Stewarton Bible School

SBS   Course   Lesson 18

The Family Circle


The disintegration of the family unit is, doubtless, one of the greatest tragedies of modern times; a spiritual catastrophe so devastating that it is causing concern to almost all the governments of the world. Disinterested and irresponsible parents, sullen and rebellious children, battered wives and babies, adultery, incest, fornication, drug-abuse, alcoholism and a total lack of communication are evils which are commonplace these days in homes throughout the world. Even more distressing is the fact that most of these problems are escalating out of control, despite the valiant efforts being made to contain them.

Perhaps you live in a home where one or more of these problems exist: where genuine love is a fading memory and peace a total stranger: a home which has become a verbal battleground between husband and wife, father and son, mother and daughter, brother and sister: a home where ridicule has replaced respect and where physical or mental cruelty is the norm.

If you do, then take courage because all is not lost. For, incredible as this may sound, it is still possible even at a very late stage to reverse such a trend and to turn your home into a sanctuary of true love and peace; a place where every member of the family is welcomed and valued.

How can this seemingly impossible objective be achieved?

The answer is so simple that there is a real danger you may dismiss it with a shrug of unbelief. But don't do that, because this remedy really does work and multiplied millions of believers through the ages have applied it with success. Here is the remedy - a spiritual formula - in a single sentence.

Have Faith in the Almighty, your Heavenly Father and prayerfully put into practice His advice concerning family life.

This basic instruction - so childishly simple though it sounds - really does work. So we respectfully urge all readers to give it a try: for who is better qualified to advise on family life than the Creator himself; the one who designed the family unit in the first place. To enable the reader to speedily understand the instructions of Yahweh (the Almighty's name) this lesson has been arranged under the following headings:

To obtain the best results from this lesson the reader must aim at its personal application. This means that after reading these pages, and especially when studying the Scriptural passages quoted, you must resist the temptation of evaluating the performance of the other members of your family. To be sure it is an easy thing to find fault with others, and often there is ample cause for doing so: but criticising others will never benefit you. And if you make a habit of it then this lesson will prove of little value to you. Much rather would we see you apply the lesson to yourself, no matter how much more you think it applies to somebody else.
Husbands should, therefore, dwell on the section headed The Husband/Father.
Wives should pay special attention to the section headed The Wife/Mother.
And children must beware of using these Scriptural guidelines to belittle their parents; an act which itself is a violation of the fifth commandment
Exodus 20:12 "Honour your father and your mother."

Instead, be strict with yourself and forbearing with others. In this way each member of the family will benefit from the lesson and the remedy will begin to take effect in your life and home.

Here, then, are the scriptural guidelines for a happy and blessed home. Success will come in direct proportion to their application.

    The Marriage Institution

  1. Marriage is a divine institution designed by the Almighty for the happiness of mankind and, more importantly, to reflect His own spiritual relationship with His people.
    (Genesis 1:27-28, Genesis 2:18-24, Isaiah 62:4-5, Hosea 2:19-20, Isaiah 54)

  2. Marriage is for life and can only be dissolved by the death of one of the parties. The Almighty abhors divorce, and though it is an extremely common practice these days, divorce is nevertheless totally distasteful to God.
    (Matthew 19:3-9, Romans 7:1-3, Malachi 2:14-15)

  3. In view of these two facts, that marriage is a divine institution ordained by the Almighty to last till death, married couples ought never to toy with the idea that if all doesn't go well then they could, with God's approval, obtain a divorce and marry new partners. Millions of potentially happy marriages have been wrecked by this insidious delusion and not a week passes when yet another marriage breakdown is reported. The first step in achieving success in marriage, is to determine that come what may your marriage is not going to fail, but succeed. And not only is it going to succeed, but with the Almighty's help it will be so happy that in time it will begin to reflect the beautiful relationship that He is to have with His Church. The following scriptural passages make these points clear and show how sacred and enduring the marriage bond really is. Read them each time you are tempted to think otherwise.
    (Matthew 5:31-32, Matthew 19:3-9, Mark 10:11-12, Jeremiah 23:10)

    The Husband / Father

  4. The husband is the divinely appointed head of the home; the one held most responsible by the Almighty for the physical and spiritual welfare of the whole family. He is required by the Most High to exercise his authority with the utmost care, taking as his example the Messiah himself.
    (Proverbs 18:22, 1 Corinthians 14:35, Ephesians 5:23-33, 1 Timothy 5:8)

  5. A husband's allegiance to his wife overrides his allegiance to all his friends and relatives, including his parents and children. This is because in the sight of the Almighty a married couple is "one flesh," one unit, one spiritual entity, not two. A husband should, therefore, love and cherish his wife above all earthly beings, treating her with the gentleness, respect and attention that is the wife's divine right. This means that in their relationship there should be NO place for:

    The aim of every husband should be to love, cherish and honour his wife; finding in her the companion and friend she was designed by the Almighty to be. If a man does this, he will be a real blessing to his wife and pave the way to lasting happiness for his entire family.
    (Proverbs 5:18-19, 1 Peter 3:7)

  6. Laziness is strongly condemned in the Scriptures. Therefore, so as far as possible, a man should work for his living and provide for his wife and family.
    (Proverbs 6:6&9, Proverbs 20:4, 2 Thessalonians 3:10-12, 1 Timothy 5:8)

  7. It is the responsibility of both parents (particularly the father's) to train their children to be citizens of worth. Juvenile delinquency, a major cause for concern these days, would be a rare thing indeed if fathers followed Yahweh's instructions concerning the rearing of their children. Listed below are some guidelines as to why and how this should be done:

    The Wife / Mother

  8. A million words would not suffice to tell the worth of a good wife. She is the heart of the family just as surely as the husband is the head. The Scriptures abound with praises for the woman who reaches Yahweh's standard, for, then does she becomes a blessing to the whole community and a lasting joy to her husband.
    (Proverbs 18:22, 19:14)

  9. In Proverbs chapter 31 the manifold virtues of the perfect wife are listed and every woman would do well to study that chapter. At a first reading the standard called for may appear quite impossible to reach; but like all divine requirements it can be met with the Almighty's assistance. The original Hebrew word translated "virtuous" in Proverbs 31:10 is hayil. It means strong in all moral qualities. Listed below are a few of the moral qualities wives should aim to be strong in:

  10. It is that last point, her recognition of vanity for what it is and her reverence of the Most High that is the secret of her worth. The wife who reveres the Almighty and seeks to live in accordance with His law will go on to become a crown of blessing to her husband and a priceless gem in the Eternal's sight.
    (Proverbs 12:4, 31:10)

  11. In direct contrast to the above we find the unworthy women described in the Scriptures, in whom one or more of the following traits are found:

  12. According to Yahweh's Word, a wife should be submissive to her husband; for the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church. We will admit that this standard - and especially that word "submissive" - will rankle in the minds of many in this electronic age; but we are dealing here with the Word of the living God not with the fickle fashions of a confused and wayward generation.
    (Ephesians 5:22-24, Titus 2:5)

  13. A wife's behaviour, the way she ought to dress, how she should speak to her husband and her whole attitude and outlook towards life are perfectly described in 1 Peter 3:1-6. Women who seek to excel in everything that is truly worthwhile, should closely study those verses and practice the directions listed in that inspired instruction. The resulting benefits to the family and community at large will be incalculable.

  14. Modern ideas about the liberation of women are perfectly acceptable to a degree, for women have been treated as second class citizens for too long. Indeed, according to Yahweh's Word they are man's equal and not to be treated as inferiors. But when the so-called liberator's theories clash with the plain teachings of the Bible regarding the various roles men and women have been authorised to fulfil, you can be sure that in the end those theories when implemented will bring sorrow to the very women they are intended to help. Much rather would we see women following the plain teachings of the Scriptures in this delicate matter of how to live, how to speak to their husbands and how to manage their households.

    Holiness, purity of mind, gentleness, hospitality, kindness and all those other admirable qualities that the Scriptures tell of, are what the believing wife must aim for. If you are a wife and mother you must begin to practice those things, for in the doing of them you will bring great blessing to your entire family - whether they believe in the Most High or not.
    (1 Corinthians 7:13-14)

  15. Everyone knows from the youngest member to the oldest that mother is the heart of the family. If you are a wife and mother, remember that you hold a sacred position; a position that is the symbol of Yahweh's Church. Yes, a wife and mother's position in the home represents the role of the Church in this world. To you has been granted the inestimable privilege of not only bringing new life into the world (giving birth to physical children), but also of moulding the character of future generations. You can be in your family circle what the Most High intended the church to be in the community: Pause awhile and consider those three sacred responsibilities. If under God's guidance you decide to do the best you can, using whatever talents and time you possess to maximum advantage, He will make you a greater blessing to your family, your friends and your community than you can remotely imagine. As the Scriptures so aptly put it:
    Proverbs 14:1 "Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands."


  16. When the world children is used, people normally think of young persons under the age of about 15 years; and of course that is true to a certain extent. In this lesson, however, and you will have noticed that it is directed mostly at adults, the word 'children' includes all those whose parents or grandparents are still alive. In other words this section could apply to you, whatever your age, so long as you have even one parent alive. With that thought in mind let us examine what the Scriptures have to say about the responsibilities of children.

  17. By far the most well known instruction to a child (of any age) is to "honour thy father and thy mother." This is one of the Ten Commandments and it was written by the Almighty himself on tablets of stone to indicate its eternal nature. To "honour" means to hold in high regard, to respect, to look up to, to think well of, to defer to and whenever their commands are in line with God's law - to obey. Do you do that? Or are you guilty of breaking the divine commandment to "honour thy father and thy mother?" So highly does the Almighty regard this commandment that it is the first one with a built-in promise.
    (Exodus 20:12, Ephesians 6:1-3, Leviticus 19:3)

  18. Children were intended by the Most High to be a great joy to their parents, and they certainly are when they do what the Almighty commands; they bring blessing not only to themselves and the family but to the whole community. To accomplish this they may have to make some sacrifices, and many may wonder if it is worth the effort, but He who weighs every motive and action will certainly reward those who keep His law. So set it as a goal to gladden the heart of your mother and father. Indeed, make it your aim to be as good a son or daughter to your earthly parents as you would like to be to your heavenly father. If you do this the Almighty God will bless you out of all proportion to your actions.
    (Proverbs 10:1, 15:5, 23:24, Psalm 127:3-4)

  19. Do not look upon discipline as a form of punishment: it is because your parents love you that they reprove and discipline you. Indeed, our Heavenly Father disciplines all his children because He loves us. Discipline is a means of training.
    (Hebrews 12:5-13)

  20. Children who dishonour their parents sow to themselves a bitter crop of sorrow and tears. (Proverbs 15:5, 20:20, 30:17) Study these Scriptures for they contain warnings of great importance.

  21. Never mock your parents. Mockery is verbal violence. The Eternal is not pleased when He sees and hears children attempting to make fools of their elders, especially their parents. To physically strike a parent is also a grievous sin.
    (Proverbs 30:17, Exodus 21:15-17)

  22. One of the last prophecies in the Bible to be fulfilled before the Messiah returns to this earth concerns the "reconciling of the hearts of children to their fathers". It is one of the most beautiful predictions in the whole of Scripture and it is coming true at this moment in the lives of millions of believers all over the globe. Make every effort to be a part of that prophecy by being reconciled with your parents.
    (Malachi 4:5-6)

Communications in the Home

Life's dearest moments, in spite of the sick jokes to the contrary, are mostly found in the home and within the circle of ones own family. Just think of how great an influence the family has on each individual; for it is mostly within that circle that real character is forged, developed and eventually exhibited.

Educational institutions may test ones memory and intelligence, employers may evaluate ones ability and output, governmental authorities may assess ones wealth, but it is only in the environment of the home that the true worth or worthlessness of an individual comes to light.

Yahweh intended the home to be the seedbed of truth, the place where children and their parents were to learn, appreciate and practice the real values of life; values which can only be learned in the company of others. And what are those values? They are:

These and many other values are best learned in the family circle; and Yahweh the Almighty Creator has designed it so in order that we may know how to behave towards the whole Family of Mankind of which He is the Everlasting Father.

Here, then, in summary are two challenging facts:

In view of this, let the reader endeavour to live in his/her home as though in the very presence of the Most High. It is an exceedingly high standard we will admit, and one that many may think quite impossible to attain. But it can be done. Indeed, with the Almighty's assistance it is already being done in Christian homes all around the world, and yours could be one of them. That is the challenging point of this lesson; to bring happiness to you and your family. Are you courageous enough to give it a try?

If you are, then begin right away by placing your faith in the Most High. Your next move is to learn His will, as specified in the Bible, and then put into practice the things you know to be right. If you do these three things you will be on the pathway of Life.

A few closing thoughts about communications. The Bible has some invaluable advice about communications; about how we should talk to one another. Remember that people cannot see your motives; nor are they able to read your thoughts. All they can initially assess you by are the words you speak and how you speak them. It is no good blundering through life saying what you don't mean, and meaning what you don't say. You must learn how to communicate with others - especially your own family - if you want to be happy. In short, you must learn how to speak, with the right tone, without insinuations, sarcasm and back-bitings. Believe me your very happiness in coming years and possibly even your job depends upon it. Yes communications are that important. Here are a few Bible hints about verbal communications:

And there you have it: the formula for family life. Does this formula work? We can assure you that it does. Multiplied millions of believers around the globe will join us in saying - it works!

Lesson 17 Lesson 19

SBS   Course

Author: David B Loughran
Stewarton Bible School, Stewarton, Scotland
August 1998