Who am I in a Presbyterian Family?

Objectives of the Lesson

At the end of this Lesson, the participant will:

  1. Identify the role individuals in the family as stated in the Bible.
  2. Recognise that harmony prevails when each member plays the role.
  3. Understand that it is a responsibility of individuals to play their roles in accordance with the Word of God.



The family is typically started by two individuals, normally from backgrounds which may vary to different degrees. These individuals start a life together in accordance to the design stated in Genesis 2:24. Children born to the couple (Psalm 127: 3-5) may join with time. These are always welcomed with joy and the family lives in one place happily. This forms part of an ideal picture of a family.


Real scenarios are normally not the same as the expected. There are times when the man or woman may be absent for various reasons. There are situations where children are not present at all. There could be individuals who will get into the union, already having children either from previous unions or for a number of reasons. There could be children who may be adopted into the union. There are times when the structure demands that other individuals who are related closely, distantly or not related at all will be in a household.


The combinations and scenarios seem endless. It is possible to live in harmony despite the scenario that may exist in a household. The Presbyterian Church encourages individuals to have deep respect and reverence for the Scriptures as the Word of God. Therefore, principles to live in harmony, based on the Word of God, are Presbyterian Principles. Knowing who you are in a family and the associated role, as mentioned in the Bible is a good step towards living in harmony.


For simplicity, roles may be grouped as Father/Husband, Mother/Wife and Children.

Main Message: Every member of the Family has his or her own role.

After reading the information and watching the video, go to the quiz for this topic and check your understanding and newly found knowledge

Now go to the Puzzle to have some brain excercise to make you grounded in this topic. when you are not sure about anything, come back to the text or rewatch the video as a reminder.



What does the scripture say about a husband in the family? (Colossians 3:19)

“Husbands, love your wives, and do not be embittered against them.”

It has been observed, that what women desire the most is to be truly loved and what men want the most it to be genuinely respected.


It is not hard for a woman to genuinely respect a man that truly loves her, and neither is it hard for a man to truly love a woman that genuinely respects him. Those are the very commands God gives to each to fulfil.



  • This is not a reference to either being physically attracted to her or fond feeling of affection though both of those should also be part of a healthy marriage.


  • The love commanded here is  agape, the love that arises from the will and sacrifices itself for the best interest of the one loved. This is the love Jesus has for us. This is the love that we are to have for one another. This is the love a man is to have for his wife. This love seeks to give instead of get.


  • Ephesians 5:25-33 gives further description to this love. In that passage the husband is commanded three separate times to love his wife. Verse 25 commands, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her.” That is complete sacrifice. Until you have died in the place of your wife, you have not loved her to this extent. That means that every husband still has room to grow in his love for his wife.


  • Verses 28-29 commands and explains, “So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church.” Two examples given:
  • The first is to love her with the same consideration you give to yourself. Treat her with the same kind of care you give to your own body. It takes time, money and thoughtful planning to do all the things that are part of caring for our bodies.


  • The second example is harder for Christ is the example and His care for the church is complete and sacrificial. His care for the church is actually better than our care for our own bodies because He does know what is best while we guess at that. Yet that is still the example set for a husband to follow in loving his wife.


  • Verse 33“Nevertheless let each individual among you also love his own wife even as himself.” Humans are by nature self-centred and proud. We love ourselves. The general command given by Jesus in several different passages is that you are to love your neighbour as yourself. You are to love your wife as you do yourself.




In Colossians 3:19 husbands are commanded not to be embittered against their wives. The word embittered is “pikraivnw / pikrainô”. The root word means to cut, prick due to being sharp, pointed. In reference to smell or taste it is disagreeably pungent. The word is used in Revelation 8:11 in reference to the waters being made bitter. The noun form is used in James 3:11 as a contrast to sweet water. Those lacking wisdom have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in their hearts (James 3:14). The unrighteous have mouths full of cursing and bitterness (Romans 3:14) and a root of bitterness causes trouble and defiles many (Hebrews 12:15).


  • This command is the contrast to the command to love. If the husband and wife are properly fulfilling their roles he will not become bitter against her, but if either fail to do so, then bitterness could rise quickly.


  • A man that generally does walk properly with the Lord can respond sharply to the wife he claims to love if he is caught off guard, over stressed or momentarily selfish.


  • A man who is not diligent to walk with the Lord can easily turn against his wife and become harsh or even respond in anger if he is not getting what he wants.


  • Bitterness may be sharp, but it does not have to expend itself all at once like anger. It can also burn slowly over a long period which is why a root of bitterness can cause so much damage.


  • Love should and will prevent it, but at those points when love is lacking or he finds his wife especially irritating for whatever reason, he is to heed the caution and not allow bitterness into his life.


  • Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth but only words good for edification according to the need of the moment, that it might give grace to those who hear (Ephesians 4:31). There is no room in the Christian husband’s life for jokes and comments that disparage his wife.


  • The command to husbands in 1 Peter 3:7 is helpful in preventing any bitterness from arising. “You husbands likewise, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with a weaker vessel, since she is a woman’ and grant her honour as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.” An “understanding way” is literally, “according to knowledge.” Your wife is to be your life study. Yes, she is very different from you because she thinks very differently than you.


  • Too often men make it a one way street demanding their wives figure them out and change accordingly, but it is actually a two-way street with the greater responsibility placed upon the man. Older women are to teach the younger women how to love their husbands (Titus 2:3-5), so they do have a responsibility to learn about you, but the greater responsibility still lies on you men to do this.



What are the roles of the husband/father in the family?


Ephesians 5:23 states that “For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself [being] the Saviour of the body.” 1 Corinthians 11:3 adds, “But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ.”


  • The man has a responsibility to lead his wife as her head. This is not license for him to do anything he wants at her expense, but rather to take the responsibility to direct his family in the ways of the Lord, for Christ is his head.


  • A leader has the responsibility for the decisions made in the family including those made by wife or children.


  • The position of leadership includes leading in holiness. In Ephesians 5 the example of the love of Christ is that He sacrificed Himself for the church so that He might sanctify her.


  • Leadership encompasses an element of protection from the physical danger and moral evils that exist all around us. Decisions regarding things such as where you live, the jobs you do, the friends you keep, the activities you participate in, and even entertainment choices will have major influence on the way in which you live. If you do not lead your wife into holiness then you will be leading her away from it, and that will wear even on a godly woman. Protect her from evil influences by your godly leadership.



 1Timothy 5:8 states that, “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith, and is worse than an unbeliever”.

  • The context of this verse encompasses not just your wife and children, but also widows in the extended family when necessary.


  • Providing is not about how much money you make, but rather about your own trust in the Lord to do things His way knowing that He is the one that actually provides.


  • Jesus’ promise in Matthew 6:33 is crucial to being a godly provider “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.” God will provide the food, shelter and clothing you need and by which you should be content if you put Him first.


  • 1 Timothy 6:8 makes it clear that we can be content in just having food and covering. If these truths do not direct efforts to provide, it is easy to get caught in the trap of materialism and coveting leads to all sorts of evils.


  • There are couples that live together but remain unmarried because it gives them a financial advantage in taxes or income.


  • There are many more that purposely disobey God’s commandments and compromise their moral convictions in order to take or keep a job.


  • There are even more that fail to keep the priorities God has set for the family in order to pursue gaining lots of stuff in the false belief that is what it means to be a man and provide.


  • There are men who work 60-70-80 hours per week consistently and unnecessarily and often have their wife working too in order to have a big home, luxury cars, fancy meals, exotic vacations and lots of toys and gadgets.


  • What the wife and children need is the husband and father, not the abundance of stuff provided.


  • If it becomes necessary, live in a smaller home with less stuff, drive an older car, eat simply and provide the wife and family with what they really need – sacrificial love, time and godly leadership.


What does the Bible say about the wife/mother in a family?



  • There are cultures where the women are subservient and obedient to their husbands, but that is out of fear, not love. They are dependent on their husbands and fear losing their provider, their position in society, and even their children.


  • The submission called for here is based on a love for Christ that is then extended to the husband willingly. She submits primarily for Jesus’ sake because it pleases Him and secondarily for her husband’s sake. The Christian woman needs to realize that her serving her husband as a godly wife is a major way in which she serves Christ, so it is a voluntary submission to him in the same way that she submits to Jesus Christ.


  • The reason for this is stated in Ephesians 5:23“For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself [being] the Saviour of the body. The idea of the husband being the head is one of position of authority and responsibility, not one of superior to inferior.


  • From 1 Peter 3:1-6, it is easier if the husband is a Christian man who lives out the principles of the Scriptures. However, submission takes place even if the husband is disobedient to the Word. It should be done even if he is not living as he should or is not a Christian at all.


  • It is mentioned in Colossians 3:18that wives are to be subject to their husbands as is fitting in the Lord. Here then are some qualifiers to that submission:


Firstly, submission is primarily to God, then to the husband.

The wife cannot submit to anything he may ask that would violate any of God’s commandments. Ideally the husband would fulfil his role in helping the wife be holy and blameless, but there are many men that would lead the wives in the opposite direction.


Second, submission does not mean allowing abuse.

1 Corinthians 7:10-11 says, “. . . the wife should not leave her husband, but if she does leave, let her remain unmarried, or else be reconciled to her husband.” 


Third, submission does not mean to coddle an unbelieving husband so they will not leave.

 1 Corinthians 7:15 states that, “yet if the unbelieving one leaves, let him leave; the brother or sister is not under bondage in such cases, but God has called us to peace.”  Live a godly life with all humility and with all righteousness. If the spouse cannot stand to see Jesus Christ living in the wife, then they are free to let them leave. It should be ensured that it is righteousness of Christ in the spouse that causes them to leave and not being driven away by sinful manipulations.




  • Ephesians 5:33 states that and let the wife see to it that she respects her husband.”


  • The Proverbs 31 woman enabled her husband to take a position of leadership in the community (Proverbs 31:23). Men are generally fearful and insecure. He may never admit it, but he wants and needs someone to believe in him and encouragement to succeed. God has given that role primarily to wives. Treat him with respect and he will try to take on the world. If you belittle him, you will either lose him or watch him shrivel up into a shadow of what he is supposed to be.


  • The scripture does not say he has to be perfect for you to respect him. Start in the areas you do respect him and then learn from there to treat him with respect.



  • To fulfil the God given role as a godly wife one must be controlled by Holy Spirit first.


  • You must see your life the way God sees it and learn to value what He does. We place too much importance on doing what we think is important rather than on being what God says is important.


  • It is completely up to God what position He puts us in, what gifts He gives us and the extent to which those gifts are used. What God wants from us is simply humble service to Him from our hearts.


  • The Lord values faithfulness, not “success” as the defined by the world. The importance of the position God has given to women is incredible and should never be underestimated by either men or women


  • Do not be jealous of other people including your husband. Be the most godly wife you can possibly be and know that it is pleasing in the Lord’s sight.


  • Put off the vices of the old nature and put on the virtues of the new. Submit to God, fulfil your role and watch Him at work in your life and in the life of your husband.

 What does the Bible say about the role of Children in the Family?

  • First and foremost responsibility in the family is to obey parents. God’s commandment to all children is obey your father and mother in all things, for this is well-pleasing to the Lord.”Ephesians 6:1 says, “For this is right.” 


  • Children, it is right and it is pleasing to the Lord for you to obey your parents in all things.


  • The word “obey” here literally means, “To hear under,” and so includes the idea of hearing and responding positively.


  • Attitude as well as action is important in obedience. If you grumble or whine about what you asked to do, you are not obeying even if you do what you were told. As the Proverbs 6:20  states it; “My son, observe the commandment of your father, And do not forsake the teaching of your mother.” 


  • Learning obedience to your parents is the first step toward learning obedience to the Lord and toward gaining self-control and being considerate of the interests of others.


  • As with all authority there is a hierarchy that starts with God and then descends from there. For children, as with all people, God is to be obeyed first and above anyone else. After God, children are to obey their parents next, and then any other sources of authority as is fitting to the particular situation – government officials, teachers, coaches, etc.


  • Children, you cannot violate any of God’s commandments in trying to obey your parents or others (Matthew 5:10-12).



  • The command to obey your parents arises out of the commandment in Exodus 20:12. Paul expresses that in Ephesians 6:3-4 and adds that honouring your father and mother brings the promise that it may be well with you and that you may live long on the earth. There are blessings in obeying the Lord. This particular promise is both general and specific.
  •  It is general in the sense that a person who has learned obedience has also learned the skills needed to have a good life. The natural consequence of honouring parents and the skills learned from doing so lead to a good life. A good life is also generally a long life. Sin characteristically shortens life while virtue extends it. Similar promises are also made to those who are just in their business dealings (Deuteronomy 25:15), who are wise (Proverbs 3:16) and who generally keeps God’s commandments (Deuteronomy 4:40; 32:47).
    •  This promise is also specific in that it is a direct promise of God to extend a blessing to those who honour their father and mother. This does not mean that God cannot have a different plan for specific individuals even if they do honour their father and mother. Obedience to God in honouring your parents brings His blessings.


      • What then does it mean to honour your parents?

      Primarily it means “to place value upon” them. It is demonstrated in respect and consideration. This has to be done regardless of age. Young children honour their parents through their obedience to them. Older children honour parents through submission, which is willingly following their instruction and advice.


      • When you become an adult and live independently of your parents you are no longer under their authority. The obedience and submission are no longer required because the authority structure has changed. Me leave father and mother and cleave to the wife (Ephesians 5:31). For ladies, the husband is now the head and not the father (Ephesians 5:23). But even so, as adults we are still to give honour to our parents. This is done by showing them respect. If the parents have done their job properly and the children are walking with the Lord, this arises out of the love of devotion. It will be joyful to show respect and appreciation, ask advice, and care for them as needed.


        • But some parents have been bad. Their children suffered at their hands. The past is full of pain, trust has been broken and the current relationship is strained at best. But regardless of the past, you are still responsible before God to honour them. At minimum this means not speaking evil of them, slandering them, letting them go hungry or ignoring them in time of need, for at worst they are still your neighbour which we have been commanded to love as ourselves (Mark 12:31). What will be missing will be the joy. Honouring them will a difficult duty instead of a joyful devotion. Even so, you can still honour them out of your love for Jesus Christ and desire to be obedient to Him.