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Question: "What does the Bible say about family problems?

Answer: Family problems are nothing new. In a fallen world, those we should love
the mostour familiesoften become the ones we fight with the most. The Bible
doesnt gloss over sin, and it records a number of family problems, starting with
Adams blame-shifting, with his wife as the target (Genesis 3:12). Sibling rivalry
crops up in the stories of Cain and Abel, Jacob and Esau, and Joseph and his
brothers. Jealousy among wivesone of the negative consequences of polygamy
is found in the stories of Hannah, and Leah and Rachel. Eli and Samuel dealt
with wayward children. Jonathan was almost murdered by his father, Saul. David
was brokenhearted by his son Absaloms rebellion. Hosea experienced marital
difficulties. In each of these cases, relationships were damaged by sin.
The Bible has a lot to say about relationships, including family dynamics. The first
institution God established for human interaction was a family (Genesis 2:2224).
He created a wife for Adam and joined them in marriage. Citing this event, Jesus
later said, What God has joined together, let no man separate (Matthew 19:6).
Gods plan was for one man and one woman to remain married until one of them
dies. He desires to bless that union with children who are to be raised in the
nurture and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4; see also Psalm 127:3). Most
family problems emerge when we rebel against Gods designpolygamy, adultery,
and divorce all cause problems because they deviate from Gods original plan.
The Bible gives clear instructions about how family members are to treat each
other. Gods plan is that husbands love their wives in the same way that Christ
loves His church (Ephesians 5:25, 33). Wives are to respect their husbands and
submit to their leadership (Ephesians 5:2224, 33; 1 Peter 3:1). Children are to
obey their parents (Ephesians 6:14; Exodus 20:12). How many family problems
would be solved if husbands, wives, and children simply followed those basic
First Timothy 5:8 says that families are to take care of their own. Jesus had harsh
words for those who evaded their financial responsibilities to their aging parents by
claiming they gave all their money to the temple (Matthew 15:56).
The key to harmony in families is not one we naturally want to apply. Ephesians
5:21 says to submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Submission is in

direct opposition to our fleshs desire to rule and have its way. We defend our
rights, champion our causes, defend our opinions, and assert our own agendas
whenever possible. Gods way is to crucify our flesh (Galatians 5:24; Romans
6:11) and submit to the needs and wishes of others whenever we can. Jesus is our
model for that kind of submission to Gods will. First Peter 2:23 says, When they
hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no
threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.
Most family problems could be lessened if we all followed the instructions found
in Philippians 2:34: Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather,
in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but
each of you to the interests of the others. When we adopt the spirit of humility and
treat others as Jesus would treat them, we can resolve many of our family and
relationship problems.
Question: "How does the Bible define a good Christian family?"
Answer: A good Christian family is one that lines up with biblical principles and
one in which each member understands and fulfills his or her God-given role. The
family is not an institution designed by man. It was created by God for the benefit
of man, and man has been given stewardship over it. The basic biblical family unit
is comprised of one man, one womanhis spouseand their offspring or adopted
children. The extended family can include relatives by blood or marriage such as
grandparents, nieces, nephews, cousins, aunts, and uncles. One of the primary
principles of the family unit is that it involves a commitment ordained by God for
the lifetime of the members. The husband and wife are responsible for holding it
together, the current attitude of our culture notwithstanding. Although divorce is
sought and granted much too easily in our society, the Bible tells us that God hates
divorce (Malachi 2:16).
Of course, the first requirement for the members of a Christian family is that they
all be Christians, having a true relationship with Jesus Christ as their Lord and
Savior. Ephesians 5:2226 provides the guidelines for husbands and wives in a
Christian family. The husband is required to love his wife as Christ loved the
church, and a wife should respect her husband and willingly submit to his
leadership in the family. The husbands leadership role should start with his own

spiritual relationship with God and then flow to instructing his wife and children in
scriptural values, leading the family into biblical truth. Fathers are instructed to
bring up their children in the training and instruction of the Lord (Ephesians
6:4). A father is also to provide for his family. If he does not, he denies the faith
and is worse than an unbeliever (1 Timothy 5:8). So, a man who makes no effort
to provide for his family cannot rightly call himself a Christian. This does not
mean that the wife cannot assist in supporting the familyProverbs
31 demonstrates that a godly wife may surely do sobut providing for the family
is not primarily her responsibility; it is her husbands.
Woman was given to man for the purpose of being her husbands helper (Genesis
2:1820) and to bear children. The husband and wife in a Christian marriage are to
remain faithful to one another for a lifetime. God declares equality of worth in that
men and women are created in Gods image and are therefore equally valuable in
His eyes. This does not mean, however, that men and women have identical roles
in life. Women are more adept at nurturing and caring for the young, while men are
better equipped to provide for and protect the family. Thus, they are equal in status,
but each has a different role to play in a Christian marriage.
A Christian marriage, foundational to a Christian family, follows the biblical
instructions concerning sex. The Bible counters the cultural view that divorce,
living together without being married, and same-sex marriage are acceptable in
Gods eyes. Sexuality expressed according to biblical standards is a beautiful
expression of love and commitment. Outside of marriage, it is sin.
Children are given two primary responsibilities in the Christian family: to obey
their parents and to honor them (Ephesians 6:13). Obeying parents is the duty of
children until they reach adulthood, but honoring parents is their responsibility for
a lifetime. God promises His blessings on those who honor their parents.
Ideally, a Christian family will have all members committed to Christ and His
service. When a husband, wife, and children all fulfill their God-appointed roles,
then peace and harmony reign in the home. But, if we try to have a Christian
family without Christ as Head or without adhering to the biblical principles the
Lord has lovingly provided for us, the home will suffer.


Question: "What are the roles of the husband and wife in a family?"
Answer: Although males and females are equal in relationship to Christ, the
Scriptures give specific roles to each in marriage. The husband is to assume
leadership in the home (1 Corinthians 11:3; Ephesians 5:23). This leadership
should not be dictatorial, condescending, or patronizing to the wife, but should be
in accordance with the example of Christ leading the church. Husbands, love your
wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her
holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word (Ephesians 5:2526). Christ loved the church (His people) with compassion, mercy, forgiveness,
respect, and selflessness. In this same way husbands are to love their wives.
Wives are to submit to the authority of their husbands. Wives, submit to your
husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the
head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits
to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything (Ephesians
5:22-24). Although women should submit to their husbands, the Bible also tells
men several times how they are supposed to treat their wives. The husband is not to
take on the role of the dictator, but should show respect for his wife and her
opinions. In fact, Ephesians 5:28-29 exhorts men to love their wives in the same
way that they love their own bodies, feeding and caring for them. A mans love for
his wife should be the same as Christs love for His body, the church.
Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your
wives and do not be harsh with them (Colossians 3:18-19). Husbands, in the
same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect
as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that
nothing will hinder your prayers (1 Peter 3:7). From these verses we see that love
and respect characterize the roles of both husbands and wives. If these are present,
then authority, headship, love, and submission will be no problem for either
In regard to the division of responsibilities in the home, the Bible instructs
husbands to provide for their families. This means he works and makes enough

money to sufficiently provide all the necessities of life for his wife and children. To
fail to do so has definite spiritual consequences. If anyone does not provide for his
relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is
worse than an unbeliever (1 Timothy 5:8). So, a man who makes no effort to
provide for his family cannot rightly call himself a Christian. This does not mean
that the wife cannot assist in supporting the familyProverbs 31 demonstrates that
a godly wife may surely do sobut providing for the family is not primarily her
responsibility; it is her husbands. While a husband should help with the children
and with household chores (thereby fulfilling his duty to love his wife), Proverbs
31 also makes it clear that the home is to be the womans primary area of influence
and responsibility. Even if she must stay up late and rise up early, her family is well
cared for. This is not an easy lifestyle for many womenespecially in affluent
Western nations. However, far too many women are stressed out and stretched to
the breaking point. To prevent such stress, both husband and wife should
prayerfully reorder their priorities and follow the Bibles instructions on their
Conflicts regarding the division of labor in a marriage are bound to occur, but if
both partners are submitted to Christ, these conflicts will be minimal. If a couple
finds arguments over this issue are frequent and vehement, or if arguments seem to
characterize the marriage, the problem is a spiritual one. In such an instance, the
partners should recommit themselves to prayer and submission to Christ first, then
to one another in an attitude of love and respect.