What do Christians believe about relationships—specifically families? What’s their purpose? Why do they matter? For that matter, what is a family? These are important questions being wrestled with in our culture. So let’s find out what the Bible has to say.
God intends the family to serve as the foundational institution of human society and a unique expression of our nature as image bearers of God. Generally speaking, families are made of people related to one another by marriage, blood, or adoption.
So thinking about marriage specifically, marriage is a covenant uniting one man and one woman before God for life. This commitment allows us to have intimate companionship, freely engage in sexual expression according to biblical standards (Heb. 13:4), and bear and raise children. This is the foundation of the family.
But marriage is more than that. It is a picture of how Christ relates to the church, as husbands and wives love and respect one another and submit to one another under Christ.
A husband is called to love his wife, just as Christ loves the church, spending himself for her good, helping her to flourish and grow in godliness. He provides for, protects, and leads his family as a servant.
A wife is called to submit herself graciously to her husband’s servant leadership, as the church submits to Christ, treating him with respect as her equal, as a fellow image bearer of God. She serves as his helper—his partner—in managing their household and nurturing the next generation.
If marriage is the foundation of the family, children are the extension of it. Children, from the moment of conception, whether biological or adopted, are a blessing from God. Parents are called to teach their children spiritual and moral values and to lead them to make choices based on biblical truth through their consistent example and their loving discipline. Children, in response, are called to honor and obey their parents (Eph. 6.1-3).
While our surrounding culture redefines and reimagines the meaning of marriage and family, Christians have an opportunity to show the world how God’s intended design for works—and works best. To put the glory of God on display as we invite others to follow us as we imperfectly follow Christ.