Biblical Basis for Family Ministry

THE BIBLICAL BASIS FOR FAMILY MINISTRY written by Gary J. Oliver

The starting place for any family ministry is to see what the Bible has to say about the family. Throughout Scripture, God provides instruction related to marriage, the family, and parenting.

Relationships are a core part of who God is and who He would have us to become. The priority of relationships in God’s plan is seen from the very beginning of His written revelation. In Genesis we see God in relationship with himself; God in relationship with man; male and female in relationship with each other in marriage; parents and children in relationship in the family; groups of families that made up the 12 tribes of Israel in relationship with other tribes.

In the Old Testament there are numerous insights into the nature and function of the family. The Hebrew family was noted for its unity. This cohesiveness developed quite naturally, as the nature of that society placed children and parents in close contact. The majority of activities centered around the home and often included children, parents, grandparents, and other relatives.

Many functions performed by social service agencies or the local church today were performed by the extended family in biblical times. The Hebrew home was the primary educational, recreational, and social center for the children. Religious education was centered in the home. As a result, parents spent time with their children—working, teaching, communicating, and playing. This interaction helped produce a family unity that made it possible to pass on values from parents to children, from generation to generation (Psalm 78:4).2

Today, most of the functions that were provided for in the Hebrew home are now met outside the home. Education takes place in the schools. The majority of social and recreational activities take place outside the home, usually with nonfamily members. Even the bulk of religious education is left to the church.

2. Wayne E. Rickerson, Getting Your Family Together (Ventura, Calif.: Regal, 1977), 8,9.

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