the Creator God has established responsibilities within the family in the Bible. This is the subject we want to develop in this teaching.
What are the family responsibilities according to the Bible? In other words, what are the responsibilities within the family in the Bible?
In this teaching, we define the family as a set of individuals consisting of the father, mother, and children. This implies that we will address the point of responsibilities at the level of the father, mother, and children. What are the respective responsibilities of the father, the mother, and the children? What are the roles and tasks of each of them? What is the respective place of father, mother, and children in the family? All of these questions will be dealt with in the light of the Bible.
I – Responsibilities of the Father for the Family in the Bible
1 – The Father: the Head of the family and the wife
In the distribution of family responsibilities, God through the Bible made the father the head of the family. This is the father’s position in the family.
As the head of the family (Ex. 6:14), the father is also the head of the wife. From which it is written, ” Women, be subject to your husbands, as to the Lord; for the husband is the head of the woman, as Christ is the head of the church, which is his body, and of which he is the Savior. But just as the Church is subject to Christ, so must women be in their husbands in all things. ” (Ephesians 5: 22-24).
The fact that the husband is the head of the family should not make him a dictator, a tyrant. On the contrary, his position in the family gives him roles. What are the father’s roles in the family?
2 – The head of the family in the Bible must love his wife.
Since the husband is the head of the family, as Christ is the head of the church, so much does Christ love the Church, the husband must love his wife (Ephesians 5: 22-25). It is in this sense that the Apostle Peter shows us how the husband must manifest his love towards his wife. It is written, ” Husbands, show wisdom in your dealings with your wives, as with weaker sex; honor them, as also to inherit with you the grace of life … ” (1 Peter 3: 7).
If the man is asked to use wisdom in his relations with his wife, it excludes the idea of abuse of his authority. On the contrary, by using wisdom, he will know how to protect it, supervise it, understand it, listen to it, to advise it.
We understand that to love your wife is to take care of her, to be concerned about her well-being, to make her happy. As it is written, ” Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church, and gave himself up for her ” (Ephesians 5:25). The husband must then follow the example of Christ.
3 – The head of the family in the Bible must supervise religious practices
Since the husband is the head of the family, God recommends to the man to supervise the religious practices within the family. This is part of the father’s responsibilities in the family. And, Elkana, Anne’s husband, the father of the prophet Samuel is an example. ” Then her husband Elkanah went up with all his house to offer the Lord the annual sacrifice, and to fulfill his vow. ” 1 Samuel 1: 21.
Nowadays, talking about the responsibilities of the father in the family, as part of his supervision of religious practices within his family, takes into account: prayer meetings, morning vigils, study sessions of the Bible, participation in the worship service. In a word, the husband must watch over the communion of his family with God; he must be an example, a counselor, a religious guide in his family. He must be the one who holds the flame of faith in Christ within his family. In other words, the husband is “the pastor of his family.”
The patriarch Jacob understood and held this paternal responsibility (see Genesis 35: 1-7). The paternal role of supervision is not limited to the spiritual plane, but also extends to the educational level.
4 – The head of the family in the Bible must supervise the education of the children.
As head of the family, the father must ensure the proper education of his children. A good father has to worry tirelessly about the education of his children. In the context of the responsibilities of the father of the family in the Bible, judicious advice is addressed to him by the voice of the Apostle Paul, under the divine inspiration in these terms: ” And you, fathers, do not irritate your children, but lift them up by correcting them and instructing them according to the Lord. ” (Ephesians 6: 4).
It is, therefore, the responsibility of the father to instruct, to educate his child according to biblical principles. He must inculcate the principles, values advocated by the Bible to his child. Thus, he must fulfill his responsibilities with dignity in the education of his children.
But the responsibilities of the father of the family in the Bible are also part of the social context.
5 – The head of the family in the Bible has to take care of the needs of his children.
” … It is not, in fact, the children to amass for their parents, but the parents for their children. ” (2 Corinthians 12:14). As head of the family, it is the duty of the husband, according to the Bible, to prepare a better future for his child. The father must be able to take care of his children, to take care of their needs. Nowadays, this implies that the father must help the child to realize himself tomorrow, to make his way for a bright future.
A good father must know how to fight for the well-being of his children. The well-being, fulfillment, joy, and development of the child must be a major concern of a good father.
II – Responsibilities of the Mother for the Family in the Bible
When we look at the family in the Bible, we find that the responsibilities of the mother in the Bible are clearly defined. These responsibilities are combined with his position in the family.
1 – The mother must be subject to her husband.
If the father is the head of the family and the woman, then it is logical that the woman is subject to her husband. The Bible addressing women tells us this: ” Women, be likewise subject to your husbands so that if some do not obey the word, they will be won over by the conduct of their wives … Thus were they formerly the holy women who hoped in God, submitted to their husbands, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him his lord. It is from them that you have become the girls, doing what is right, without being disturbed by any shouting. ” (1 Peter 3: 1-6.
The submissive woman must-have for an order is in the spirit of the way of God, according to the will of God. This says that the woman must be subject to the man in the sense of the fear of God. From which it is translated: ” But as the church is subject to Christ, so must women be to their husbands in all things. ” (Ephesians 5:24. A good woman is one who knows how to submit to her husband.
But the role of the woman is not only to be subject to her husband but also to help her in her spiritual and educational paternal responsibilities.
2 – The mother of the family in the Bible must be a help for her husband
From the Garden of Eden, it was said that the woman was created to be an aid to her husband. This help is related to all the responsibilities of her husband in their home.
The education of children in the family is, therefore, a paternal and maternal affair. That is, the mother must help her husband to educate the child. The father and the mother must not lose sight of the fact that they must form “one flesh.” This implies that they must agree, unite on the education of the child. (For more, read Proverbs 1: 8, Proverbs 6: 20).
A good mother must also lead and follow the child for a spiritual life in perfect communion with the Lord. Like the father, the mother must ensure the proper functioning of the spiritual life of the child. Here an example is given to us (Anne, Samuel’s mother: 1 Samuel 1: 9-28). The Bible tells us about the virtuous woman (please, see Proverbs 31: 10-31).
We talked about the father and the mother, what about the place of the child in the family in the Bible?
III – the Place of the Child Within the Family in the Bible
In the family, children are considered a blessing of the Lord (Psalm 127: 3-5). Children being the fruit of the love of father and mother; they are also the object of their attention. Speaking of the family in the Bible, note that children have responsibilities within the family in the Bible. We could summarize the responsibilities of the child in two aspects: honoring their parents – obeying their parents.
For children: ” To Honor parents ” is to be a pride for their parents. They must bring joy and peace of heart to their parents. They must not put shame on their parents. They are also the image of their parents.
For children: ” To obey their parents ” is to follow the instruction given to them by their parents according to the way of God, the biblical principles.
“ The best reward and joy that a child can bring to his parents is not only to make their pride in honoring them but also to obey them.” – Thomson Dablemond.
At the end of our teaching on the family in the Bible, it would be nice to note that God has given responsibilities to the father, the mother, and the children respect for the well-being of the family. If the teachings of the family in the Bible were taken into account and considered worthy, each family would have a home of stability, peace, joy, fulfillment, and well-being. Whenever we break the divine provisions relative to the family: the disagreement, the disorder, the lack of love and joy settle in the family. It is therefore in our interest to combine with the principles prescribed to the family in the Bible.