In order to value something, we need to understand its origin and purpose. Modern higher education teaches that family is a social construct; simply a man-made phenomenon. This means that what society views as a family might differ substantially from what the Bible says about the family. The reality is that family is an inherently divine institution, created and defined by God Himself.
The family was the first recorded institution that God put in place. Genesis 1:27-28 says,
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
Family can be seen in two aspects: marriage and parenthood.
Marriage is the union between one man and one woman. This is a beautiful picture of the church (the bride) and Jesus Christ (the groom). Among many passages on how marriage is supposed to operate, Colossians 3:18-19 sums it up best,
Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be embittered against them.
This mutual loyalty and respect for one another is a sure way to live a happy and healthy marriage.
Parenthood is the second aspect of family and is also a key component of the marriage covenant. The bearing of children is what “be fruitful and multiply” means in Genesis 1. Not only is parenthood about being fruitful but it is also about discipleship. Multiple places throughout Scripture talk about how the mother and father in the marriage relationship are to raise children in the “discipline and instruction of the Lord…” (Ephesians 6:4). Earlier in chapter 6 of Ephesians, we see that children are to
[O]bey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land” (vvs. 1-3).
As mentioned, of the three God-ordained institutions; family, government, and the church, the family was created first. By family coming first in Scripture, it shows that family is crucial to the stability of the government and the church.
Can you imagine a stable and prosperous government without families? This would be impossible. Society would be full of anarchy if not for the family structure. It naturally provides checks and balances, and some form of order. Imagine a church without families participating? It would be very difficult for the body of Christ to flourish without mothers and fathers discipling their children and providing a solid foundation for the church to build on.
We can all agree that family, government, and the church are important. They complement each other. But the family plays a significant role that can’t be ignored.