Part 1: Family in the Bible
Family is God’s idea. It is not man-made. It is the first institution created by God, and it was created before sin (Gen 3).
1. Family in the Old Testament:
God created mankind as male and female (Gen 1:27).
God created marriage as one man and one woman living together in a covenant commitment lasting a lifetime (see Gen 2:24).
God blessed the family with children (see Gen 1:28 and the command to be fruitful and multiply). In this way we mirror the creativity of God (see Gen 5:1-3).
Sin damaged God’s ideal for marriage and family. Mankind was cursed (see Gen 3:16-19). Brothers fought against each other (see Gen 4:9). Men took more than one wife (see Gen 16:1-3). Sexual perversion increased (see the homosexual lust in Sodom in Gen 19:4-5; the incest of Lot and his daughters in Gen 19:31-32; the adultery of David in 2 Sam 11:2-5).
Still God preserved the original goodness of marriage and family as a place where people can grow in godliness and in knowledge of the Lord (see Deut 6:4-9; Ecc 4:9-12).
At close of OT we have a vision for the restoration of family in Malachi 4:5-6.
2. Family in the New Testament:
Jesus was born into a family with a mother, (step) father, and (later) brothers and sisters (see Mark 6:3).
Jesus also said that he must have first place. Our commitment to him is above our commitment to family (see Matt 10:34-39; Mark 3:31-35).
But Jesus affirmed marriage (see Matthew 19:1-6).
Note in the early church that whole households came to faith in Christ (see Acts 16:15, 32-33).
See also the "household codes" of the NT (Ephesians 5:22-6:9; Col 3:18-4:1).
Note, however, that marriage is not for everyone (see 1 Cor 7:1-2, 7). Some have the gift of celibacy; others never find one to whom it is proper to be yoked. Better to be single and wish to be married than married and wish to be single. Jesus was single and singleness will be our eternal state.
3. Family and Discipleship.
Family is a workshop or laboratory of discipleship. It is where we learn about servant leadership, sacrifice, self-denial, and loving enemies.
Family is there to protect us from sin. It provides an environment for the next generation of believers to be raised up. Satan hates the family and will try to corrupt it. See C. J. Mahaney’s sermon "Cravings and Conflicts" on James 4:1-6 at SBTS chapel (10/26/06).