How Does God Define Family

by David Peach · Print Print · Email Email

God has chosen the framework of the family to help us understand authority and His plan in our life. The structure of the family is vital to so many other laws, principles and teachings in the Bible. If it is so important, it is also important to understand what God’s plan for the family is so that we can understand the rest of His Word as it applies to us today.

God instituted the family in Genesis 2:18 when He said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.” He then formed Eve from a rib of Adam as told in verses 21-24 part of which says, “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” Then in Ephesians 5:31 God says the same thing in the New Testament. “For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.”

How Does God Define Family

Within the family God has given its members roles and responsibilities.

God brought Adam and Eve together and established the basis for the family. This basis is a man and a woman. Even though Adam and Eve did not have parents, God instituted at that time the principle that a man and woman would depart from their parents and family unit to begin a new family unit.

Without a man and a woman coming together in marriage, there is no family.

God’s desire for the family is that it reproduce and multiply. Genesis 1:27 and 28 say, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” God desires that husbands and wives bring forth offspring. This creates more of the definition God has for a family. Obviously not everyone is capable of producing children. However, in God’s plan for the family we should be in such a relationship that God could grant us children if He chooses to do so. When a relationship is one such that no offspring can possibly be produced, then it is not a proper family according to the Bible.

Within the family God has given its members roles and responsibilities. Each person may fill one or more of the following roles.


Ephesians 5:25-28 “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.

Colossians 3:19 “Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.”

God commands husbands to love their wife as their own flesh. When men do not love their wife as they should, they are not fulfilling God’s plan for the father of the family.

Just before these verses in Ephesians, God says to wives that they should submit. However, men loving their wife is not conditional on the wife submitting. He should love whether or not she submits. Yet it stands to reason that she is more likely to submit if he will love her as he should.


Ephesians 6:4 “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”

Colossians 3:21 “Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.”

By definition a father is a man who has begotten a child. This verse tells us that fathers are to bring up their children in the teachings of the Lord and to not “provoke them to wrath,” or, badger and shame them until they hate their father.


Ephesians 5:22, 23 “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.”

Wives are told to submit to their husbands. By them submitting to their husbands they are showing a proper relationship to authority. When they submit to and respect authority, it will help children understand their need to submit to the authority over them.


1 Timothy 5:14 “I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.”

Titus 2:4, 5That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.”

Young mothers are taught by the older women in the church and in their lives to bear children, love their husbands, guide the home, obey, submit and teach their children. By doing so their children will grow up being taught to honor God’s Word.


Exodus 20:12Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.”

Ephesians 6:1-3 “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.”

Children are to obey and honor their parents. This means that they not only need to obey, but to obey in a respectful way that adds value to the family unit and their parents. While we don’t know exactly how long we are given by God to live, we are told that those who honor their parents will live longer lives than they would if they were disobedient, hateful and disrespectful to their mother and father.


I Timothy 5:1-3 “Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren; The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity. Honour widows that are widows indeed.”

Paul is teaching Timothy, and us, that a family unit behaves with respect towards one another. In the church we are to respect and honor others as we would our own brothers, sisters, parents and extended family.

Family, Church and God’s Authority

When we get a grasp of the family structure God has established, we can get a better understanding of how God wants us to interact with one another and with His authority.

The family unit points us to another establishment God has ordained—the church. Jesus Christ is the head of the church. He is the authority. The church as a whole is His bride. We as individuals in the church are His children and siblings one with another.

If you have a proper family unit, then your children will have a better understanding of God, His church and His authority. If your children never learn to respect their parents, whom they live with and interact with, then how are they going to learn to respect God whom they cannot see? When parents teach their children that there is authority, responsibility and consequences for wrong actions, the children will much more quickly understand who God is and the authority He has in our lives.

Do your children a favor and establish a family as God defines it and they will grow up with a better understanding of God and the wonderful salvation He offers.


The Holy Bible, King James Version

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