Chapter 1 – Family is a Doorway

When I was younger, I wondered why the Bible didn’t say more about family relationships. There are a handful of passages such as those in Ephesians 5, Colossians 3, and 1 Peter 3. Jesus made a few statements here and there. But it seemed meager. We spend more time with family members than anyone else. They are our most consistent source of conflict and of character growth. So why, I thought, was there such a disproportionately small amount of instruction for how to relate to them?


Over time I realized family is actually the most prominent topic in the Bible. However, it is mostly addressed through pictures and metaphors. This is because biological family is not an end in itself. It is a sign that points to something greater. Biological families are a doorway through which we discover God. God’s first goal is not that we become a great spouse or parent or child or sibling, but that we become like Him. Therefore, instead of instructing us how to act in these roles, the Bible shows us what God is like in these roles. 


Family reveals the kingdom of God. Family reveals heaven. In heaven, the saints are all brothers and sisters and they have one Father. Jesus is the eldest Brother, the firstborn among many brethren (Romans 8:29). Altogether, the saints compose a bride and Jesus is our Husband. Learning to represent God well in our biological families equips us to relate to our eternal families. It’s where we learn the culture of the kingdom. It prepares us for heaven and the age to come. It makes us more effective ambassadors during our time on earth.


Walking in God’s Shoes

Have you heard the expression you don’t really know someone until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes? God wants us to walk in His shoes. He wants us to stand in His place and experience what He experiences.


We see examples of this in scripture. Abraham sacrificing Isaac represented the Father one day sacrificing Jesus for our sins. Hosea taking an adulterous wife represented Israel committing adultery with false gods. When Ezekiel’s wife died, God told him not to mourn, which symbolized God no longer mourning over Israel, since they had completely abandoned Him. In these examples, God asked one of His followers to be an illustration of what He Himself was going through. He asked them to feel a piece of what He was feeling. This is one of the roots of spiritual growth – identifying with God and feeling the weight of His burdens. 


Therein lays the most incredible opportunity of family life. The home is where we are most shaped into God’s image because it is where we step into roles that most closely mirror His nature and learn to function in them. For example:



  • Fathers represent God the Father to their children.
  • Mothers represent God’s nurturing qualities to their children (ex. Deuteronomy 32:18, Isaiah 49:15, 66:13, Matthew 23:37).
  • Husbands represent Christ to their wives (Ephesians 5:23).
  • Wives represent the Holy Spirit to their husbands. (Scripture gives both wives and the Holy Spirit a primary title of helper. This will be discussed in detail later.)


Many of the most important metaphors scripture gives for how God relates to us are familial. Do you want to grow closer to God and become more like Him? Then become great at the role you are called to that most closely reflects Him. Become great at family.


The best hope the world has of seeing the relationship between Jesus and the church is through godly marriages. The best chance the world has of seeing how God relates to His children is through godly parents. When we pray for God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven, we are essentially praying for the establishment of an eternal family.


About This Book

This is the first book in a two-book series. It covers marriage and sexuality. The second book, Lessons from a Fractured Family, covers parenthood and intergenerational relationships. I occasionally tell stories to illustrate concepts. Stories from my own life are true. However, with stories about other people, some details have been changed.


Much of what I wrote in these books I learned through my mistakes. For several years, I badly mistreated my wife, rejected counsel from my parents, in-laws, pastors, and friends, and nearly destroyed my marriage. I discuss bits and pieces of my testimony throughout. After I repented, through scripture, the Lord began showing me how He views my marriage, my children, my parents, and other spiritual influencers in my life. He taught me how the enemy attacks these relationships and how to overcome him. He taught me principles for how to protect and nurture them.


In addition, the books address a number of topics not directly connected to my personal journey, but are nevertheless related to the overall themes of marriage and family. I occasionally make generalizations about men or women. As with any generalization, in the real world there are exceptions. I encourage you to receive any statement that is helpful and applicable to you.


All scripture quotations are from the NASB version unless otherwise stated. This is an important point because many of the passages I quote or cite are worded quite differently in other versions, sometimes even saying the opposite of what the NASB states. Therefore, when checking any quotations or citations for accuracy, I strongly recommend using a literal word-for-word translation such the NASB, NKJV, KJV, or YLT rather than popular thought-for-thought translations, or interpretations, which leave far more room for translators to insert their own views and doctrines into the text.


This book is available free of charge through my website, If you benefit from this and other books/papers/articles I’ve written, please consider supporting my work with a donation through my website. Regardless of whether you donate, thank you sincerely for taking the time to read my work.



In the next chapter, we’ll take a look at God’s design for marriage from the beginning of creation and how His design was distorted by the fall.