According to the author of chapter one, western civilization needs to define the ideal meaning of marriage and family terms. He asserts that most people in our contemporary society term family as an institution involving a father, a mother and several children. The society is characterized by an incessant cultural crisis of defining the real meaning of family and marriage terms. Arguably, the two institutions of family and marriage have been criticized in the recent past despite being support by God in his Bible teaching (Kostenberger & Jones, 2004). Moreover, cultural and spiritual battles among numerous communities are fought by marriage and family. The author asserts that bible is the only solution to solve the problems associated with marriage and family in our communities. Bible scriptures are instrumental in the institution of family and marriage because they offer instructions on how to live with one another. Further, theologians provide guidelines to help people in family institutions to make informed decisions concerning infertility, contraception, and abortion. Additionally, they also offer good advice to the unmarried people since they address major challenges to family and marriage.
Nevertheless, there is confusion over marriage and the family in western culture. For instance, the Judeo-Christian heritage of the west has been threatened by libertarian ideology that supports freedom of human beings and their determination in contemporary relationships. Arguably, the biblical tradition model of marriage and the family has greatly declined thus skyrocketing the rate of divorce among people in the community. In this event, children do suffer the negative effects divorce since the incessant separation of parents throws them into a dilemma on which parent to follow. Moreover, divorce brought by the decline of biblical tradition of marriage and family promotes sex outside marriage which may be too confusing to the victims especially those who become pregnant (Kostenberger & Jones, 2004). The above consequences result from the abandonment of biblical foundation that teaches individuals how to stay in marriage and in a happy family.
The absence of biblical, integrative Christian literature on marriage and the family indulges western societies as well as the world to moral confusion. The author argues that neglect of the purpose of marriage and the family as outlined by God make not only the world to suffer but also the church. For instance, the church standards are lowered to the level of the world, therefore, becomes incompetent to offer a reliable solution to the problems encountered in the marriage and the family institutions (Kostenberger & Jones, 2004). The church is not aware of the plan of God had when advocating for the marriage and the family in the world. Further, he argues that the available and popular books made to educate people on the marriage and family matters are very weak and do not adequately address the problems experienced by people in the said institutions. Additionally, Kostenberger and Jones opines that most authors have PhDs in counseling and psychology but have no required site knowledge to train people because they lack the scripture skills spiritually. Biblical counselors believe that theological understanding should support the solution offered to solve the problems faced in marriage and the family as read from biblical teachings.
Further, the author points out that biblical and integrative approach immensely contributes to the teachings of the Bible on marriage and family. According to the book, the Bible teaches the relationships of human beings in marriage and the family institutions in an integrative approach. For instance, it addresses singleness, childbearing, remarriage, divorce as well as homosexuality. Besides, since the bible is the word of God himself, those who are seriously engaged in the teachings and follows them strictly are assured of making strong Christian marriage and family. Therefore, the crisis witnessed in our contemporary families will drastically decline because of Gods honor and reputation directed to the biblical teachings on marriage and the family institutions.
Marriage in the Old Testament is properly explained in the book of Genesis as seen in chapters one to three. According to the author, the book of genesis mainly addresses the generation of Israelites in the wilderness as they were entering Canaan. God provided the design to be followed by marriage in every age. Additionally, marriage is seen as the act of God in His attempts to make human in his likeness and image whereby male and female were the key elements (Kostenberger & Jones, 2004). Arguably, sin is demonstrated as the rebellion of humanity against the will of God as well as the life plans he had for their lives. The biblical teachings of Genesis assert that God created man and woman in his image to rule the earth on his behalf. Additionally, the responsibility of marriage given the first people whereby man was supposed to marry while the woman acted as a companion to man. Therefore the most important responsibility of man is family for the fact that he was created first and woman made from him. The institution of marriage started when God created woman from mans rib and referred her as his wife. Therefore, the marriage phenomenon in the contemporary society is instructions right from God and should be honored.
Nonetheless, the creation of eve depicted that God had plans for man to marry where he advocated for a heterosexual relationship. The biblical teachings opines that Adam was not aware of his singleness and therefore theologians should take a bold step to enlighten young people as well as the unmarried on the importance of family and marriage institution. Subordination of woman to man is Gods instructions since he created woman to be a helper of man. Kostenberger and Jones assert that the fall of humanity and its consequences came when Eve was deceived by Satan (Kostenberger & Jones, 2004). After the ordeal with the serpent, the man started rebelling against his creator. This shows that the woman failed to consult her husband (god-given protector) by doing what the serpent instructed her. The blame was directed to man since he was given full responsibility even to protect his wife. The biblical teachings opine that the relationship between husband and wife deteriorated which explains the crisis that happens in the institutions of family and marriage.
However, different development in the history of Israel led to changes in the family and marriage institutions. For instance, they compromised the ideal marriage plans for God whereby they introduced homosexuality, polygamy, divorce, sterility, and adultery. The design of Gods marriage continued to have some changes especially in the relationship between man and woman. He gave each of them different responsibilities. According to Kostenberger and Jones in Old Testament, husbands were given roles and responsibilities towards their wives. For example, husbands were given responsibility to love and respect their wives, responsibility of marriage and power over family and provide basic needs for his wife (Kostenberger & Jones, 2004). Besides, wives had responsibilities to their husbands as well. Her work was to bear children for the husband, taking care of the household and being the husband companion.
Consequently, components of Gods ideal for marriage in ancient Israel was highly violated. The design of marriage according to God was to be a monogamous and heterosexual relationship. The Israelites violated the ideal marriage by practicing polygamy, divorce, adultery, homosexuality, sterility and the dilution of gender distinction. The author opines that polygamy violated the design pattern of God because He wanted the rule to be one man one wife but the Israelites married many wives. Further, God ideal for marriage was violated in that he advocated for a heterosexual relationship in marriage, but Israel defied his orders by marrying men for men and women for women. Divorce threatened the permanency design of marriage as instituted by God whereby women and men could divorce each other when conflict and disagreement came their way.
Nevertheless, the ideal marriage of God was violated by sterility because he wanted every marriage to bear children. The sterility problem made marriage relationship to be devoid contrary to the design pattern of God (Kostenberger & Jones, 2004). Besides, the sacred bond of man and woman was broken by adultery behavior of the parties. This lead to constant disagreements between them is thereby compromising the purpose of marriage institution as advocated by God.
To conclude, marriage and the family have faced a lot of serious challenges in our contemporary world which ought to be solved through though counseling by organizing seminars and workshops. Arguably, marriage and family institutions are God-given responsibilities, and therefore human being should respect them.
Kostenberger, A. J., & Jones, D. W. (2004). God, marriage & family: Rebuilding the biblical foundation. Crossway.
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