The Importance of Family
By: Scott Morton
2 Timothy 3:15
And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
There are many things that are happening in society that are attempting to destroy the family unit. Government's are taking custody of children away from families, stating the government is better equipped to take of the children than the parents are. Schools are throwing away lunches made by family members, stating they are not healthy enough, and are making children eat meals provided by the school.
The Bible speaks about families and continually demonstrates the importance of the family. God intended for there to be a family system in place and He gives us the information needed to have a properly functioning family.
The text above show the starting point of everything for the family. The information needed comes from the Bible. It is the responsibility of parents to teach their children the doctrine laid out in the Bible. During this dispensation, the primary focus of this teaching should be Romans through Philemon, as this is the doctrinal information for the members of the Body of Christ.
Timothy had been given the information about the Bible from his family. Earlier in the same epistle, Paul had written:
2 Timothy 1:5
When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.
Timothy's family had grounded him in what the Bible teaches. This information had progressed through each generation (Grandmother to mother to son) in order to make sure they are grounded in truth. This is why the passage speaks about the faith they had, as faith can only come from the Word of God (Romans 10:17). By passing this faith down, it is apparent they were teaching the things of the Bible to Timothy in order to make sure he understood the information that was to guide his life.
The principle of understanding the Word of God and it being taught to children is not something unique to this dispensation. This instruction was also given to Israel before they entered the land:
And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.  And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:  And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
Israel was instructed to teach their children the things of the law (the Word of God at that time). It was not something which was restricted to just worship times, but was to be going on at all times in their life. While we would not be teaching the law to our children, the principle of when we should be teaching the Word of God is an important one to understand. We should not restrict teaching and talking about the Word of God to just the times when the members of the Body of Christ are gathering together. There should be discussions about the Word of God at all times in the household. This helps to show the importance of the Word of God in the lives of the parents and will then pass this down to the children.
The first step in the process of teaching this information is to discuss salvation. An individual is not going to gain the spiritual knowledge they need from the Bible if they do not have salvation first. This is why the focus of the discussion needs to be first on the gospel which was given to the Apostle Paul:
1 Corinthians 15:1-4
Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;  By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.  For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;  And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
This is the only gospel message which can produce salvation today. Many people will try to use other passages, especially from the four gospels, to show this is where salvation is found. The problem with these passages is they are adding works to salvation, which is not part of the program for today. The Apostle Paul describes our salvation as a free gift (Ephesians 2:8-9) and states we have been given the gift of eternal life (Romans 6:23). A gift is something which is given to someone without having to do something to earn it. Any form of performance is an attempt to do something to earn salvation. This is in a sharp contrast to what the Apostle Paul calls his gospel (Romans 2:16).
It is only when a person has received salvation that they are able to learn any spiritual information from the Bible. While anyone is able to read the Bible, the following is very clear on what is needed to fully understand what the Bible says:
1 Corinthians 2:6-16
Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought:  But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:  Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.  But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.  But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.  For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.  Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.  Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.  But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.  But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.  For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.
This lengthy passage shows how understanding comes from the Word of God. It is the Spirit (one-third of the Godhead) which is communicating the truth of God�s Word to an individual. This can only be done if they are saved and have been given new life in the spiritual realm, which occurs when a person puts their trust in the gospel. When this has occurred, they are able to discern the spiritual things and will be able to understand the Word of God.
The opposite of this is also true. If a person does not have this life, the Spirit cannot communicate the things of the Word of God to them. They are able to read the Bible, but they are not able to gain the insight that is needed through the Spirit. This is why an unsaved individual will look at the Bible as just another book, as they are not able to see the spiritual truth inside the Bible. This is why individuals who are not saved will attempt to teach things from the Bible as if it is a piece of literature. There are courses being taught at some colleges in the United States where this is done. This type of teaching is dangerous, as those hearing it will also consider the Bible to be nothing more than a piece of literature and will often not accept it as the Word of God.
The Bible teaches how families are to function. The Apostle Paul gives information to the members of the Body of Christ on this topic. He uses family terms more than any other writer in the Bible. Brethren is used 101 times in his epistles and brother is used 35 times in his epistles. The term brother is used to speak of those who are members of the Body of Christ. This shows the relationship we are to have with one another. We are to be as family members, which means we are to have close relationships with one another, not tearing each other apart as is often the case. Paul speaks of how we are to view one another:
As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.
Those who are the members of the Body of Christ are the household of faith. While the Body of Christ are to do good unto all men, there is to be a special relationship we have with those who are of the household of faith. We are to make sure we are doing good for all of the members of the Body of Christ. This is difficult for some to think about, as there are members of the Body of Christ who do not get along with each other and struggle to function together because of this. The Apostle Paul does not give any sort of loophole for us in this. He states we are to be functioning this way with all of the members, no matter how we might feel about them.
There are some things which are said which are direct statements of how the family unit is supposed to function.
Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.  Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;)
The Apostle Paul starts with the issue of children. They are told they are to obey their parents. He starts at this point with children because this is what they are supposed to be doing. It is why he states one of the signs of the later days of this dispensation is when children are being disobedient to their parents. It doesn�t take long to see when this is not the case. I am sure everyone who is reading this has been in a store and has seen a child behaving in a manner where they are not being obedient to their parents. The child is yelling at their parent, misbehaving in every way possible, and the parent is doing nothing about it. This is not what is intended for the family. Those who are behaving this way are not honoring God by their behavior.
There is only one qualification which is given to children in how they are to obey their parents. This is to be done in the Lord. This means that the Lord is the standard by which this obedience is to occur. The standard for this has nothing to do with society, or what anyone else thinks. God is the standard for the obedience of the children.
Since God is the standard being used, then the Word of God is the information by which this is going to occur. This is why the studying of God's Word is important, as it gives all of the information which is needed for an individual to live their life. Children are learning from the Word of God what is necessary to obey their parents, as their mind is being renewed (Romans 12:1-2).
Society has started to teach the opposite of this viewpoint. One of the things being said is that it is the responsibility of everyone to teach and raise children. While this started in the 1990's (or even before), this thought process has continued to intensify over the years. An example of this is a school system throwing out the lunch of a child which had been made by their family, stating that it was not healthy enough. The child is then forced to eat a lunch from the school, which is often worse than the original lunch which had been given to the child by their family. If this is the case, then children are no longer being given the instructions of having to obey their parents, but would be responsible to just obey society. This is a very dangerous thing, as it breaks down the family structure God intended and is putting the emphasis on the things of man, rather than of God.
The Apostle Paul is referencing the law here, but he is not putting someone under the law. In 1 Timothy 1:7-11, he does explain the purpose of the law, which is to point out the sin of an individual and show why the needed a savior. He is not referencing the commandments here as a way for someone to walk right and please God. Paul states it here in this manner because this information carries over into this dispensation. This is something we are all still to do. The things the Apostle Paul does mention out of the law are doctrine for us, as he does not mention the parts of the law which do not, such as the Sabbath.
That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.
The Apostle Paul continues on speaking about the children and gives the reasoning behind the issue of obedience. This is found in Deuteronomy 5:16, when Moses was giving the law to Israel again, as Moses attached this to the commandment which had been given as an explanation for why they needed to do this. The first part is that it may be well with them if they are doing this. The reason things are well for the individual who is following the Word of God is they are doing what God intends. By doing this, they are building gold, silver, and precious stones for themselves at the Judgment Seat of Christ (1 Corinthians 3:10-15, 2 Corinthians 5:10). The intention is always to follow the Word of God as it is given to an individual, which for today is the information provided to us by the Apostle Paul in Romans through Philemon. It is the only place where the doctrine can come from for this dispensation.
The father is to impart the wisdom they have gained from their studies and experience to their children. This is how the process the Apostle Paul is describing works in this passage. The father gives the information he has so the child can make better choices in life. Most parents would agree that they want their children to not make the same mistakes in life that they did.
It is the responsibility of children to listen to this and apply it to their lives. This is where a lot of problems do come up. Many children think their parents do not understand what is going on, as 'it is different than when you were younger.' While the specifics of some of the issues might be different (I.e., things like Facebook and Twitter were not around when those who are parents of teenagers were in school), the issues which are caused by them were there. This is the information which children are to listen to and make better choices about.
The Apostle Paul does not leave it with just instructions for the children. He also gives some information for fathers about how they should raise their children:
And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
The Apostle Paul is dealing with the fathers in the manner, as many times they are the ones who are handing out the discipline in the homes. How often has someone heard the phrase 'Wait until you father gets home' be said by the mother when a child does something wrong. This is said because this is the way things tend to go in the household.
When this is going on, there are some clear instructions being given by the Apostle Paul in this passage. Children are not to be provoked to wrath. This does not mean that discipline is supposed to be avoided, as the Bible is very clear on teaching the issue of correction for wrongdoing. There are several passages in the book of Proverbs which clearly teach this.
The Apostle Paul is speaking about punishing the child for no reason, which show the parent does not have the care for the child they should have. If the father is beating the child for no reason, other than their own pleasure, then this is not showing what the Bible says should be done. Children will then grow up with wrath, as they have not seen the love in the home they should have seen.
This also leads to discouragement, which is mentioned in Colossians 3:21. If children are not getting the proper instructions and encouragement at home, they will not feel they can do what God intends and will be discouraged, leading to problems for the child as well.
This short study has shown some of the things the Bible states related to the importance of the family. The hope is the reader will be encouraged to look in the Bible for further instructions and information related to what is said about the family.