Family Foundations: What is a Biblical Model of Family (Part 1 of 3)

couple reading bible

By Bryn S. Elliott

Family lays the foundation of a society and impacts every single part of human life. If we want to know the direction the world is going, all we have to do is look at the direction the family is going. Marriage is at the core of family and therefore, it can also be said that marriage is the bedrock of society.

How we view family has changed drastically over the last few centuries. We used to agree that a family was made up of a man and woman who got married and included any of their children (if they had any). Modern definitions of family are vague and murky. No one knows nor agrees on what a family fundamentally is.

Family in the Bible

Family is one of the key topics of the Bible. In fact, some say as much as 26% percent of the Bible focuses on family, and the theme of family is found throughout all 66 books of the Bible. If the Bible pays so much attention to it, we should as well. 

Even though the Bible is not given the authority or reverence it is due by many, for believers who value God’s Word and His Truth, the Bible is where we should go to understand God’s heart for the family unit. God created family and its intended design and purpose which is described throughout the Bible. 

Following a biblical family structure positively impacts every sphere of society. It gives hope and stability, protects against perversion and sin, and ultimately provides a safe space for deep, godly relationships to thrive. On the other hand, worldly family constructs destroy people, and as a result, society. (If you are curious about the truth of this statement, just google how many people in prison for criminal activities were raised in single-parent homes. Then, google the percentage of men and women who receive sex-change surgeries and later commit suicide.) 

There is a lot to be discovered about God’s design for family. Godly families begin with godly marriage so, to understand God’s design for family, it is important to be aware of God’s design for marriage. Marriage is not something that humans created. It is a God ordained institution, created even before the Fall of Man. It is the means God provided to be able to create families. God created marriage to be monogamous and heterosexual, between one man and one woman joined together in a lifelong covenant before the Lord. 

A biblical family reflects God’s image. We see this in Genesis 1:1-3 and 1:26-27. Then God gives a purpose and mandate for humanity in Genesis 1:28. In this verse, He tells them to:

  • Be fruitful;
  • Multiply;
  • Fill the earth;
  • Subdue it;
  • And have dominion over it. 

With this in mind, God created marriage to partner with Him in His redemptive plan for the world, to fulfill much of the creation mandate and to destroy the works of the devil. This means that a biblical marriage is not sustained simply by love or feelings. Rather, there is a greater purpose when it is centered around God. 

A Biblical Marriage

God provides a special protection for those who make a marriage covenant before Him. Men and women become more like God when one man and one woman become one in marriage. In The Book That Made Your World, Vishal Mangalwadi says,

“If a marriage is biblical, then selfishness is replaced by self-giving love- for God is love. Husband and wife become more like God when they have a baby and become a three-in-one- a family, being parents helps them understand the father-heart and mother-heart of God- the real meaning of love, sacrifice and submission.” (The Book That Made Your World, 295-296)

No relationship will be perfect in a broken world filled with broken people. This does not surprise God. Men and women were created equally, but God placed the responsibility of leadership within a marriage onto the man. No community of sinners can operate effectively without authority. This doesn’t mean that women are less valuable than men, or that men are wiser or the best at this job. Rather, it gives us a structure from the Lord that allows relationships to operate in a fallen world. 

If marriage and family is a small reflection of God’s love and faithfulness to us in relationship, then we can know that divorce is not a part of God’s original intention for family. Moses tells us that divorce is allowed only on the grounds of sexual immorality, but Jesus also tells us that this provision was given because of the hardness of the peoples hearts, not because divorce is okay. Divorce is one of the few things in the Bible that God specifically says He hates (Malachi 2:15). 

God designed the family. As the designer, He knows the best way for it to be structured to walk in the fullness of the intended purpose. Because we didn’t create it, we don’t have the authority to change it into whatever we want it to look like. If there was ever a time in history to return to God’s Word and do what He says in regards to family, this is it. The future of our society depends on it. 

Questions for Reflection:

  • Has your view of the family been shaped by the world or by God?
  • Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you how He sees family.
  • Why does the state of the family unit dictate where society is going?
  • What steps can you take to create a biblical-family that honors God’s original design? 

Did you enjoy this blog? You might also enjoy Fight for Your Family Through Prayer.