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Following Jesus -- Course B

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Family Relationships

Following Jesus, Course B, Lesson 1


Introduction:

The purpose of this lesson is to examine Bible teaching regarding family relationships. Many families today are clearly troubled. Alienation often exists between husband and wife, between parents and children, or among brothers and sisters. Bitterness, quarreling, violence, or divorce may result. What is God's plan for proper family relationships?


I. The Husband's Responsibilities to His Wife


The Husband Should Be Committed to the Marriage for Life.

Many marriages end in divorce. Consider the Bible teaching.

>>> Please read Romans 7:2,3. <<<

*1* How long are husband and wife bound? (a) till baptism, (b) till divorce, (c) for life (till the spouse dies), (d) as long as they have love. Answer: ________.

*2* What happens if one remarries while his spouse is still living? Answer: One who remarries with a living spouse commits ________.

>>> Please read Matthew 19:3-9. <<<

*3* What grounds are permitted for divorce? (a) irreconcilable differences, (b) only for fornication, (c) physical abuse, (d) drunkenness. Answer: ________.

*4* What happens if one divorces for other reasons then remarries? Answer: Remarriage involves the parties in committing ________.

Think: What is the definition of adultery? Why is an unscriptural remarriage called "adultery"?

Man should enter marriage fully realizing that it is a lifetime commitment. Divorce without Scriptural grounds should never be considered nor discussed as an option. If one is involved in an unscriptural remarriage, he must leave it to cease adultery and be forgiven (cf. 1 Cor. 7:10,11; 6:9-11; Acts 8:22; 26:20). (Note Mal. 2:14-16; Matt. 5:31,32.)

For more information about divorce and remarriage, see the links at the end of this study.

The Husband Should Love His Wife.

Some men act selfishly or abuse their wives. Consider:

>>> Please read Ephesians 5:25-31,33. <<<

*5,6* How much should men love their wives? Answer: Husbands should love their wives as Jesus loved the ___________ and as they love their own ________.

Think: What lessons should husbands learn from Jesus' love for the church? Was Jesus' love an emotional, romantic mood He "fell into" because people were so attractive to Him, or was it a commitment He made because of His own good will toward us?

A husband should be committed to doing good for his wife, even if she is not acting lovingly toward him nor attracting him romantically. He must do good even at the cost of serious personal sacrifice.

>>> Please read 1 Peter 3:7. <<<

*7* How should a man treat his wife? (a) with understanding, (b) giving her honor, (c) as a joint-heir of grace, (d) all the preceding. Answer:  ________.

Think: How does a man dwell with his wife according to knowledge? Name some specific applications.

>>> Please read 1 Corinthians 7:3-5. <<<

*8* What should husband and wife do for one another? Answer: They should fulfill one another's needs for _________.

Jesus expressed loved for the church both by words and by deeds. If a husband properly loves his wife, he will tell her so, but he will also show it by his actions. (Col. 3:19)

The Husband Should Provide for the Family's Physical Needs.

Many families go without necessities because men won't work, quit their jobs for frivolous reasons, or waste their income selfishly.

>>> Please read Genesis 3:17-19. <<<

*9* What work was the man required to do? (Cf. 2 Thess. 3:10.) Answer: Man must toil and sweat so he can ________ bread.

>>> Please read 1 Timothy 5:8. <<<

*10* What is a man's condition if he will not provide for his family? Answer: A man who won't provide is worse than an ________.

Think: Name some Bible examples of occupations or businesses men had outside the home. (See also Eph. 5:28,29).

God gave man the duty to provide for the family. Nowhere does the Bible give such a command to the wife. Man should not neglect his other responsibilities by over-emphasizing work. Yet one who neglects to work, but expects his wife or someone else to provide income for his family, is worse than an infidel.

The Husband Should Be the Head of the Family.

Some claim that a man should not exercise authority over his wife or that man's authority should be limited to just certain areas. In practice, wives often take the lead in making family decisions. But note:

>>> Please read Ephesians 5:22-24. <<<

*11,12* How is the husband here compared to Christ? Answer: He is ________ of the wife like Christ is head of _________.

Think: Should the wife, the wife's parents, or the husband's parents be the head of the family? Cf. Gen. 2:24.

Love will lead a husband to consider the needs and desires of the wife and children. He will make decisions for the good of the whole group, not just to please himself. This requires discussion at times to understand the views of others. However, the husband does have final authority. (Note verses below).

This task is not a privilege but a responsibility. Some men are not willing to make tough decisions and stand up for what they are convinced is best, if they know the wife or children disagree. Yet men must remember they will give account to God for the leadership they exercise.

If the wife fails to fulfill her duties, this does not justify the husband in failing to fulfill his duties (Romans 12:17-21; Luke 6:27-35).


II. The Wife's Responsibilities to Her Husband


The wife too needs a lifetime commitment to the marriage. Neither the man nor the woman may end the marriage while the spouse is alive, except for the cause of fornication. (See passages listed above.)

The Wife Should Love Her Husband.

Many feminists say a woman does not need a man but should find fulfillment outside marriage. Consider what the Bible says.

>>> Please read Genesis 2:18-24. <<<

*13* For what purpose was woman created? (a) man's companion and helper, (b) man's slave, (c) a career in business, (d) all the preceding. Answer: ________.

A woman is not required to marry (see 1 Cor. 7), but by nature she finds her greatest fulfillment in life by loving and caring for a family.

>>> Please read Titus 2:4. <<<

*14* What should young women be taught to do? Answer: They should ________ their husbands and their children.

Note that a woman can learn to show love. Again, this is a matter of choice and commitment, not primarily a romantic mood.

The wife should also show affection and fulfill her husband's sexual needs (see again in 1 Corinthians 7:3-5).

The Wife Should Submit to Her Husband.

We have learned that God teaches husbands to use their authority in love. Though our society may protest and rebel, God also tells wives to submit to their husbands.

>>> Please read Ephesians 5:22-24,33. <<<

*15* How should a wife submit to her husband's headship? Answer: Submit in everything like the ________ does to Christ.

The wife may disobey her husband only if he commands her to violate God's law (Acts 5:29).

>>> Please read Titus 2:5. <<<

*16* Young women should be taught to be what? (a) rebellious, (b) independent, (c) obedient to their husbands, (d) self-willed. Answer: ________.

This does not mean woman has less ability or less value than man (cf. 1 Peter 3:7; Matt. 20:25-28; Gal. 3:28). But someone must be in charge to make decisions in the home. God has determined that this responsibility belongs to the man. (See also Gen. 3:16; Col. 3:18; 1 Peter 3:1-6; 1 Cor. 11:3)

The Wife Should Work at Home Caring for Her Family.

Our society often places little value on the work of homemakers, encouraging women to neglect their family responsibilities to do things God never required them to do.

>>> Please read Titus 2:4,5; 1 Timothy 5:14. <<<

*17* Where should mothers work, and what work should they do? Answer: A wife and mother should manage and care for _________.

Note that this work is a blessing and should be valued and appreciated (cf. Psalm 113:9).

Think: Consider the responsibilities of a mother in the family, the church, Bible study, teaching others, benevolence, hospitality, etc. Is it not true that outside jobs and similar activities often hinder wives and mothers from fulfilling God-given duties to their families? Specifically, where is the authority for a family to enroll their children in day-care so the wife can make money?

We learned that providing family income is a responsibility God gave the husband. There may be emergency exceptions (as when the husband has died or is disabled), but a mother should not by choice give other people her duties so she can fulfill roles God never gave her.

God gave the husband and wife distinct roles, then gave each a nature best suited to those roles. To deny or blur these distinctions is to disobey God. For both the husband and the wife, the greatest satisfaction in marriage comes when they follow God's plan.

Again, the husband's failure to properly fulfill his duties does not justify the wife in failing to fulfill her duties (Rom. 12:17-21; 1 Peter 3:1,2; Luke 6:27-35).


III. The Parents' Responsibilities to Their Children


Society often undermines the right of parents to train and supervise their own children. Entertainment, government agencies, peers, and schools sometimes lead children to think they can "do their own thing." Yet when children go bad, these groups immediately blame the parents!

Parents Should Love Their Children.

Society often views children as unwanted burdens to be left to the care of others. As a result, children are often neglected or abused.

>>> Please read Psalm 127:3-5. <<<

*18* How should children be viewed? (a) an unwanted burden, (b) a heritage from the Lord, (c) a drudgery to be tolerated, (d) all of these. Answer: ________.

Remember that young women should love their children (Titus 2:4). Parents who love their children will do what is best for them. This requires giving children our time, not neglecting or abandoning them.

Parents Should Train Children to Know and Obey God's Will.

Unfortunately, few children are truly taught to love God.

>>> Please read Ephesians 6:4. <<<

*19* What should fathers do for their children? Answer: They should bring children up in the training of the ________.

This includes bringing children to all meetings of the church, but parents must also teach children God's word at home (Deut. 6:6-9). Training children is primarily the work of parents. When children grow up not knowing God's will, the parents will give account. (See also Prov. 22:6; Gen. 18:19; Deut. 4:9,10; 1 Sam. 2:22-25; 3:13; 2 Tim. 1:5; 3:15.)

Parents Should Punish and Reward Children as Needed to Motivate Them to Do Good.

Spanking and all forms of punishment are despised by our society. Yet God has spoken:

>>> Please read Hebrews 12:5-11. <<<

*20* What should fathers do to teach children respect? Answer: Fathers should ________ their children. 

Note that the Father in heaven sets an example of chastisement.

>>> Please read Proverbs 13:24; 23:13,14. <<<

*21* What should motivate parents to spank children? (a) hatred, (b) uncontrolled anger, (c) lust for power, (d) love, (e) all the preceding. Answer: ________.

Inconsistency provokes the child to anger (Eph. 6:4). The father and mother should work in harmony (Matt. 12:25). Children must be treated without favoritism (James 2:8,9). Parents should keep their promises, including the promise to punish (James 5:12).

Parents, who do not discipline their children, will be held accountable by God (1 Sam. 3:13). Instead of following society's ungodly philosophies about childrearing, Christians need to fight those concepts with every upright weapon at our disposal. Families that follow God's word will truly be blessed. (Col. 3:21; Matt. 23:23; Prov. 22:15; 19:18.)

For more information about raising children, see the links at the end of this study.


IV. Children's Responsibilities to Their Parents


Children Should Listen to Parents' Instruction.

Society often encourages children to disregard their parents' teachings and make independent choices. Young people often think their parents are unreasonable or do not understand.

>>> Please read Proverbs 6:20-23. <<<

*22* How should children treat parental instruction? (a) keep the commands, (b) don't forsake them, (c) follow them, (d) all the preceding. Answer: ________.

Parents may not be perfect, but they are older, wiser, and more experienced. Therefore, God put them in charge and instructed children to obey them. (See also Prov. 1:8; 15:5; 23:22.)

Children Should Respect Their Parents.

Young people may mock, ridicule, and flaunt their parents. This is often encouraged or at least ignored by society and by many parents.

>>> Please read Ephesians 6:2,3. <<<

*23* How are children commanded by God to treat their parents? Answer: Children should ________ their father and mother.

Parents should be respected for the good they have done their children and also simply because God commands it. This requires respectful speech and attitudes. (Cf. Matt. 15:4; Prov. 6:20-23; 15:5; 23:22.)

Children Should Obey Their Parents.

Children often rebel, because "everybody's doing it." Peers and society often encourage deliberate disobedience. What does God say?

>>> Please read Ephesians 6:1. <<<

*24* What does God say is the right thing for children to do? Answer: Children should ________ their parents, because this is right.

>>> Please read Luke 2:51. <<<

*25* How did Jesus treat His parents as an example for others? Answer: Jesus was ________ to His earthly parents.

>>> Please read Romans 1:30,32. <<<

*26* The disobedient and those who approve of them deserve what? Answer: They are both worthy of ________.

Children should obey all parental instructions unless they are told to do something sinful (Acts 5:29). If parents have made mistakes or sinned, that does not justify disobedience by the children (Rom. 12:17-21; Luke 6:27-35; Deut. 21:18-21; Col. 3:20).

Children Should Care for Elderly Parents.

Sometimes elderly people need the care of a nursing home for their good. But often parents are neglected or placed in nursing homes, simply because the children do not want to be bothered to take care of them.

>>> Please read 1 Timothy 5:4,8,16. <<<

*27* What should children do for elderly parents? Answer: Children should _________ their parents and relieve them.

*28* What are they guilty of, if they are unwilling to do so? Answer: Those who won't do so have denied the ________.

(Cf. Matt. 15:4-6; Ruth 4:13-15; John 19:25-27.)

Making happy homes is not easy, especially in a corrupt society. But God's plan is always best. When family members learn God's will and obey it, the home will be the happiest and will accomplish the most good.

Personal application questions:

(These questions are for you to ponder. Your answers will help us understand your thinking, however they will not affect your "score.")

*29* What is your view of divorce? __________________________

*30* Should the husband be head of the home? _________________

*31* Why do we have rebellious children in our society? ___________

When you have carefully studied this lesson and written down answers to all the questions, click on this link to submit your answers.

(C) Copyright David E. Pratte, 2001 (click for copyright information)

Topics for further Bible study

Marriage Preparation & Improvement
Seven Keys for Raising Godly Children
Solving Conflict in Marriage Relationships
Divorce, Remarriage, & the Family
Sexual Morality & the Family

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