Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them. Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord. Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. (Colossians 3:16-21)
The Context For The Family
It has been said that a text without a context is a pretext. One of the important tools to study scripture is to remember to embrace a passage with the frame of the discussion that surrounds it so that a deeper sense of meaning is given. Taking a single verse without understanding the previous thought by the writer may not bring to mind all that God wants to be considered. There are valuable lessons for the family to learn. The relationship of the husband and wife is very important to follow the design as intended by the Lord. Parenting is an incredible journey fraught with uncertainty and questions. Learning the best way to impress upon hearts of children the love of God is vital to the happiness of the home. How the children react can largely be dependent upon the leadership of the home. Contextually the admonitions for the family should only be understood in the light of what Paul wrote earlier.
Wives must learn how to subject themselves to their own husbands and the husband must learn how to love his wife without being bitter towards them. Children are commanded to obey their parents in all things because that is the will of God. The leadership of the home is placed upon the shoulders of the father who must guide the home. For those who are raised with Christ and seek the things that are above are changed people. They are the elect of God, holy and beloved who have put on the character of tenderness, kindness, humility and many other godly virtues. Love rules the home. All of this is accomplished because the home is built upon the word of Christ dwelling in the hearts of each individual. This must be the beginning place for the woman to learn how to submit herself to her husband. As the leader of the home in the role of a husband who loves his wife and guides the hearts of the children, the man seeks the word of God to guide him in teaching and admonishing his family. The word of God dwells in the heart of children and they obey their parents because they serve the Lord. Songs fill the home in praise to God as the family is a worshipping body of people who love the Lord in word and deed. Everything about the character of wife and husband is done in the name of the Lord Jesus. Mothers and fathers teach their children to follow after the will of God in all decisions of life. The home built upon the word of God is a family filled with the thanksgiving of God the Father. They realize all blessings come from Him.
The context for the family is established in all of the attributes of the relationship of the disciple of Christ. Women may find it hard to submit themselves to their husbands but when they engage their hearts in the word of God they will learn the beauty of His arrangement. It is more the nature of men to be bitter towards their wives. Being men of faith and loving the Lord with all the heart will show the path of righteousness to love their wives. As the elect of God, the man and woman show the glory of the Lord in their marriage because they let the word of Christ dwell in their hearts richly in all wisdom. Children obey their parents when they see the love of God first in the hearts of the father and mother. Their obedience is because they love the Lord like their parents. Everything in the home comes from doing all things in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father. The family will find the peace of God ruling in their hearts when they follow the pattern for a godly home.