What does God have to say about family? What does He think about home schooling or raising children? When faced with a current issue or question we often struggle to find the right answers in the Bible. We browse through the references that a search or the old school concordance brings up and try to make head and tail out of the snippets of text we find.
Landa Cope, author of the book "The Old Testament Template" takes a different approach. Her basic premise is that God wants to reveal Himself in different ways through human society. Every society can be broken down into eight categories or expressions of influence, in her terminology called "domains". These are: Government, Economics, Science and Technology, Church, Family, Education,Communication, and Arts and Entertainment. Each of these domains reveal God's nature in a certain way. In studying the Bible Landa has developed her own method by coloring passages according to the domain they refer to. This provides a visual filter that allows to see what God has to say about the various areas of life. This article is a summary of chapter 10 from the book, which focuses on the domain of the family.
"Of all the domains in the Kingdom of God, family is probably the most discussed and studied by Christians. (...) Over the last decade of coloring the scriptures by domains in order to understand God's thinking in every arena of life, nothing has more impacted my thinking than God's view of family, its influence, and its role in community at large" (OTT, p.97).
Through this domain God reveals Himself as the Father. So the question is: how does God the Father picture a perfect family life that reflects His nature? It seems that God has placed a higher focus on the domain of the family than on any of the other seven domains. There are thousands of scriptures that address family related issues, like marriage, children, sexual conduct and many more.
In the beginning of Genesis God reveals His intentions for man and woman to work together, followed by the enemy's plan to destroy what God had created. The result is a separation of God and man and secondly hostility and distrust between man and women. To this day broken marriages and homes produce some of the worst problems and tragedies of society.
Throughout the book of Genesis we find how individuals become families and as families grow, they become tribes and nations. "One of the major themes [in Genesis] is the influence of inividuals on families, families on communities, and fanilly, communities in tribes. Discipling nations begins in the home! (p.101)."
Cope then goes on explaining five "First Lines Of Defence" that the family provides:
1. Values (Education)
God puts the greatest weight of responsibility in education on parents' shoulders, not schools or churches. Children's characters are formed by living with and learning from their parents first. The home is "the grid of reality the child will use to interpret all other influences in life (p.102)".
God is very realistic in His view of human being's sexual behaviour. In lists that seem to contain more gross details than most of us would like (s. Lev. 18:5-24 p.e.), God explains who to have sex with and who (and what) is not an option. For God morality is not the norm, immorality is, that's why He had to teach humans His ways.By observing the commandment "Do not commit adultery" issues like rape, STDs, abortion pedophilia and incest would just cease to exist.
"In both the Old and the New Testament, family is the first line of protection against poverty and economic ruin (p.105)".
"Family members have rights, whether men, women or children and that family members have a responsibility to honor those rights and to carry out those responisbilities (p.107)".
"We can accomplish nothing greater in our community or in nations than what we accomplish in the microcosm of our own home and family. We will reoproduce who we are, and who we are is most revealed in our home where we are known on a daily basis. This is not a trap; this is God's design. (p.113)"
Genesis 1:26-27; 2:18, 20b-25; 3:12, 16-17, 20-21; 4:1-26; 5:1-32; 6:1-2, 4, 10, 18; 7:1, 7, 13; 8:15-16, 18; 9:1, 7-9, 18-29; 10:1-32; 11:10-32; 12:4-5, 11-20; 13:1; 15:2-6; 16:1-16; 17:9-27; 18:10-15; 19:2-17, 30-38; 20:1-18; 21:1-21; 22:1-24; 23:1-20; 24:1-67; 25:1-34; 26:7-11, 34-35; 27:1-46; 28:1-9; 29:1-35; 30:1-43; 31:1-55; 32:1-22; 33:1-20; 34:1-31; 35:16-29; 36:1-30; 37:1-36; 38:1-30; 39: 6b-7, 10, 12-18; 41:45, 50-52; 42:1-38; 43:1-34; 44:1-34; 45:1-28; 46:1-30; 47:1-12, 27-31; 48:1-22; 49:1-33; 50:1-26.
Exodus 1:1-6,15-22; 2:1-10,16-22; 4:18-20,24-31; 6:13-30; 12:26-27; 13:8,14-16,19; 18:1-8,27; 20:12,14,17b; 21:3-11,15,17,22-23; 22:16,19,22-24.
Leviticus 10:4-7; 18:6-23; 19:3,17,20,29,32; 20:9-21; 21:2-4,7,9,13-15; 22:10-13; 25:10b,41,48b-49,54b; 26:9,22,29.
Numbers 1:5-46; 3:1-4; 5:11-31; 25:1,6,14-18; 26:33,46; 27:1-4; 30:3-16; 36:1-12.
Deuteronomy 5:16,18,21; 6:7-9,20-25; 7:3-4,12-14; 11:18-21; 13:6-11; 20:7; 21:10-21; 22:13-30; 24:1-5; 25:5-12; 27:16,20-23; 28:4,11,18,30,41,53-58; 29:22,29; 32:45-47; 33:6,9-10.
Joshua 15:16-19; 23:12b.
Judges 1:12-15; 2:10, 3:6; 8:29-32; 11:1-3, 34-39; 13:2, 24; 14:1-12, 15-18, 20; 15:1-2, 20; 16:1, 4, 31; 17:1-3; 19:1-11, 22-29.
Ruth 1:1b-22; 2:1,20b; 3:1-18; 4:1-22.
1 Samuel 1:1-8, 19b-20, 22-23; 2:19, 21-24, 30-34, 36; 3:13; 4:21-22; 8:1-3; 9:1-2; 10:14-16; 17:58; 18:1-4, 17-29; 19:1-7, 11-17; 20:1-42; 22:3-4; 25:1b-44.
Landa Cope is the Founding International Dean of the College of Communication for Youth With A Mission’s University of the Nations. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Art and Education and a Master’s degree in Humanities and International Studies. Since joining Youth With A Mission (YWAM) in 1971, her public speaking and work in missions have taken her to more than 110 nations.
More information and resources: http://www.templateinstitute.com
Old Testament Template - Rediscovering God's Principles for Discipling all Nations, ISBN 2-8399-0124-2