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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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Jack March 1, 2012 at 7:03 pm

Just an exceptional job here David. I truly feel that families, a God-ordained and God-created unit is the glue that holds society together. As the family goes (or goes badly) so goes society. Thank you sir.


joan March 12, 2012 at 4:48 am

thanks for the word of encouranging


THAPELO NGELE March 25, 2012 at 3:00 am

i’m blesed a lot with the word.wordof encourangement.God bles you


Alexander Odega October 5, 2012 at 4:13 am

This is awesome. How can I contact you?

Thank you.


jecinter minyama January 23, 2013 at 3:03 am

am so much glad by your teaching about God’s famly am so much encouraged thank you


richard March 1, 2013 at 6:26 pm

Will you me more information concerning God’s value and purpose for the family.


Fezile Nkuna March 2, 2013 at 12:02 pm

stay blessed


Andrew October 6, 2013 at 2:27 pm

The strength of the family is key to the success of a society and we need to stand up for the values that help keep families strong.
God Bless

How does god defing family


Jack Wellman October 6, 2013 at 7:50 pm

Andrew, you are spot on sir about the family’s critical place in society and yes, we do need to stand for what is right to keep families strong.

As for how does God define family. I believe in the first marriage in Genesis (2?) it was to be between a man and a woman, the same verses that Jesus quoted, and that they have this be permanent, lifelong and till death do them part. The children are to be like olive plants around them (interestingly, olive plants are not olive trees and olive plants take about 15-16 years before they bear fruit.)


Andrew October 8, 2013 at 10:14 pm

Jack that was a very interesting thought on the olive plants. I came across this powerful talk and I thought you might like it. I could not explain things better myself so here is part of the talk which is most on this topic.

“We are also respectful of the religious beliefs of all people, even of those increasing numbers who profess no belief in God. We know that through the God-given power of choice, many will hold beliefs contrary to ours, but we are hopeful that others will be equally respectful of our religious beliefs and understand that our beliefs compel us to some different choices and behaviors than theirs. For example, we believe that, as an essential part of His plan of salvation, God has established an eternal standard that sexual relations should occur only between a man and a woman who are married.

The power to create mortal life is the most exalted power God has given to His children. Its use was mandated by God’s first commandment to Adam and Eve (see Genesis 1:28), but other important commandments were given to forbid its misuse (see Exodus 20:14; 1 Thessalonians 4:3). The emphasis we place on the law of chastity is explained by our understanding of the purpose of our procreative powers in the accomplishment of God’s plan. Outside the bonds of marriage between a man and a woman, all uses of our procreative powers are to one degree or another sinful and contrary to God’s plan for the exaltation of His children.

The importance we attach to the law of chastity explains our commitment to the pattern of marriage that originated with Adam and Eve and has continued through the ages as God’s pattern for the procreative relationship between His sons and daughters and for the nurturing of His children. Fortunately, many persons affiliated with other denominations or organizations agree with us on the nature and importance of marriage, some on the basis of religious doctrine and others on the basis of what they deem best for society.

Our knowledge of God’s plan for His children explains why we are distressed that more and more children are born outside of marriage—currently 41 percent of all births in the United States8—and that the number of couples living together without marriage has increased dramatically in the past half century. Five decades ago, only a tiny percentage of first marriages were preceded by cohabitation. Now cohabitation precedes 60 percent of marriages.9 And this is increasingly accepted, especially among teenagers. Recent survey data found about 50 percent of teenagers stating that out-of-wedlock childbearing was a “worthwhile lifestyle.”10
There are many political and social pressures for legal and policy changes to establish behaviors contrary to God’s decrees about sexual morality and contrary to the eternal nature and purposes of marriage and childbearing. These pressures have already authorized same-gender marriages in various states and nations. Other pressures would confuse gender or homogenize those differences between men and women that are essential to accomplish God’s great plan of happiness.

Our understanding of God’s plan and His doctrine gives us an eternal perspective that does not allow us to condone such behaviors or to find justification in the laws that permit them. And, unlike other organizations that can change their policies and even their doctrines, our policies are determined by the truths God has identified as unchangeable.

Our twelfth article of faith states our belief in being subject to civil authority and “in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.” But man’s laws cannot make moral what God has declared immoral. Commitment to our highest priority—to love and serve God—requires that we look to His law for our standard of behavior. For example, we remain under divine command not to commit adultery or fornication even when those acts are no longer crimes under the laws of the states or countries where we reside. Similarly, laws legalizing so-called “same-sex marriage” do not change God’s law of marriage or His commandments and our standards concerning it. We remain under covenant to love God and keep His commandments and to refrain from serving other gods and priorities—even those becoming popular in our particular time and place.

In this determination we may be misunderstood, and we may incur accusations of bigotry, suffer discrimination, or have to withstand invasions of our free exercise of religion. If so, I think we should remember our first priority—to serve God—and, like our pioneer predecessors, push our personal handcarts forward with the same fortitude they exhibited.

A teaching of President Thomas S. Monson applies to this circumstance. At this conference 27 years ago, he boldly declared: “Let us have the courage to defy the consensus, the courage to stand for principle. Courage, not compromise, brings the smile of God’s approval. Courage becomes a living and an attractive virtue when it is regarded not only as a willingness to die manfully, but as the determination to live decently. A moral coward is one who is afraid to do what he thinks is right because others will disapprove or laugh. Remember that all men have their fears, but those who face their fears with dignity have courage as well.”11

I pray that we will not let the temporary challenges of mortality cause us to forget the great commandments and priorities we have been given by our Creator and our Savior. We must not set our hearts so much on the things of the world and aspire to the honors of men that we stop trying to achieve our eternal destiny. We who know God’s plan for His children—we who have made covenants to participate in it—have a clear responsibility. We must never deviate from our paramount desire, which is to achieve eternal life. We must never dilute our first priority—to have no other gods and to serve no other priorities ahead of God the Father and His Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ”



Jack Wellman October 10, 2013 at 12:21 pm

Andrew, what a thoughtful and spot on comment. I so agree that we must not make what we think is the main thing but what God says is. I wish I had some godly men of faith like you in the church that I am undershepherd of. You are so deep and have a hunger and thirst for the knowledge of God that is so rare these days and I thank God for you sir.


Andrew October 10, 2013 at 10:25 pm

Thanks Jack. It was spot. It did not come from me it was from one of our churches leaders. He gave it last weekend. The rest of the talk is just as good. When I heard it I knew I had to share it because it was so true.
Satan has always fought against the stability of the family. He knows very well what moral strength people gain when they are reared in a stable Christian home with a loving Mother and Father. When I think back and compare how the world was when I was in High school in the 90s and how it is now, it is astonishing how quickly societies view on the family, morality and God has changed for the worse. I believe many Christians did not even realize what was going on. Reminds me of a scripture.
“And others will he pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, that they will say: All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well—and thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell.”

Back in 1995 the leaders of our church had the for site to come out with a proclamation warning the world of the coming calamity on the family. I believe you will find it spot on as well.

“We solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.

All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.

In the premortal realm, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshipped God as their Eternal Father and accepted His plan by which His children could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize their divine destiny as heirs of eternal life. The divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave. Sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally.

The first commandment that God gave to Adam and Eve pertained to their potential for parenthood as husband and wife. We declare that God’s commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force. We further declare that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife.

We declare the means by which mortal life is created to be divinely appointed. We affirm the sanctity of life and of its importance in God’s eternal plan.

Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. “Children are an heritage of the Lord” (Psalm 127:3). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God, and be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations.

The family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities. By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners. Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation. Extended families should lend support when needed.

We warn that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God. Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.

We call upon responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.”

God Bless


Jack Wellman October 12, 2013 at 10:45 am

Thank you Andrew. By the way, you have the same name as my grown son and the father of my grandchildren…and this comment of yours from your church leader is spot on the mark for if Satan can destroy families, he can destroy the foundation of our society for as the family goes, so goes that nation….I see that the Enemy wants to destroy this nation by destroying the family.


Renata June 27, 2015 at 2:40 am

I want to know what you think about broken families. In my case, my parents never got married and when my father met a younger woman, he left my pregnant mother and me.
He was back years later and I found it so weird. He is a non believer, keeps telling me that the Bible is nothing and that one day he will make me see that Christianity is fake.
I pray for his soul and I hope for God to save him one day. My mother encourages me a lot. You see, before she meet my father, she was “married” to another man and he was very similar to my father. This man already had two children and my mother adopted them as her own (I too see them as my siblings). Then, my mother got pregnant twice – my sisters were born – a total of four children.
However, my mother’s first “husband” was too greedy and bitter – their relationship didn’t last long. Thankfully, after so many years, he became a Christian.
His story makes me hope for my father, though I sometimes get to sad when I look at him. I look so much like him physically, yet I wished to look up at him as I do to my mother. She is generous and kind. She is fair and forgiven. I want to be like her one day. But my father… I wish I could to find something to admire on him, but I just cannot. He is an great musician, and that’s all. He is prideful, a good liar, vengeful and cold… He found it absurd that I pray for my enemies.
I love him still. He is my father and although he left when I was four, he seems to be trying to get to know me and my sister. Note: I’m 20 and my sister is 18!
I think he realized how much he has lost with his choices – he didn’t see us growing up. He was surprised to see me playing the guitar and the piano. He was stunned to hear my sister singing. And we are, too, stunned to see the things he has to said about God – so many bad things that make me and my sister so sad.
It hurts a lot to see him so lost in the world. He keeps telling himself that is his happy without God, and when I say “There is no happiness without God”, he gets really angry at me, telling me I’m “too young” to know about these things and that when I get older, I will “open my eyes and abandon this stupid religion” – in his words.
I hope for God to save this broken family of mine. To honor my mother is easy – she raised me and I respect her a lot, for she gave me reasons to respect her.
What to do, I ask you, when it comes with my father, a man who hates Christianity? I love him. I wish him the best. But I just cannot find reasons to respect him as a father, as a true man. My mother’s father was the only true man I ever met. He was responsible and caring, he loved his wife, his children and grandchildren. I have God as my father, too. I can count on Him, I know He loves me, I know He will never abandon me. My “human” father is someone I don’t know, someone I can hardly stand sometimes.
God told me to honor my father.
I love him. I forgave him for what he did even though he never asked for my forgiveness.
I only wish to respect – and honor – him. I don’t know how.


Olubukola Adebayo November 16, 2018 at 1:00 am

God bless u ,I love dis.


Single July 30, 2019 at 4:30 pm

What really amazes me is that God gave so many other men out there a good wife and family that i really would have wanted too, since being single and all alone isn’t fun at all these days when there are so many disadvantages as well. Well they certainly have so very much to be thankful for. And i know friends that are still single themselves today, and wish they weren’t either.


Stephanie May 18, 2020 at 4:13 pm

What does the Bible say about empty nesters? My children are grown and do not live with me. I live with my husband and his dad. My children’s father was abusive, and the courts made me chose between him and the children, which was a no brainer. I know most Christians condemn me for that, but there was no way to keep the family in tact, at that point. I married my current husband when my kids were 17 and 19, my youngest lived with us for about 6 months. My husband’s cousins spend the weekends with us, but I don’t have a lot of influence over them,because my father in law is their babysitter, not my husband and I. I am trying to mold us into a Christian family, but your comment about how a relationship that cannot produce children is not a proper family, and how all advice about family centers around parents and children under 18 living full time in the home, I wonder if I should even try?


eileen Birmingham August 22, 2021 at 10:24 am

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Jack Wellman August 22, 2021 at 6:34 pm

I have done as you asked Eileen. You can unsubscribe at any time. Thank you.


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