From the perspective of word studies, in the Scriptures the concept of family draws its meaning from the image of house. The Biblical family was an extended one, consisting not only of those who were united by blood, but all who lived under the same roof. The ethos of family unity was strengthened by the Israelite code of loyalty to one's own family group and corporate responsibility.
The establishment of a covenant between God and the nation of Israel has become the foundational focus in developing a theology of the family. It is covenant love that provides the basis for family. For this reason, family means much more than consanguinity, where bold ties provide the only basis for belonging. Family is where we are loved unconditionally, and where we can count on that love even when we least deserve it. Therefore, in order to understand the family, we must understand a covenant.
A covenant included vows which clarified the expectations of its members for each other. In a covenant the terms exist in order to consummate and maintain the relationship. Furthermore, God serves as witness to all covenants. He is a partner and judge in all relationships.
When family members experience covenant love, grace, and empowering, they will be able to communicate confidently and express themselves freely without feat. Family members will want what is best for one another. They will make a concerted effort to listen, understand, accept differences, values, and confirm uniqueness.
Jesus created a new family, a third race, neither Gentile nor Jew but “in Christ.” Our Lord neither denied nor eliminated the biological family; He provided the means for the human family to become part of His divine family. The dysfunctional family can be healed only by joining the household of God. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God (Ephesians 2:19).
Through God’s Spirit, the church is the extended family for those who receive Him. It is only in the power of God’s Spirit, within the church, that the nuclear family can resist the social forces that attempt to remark the family. As the church approaches the next millennium, it must assume its role in redeeming and strengthening the family.
Ministry With Families, 2014