Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Traditional Family Values

A while back I saw the following post on Facebook:

Since the author conveniently left out many “Traditional Family Values” advocated in the Bible I felt compelled to write a more inclusive description. Below is a more balanced view of the Scriptures.   

The Bible commands husbands to the following. Husbands are to live with their wives in an understanding manner. They are to show honor to their wives. They are to love their wives in a self-sacrificing way. They are called to lay down their lives for their wives. They are obligated to physically provide for their wives and cherish their wives as they would their own body (1 Pet. 3:7; Eph. 5:25-29). Keep in mind this was radically different from the cultural norm in the first century. Back then, wives were on the same level as chattel.

The Bible does teach that wives are to submit to their husbands, but in no way does it view them as inferior or “subordinate”. Genesis 1:27 makes it clear that both male and female are created in the image of God and thus are equally valuable in God’s sight. They do have different roles, but a difference in role does not mean one is more valuable than the other. For example, wide receivers and quarterbacks have different roles, but both are essential to a winning team.

Yes the Bible records the lives of polygamists and those who had concubines, but it never condones or commends polygamy. Instead the Bible advocates and promotes that a marriage between a husband and his wife is to be loving, faithful, lifelong, and committed. It prohibits divorce as well as adultery (see Matt. 19:4-6; Ex. 20:14; Mal. 2:16).

Similarly, the Bible only records arranged marriages. It never advocates or commands them. This was simply the norm at the time the Bible was recorded.

Not only does the Bible prohibit physical adultery, it also condemns the lustful fantasies of a husband’s imagination. Jesus calls his disciples to fidelity in their body, heart, and mind (Matt. 5:27-28). What wife wouldn't appreciate this? What marriage wouldn't benefit from this type of faithfulness?

The Bible commands children to honor and respect their father and their mother, even in their old age (Ex. 20:12; Pr. 23:22). It also commands believers to “provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his immediate family” (1 Tim. 5:8). 

As for the Levirate marriage (i.e. the brother of the deceased man is obliged to marry his brother’s widow) mentioned in Mark 12:18-27, widows who didn’t have sons to provide for them only had one occupation available to them and that was prostitution. So what is worse, marrying your deceased husband’s brother or becoming a prostitute?  This command demonstrates the gracious character of God. He provides for the widow who is unable to provide for herself. 

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