Often, we treat the scriptures as if they are one giant “how-to manual.” Want to be a better husband? Or wife? How about being a better parent? Well, the Bible has all you need to know about how to thrive in those roles!
Or, so we think. And as a result, a lot of sermons, seminars, conferences, books, podcasts, videos, and retreats get put together reinforcing this idea.
The Bible Is Relatively Quiet
Of course, when you actually open the Bible, you’ll find there isn’t much in the way of direct teaching on any of these issues. That’s not to say the Bible doesn’t speak on such topics. There’s certainly a smorgasbord of verses in the scriptures that directly speak on issues directly pertaining to all the different roles we may find ourselves in.
But such verses are very few and far in-between. A couple verses here and there in Proverbs, and a few verses in Ephesians and Colossians. But that’s mostly it.
Yet, if you were to walk into any Christian bookstore today (for the few that actually exist), or look at what a lot of seminars and special functions at church consist of, you’d largely find things catering towards topics on being a better husband, wife, or parent.
The Church Is Historically Quiet Too
Interestingly enough, if you were to do a survey of church history and all the great Christian ministers, you would find they didn’t say all that much on a lot of our favorite pet topics. They addressed them from time to time sure enough. But you didn’t find them producing a lot of specific material on these issues.
It would appear based on Scripture and church history, our obsession with how we function within our family roles is rather novel. As I pointed out in a prior podcast, we have this strange affinity in American Christianity for the nuclear family unit. It has a way of warping the way we “do church.” In recent years, we even invented the role of “children” and “youth pastors,” to focus on this mindset.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not against having any of these things per say. I have been actively involved in high school youth ministry for many years now.
Our Modern Emphasis Is Off
But I can’t help but wonder if our emphasis has been off? What if instead of coming to the Bible and trying to read it as a manual on being a better husband, I simply read it in order to better know God?
And what marriage couldn’t be helped if we simply became better Christians? How different would they be if we simply better practiced things like love, forgiveness, patience, gentleness, and kindness?
What if instead of focusing on being a better husband, I simply drew closer to Christ, and attempted to cultivate the fruit of the Spirit in all facets of my daily life?
And, what if instead of focusing on being a better husband, I simply looked to extend the same grace that God has extended to me to others (including my spouse)?
A Better Approach
I can’t help but think that if I better know God, that would instantly transform all the relationships in my life. It would transform my life as a son, a husband, a father (one day), a co-worker, a neighbor, and in every other role that I might function in over the span of my life.
Yes, marriage might have some of its own special hang-ups that need some specialized teaching from time to time. The same goes with being a parent, a leader, etc.. But at the end of the day, I believe we need to stop turning to the Bible as a manual on how to be a better [INSERT ROLE HERE], and instead, simply come to the Lord as a child of God who is looking to grow in the grace of God.
Ultimately, if I grow as a Christian in following Jesus, I believe I’ll grow in regard to everything else going on in my life. God’s grace will flow into me and spread out into everything else I am involved with.
But if my focus is simply on how to be a better husband, there is a very good chance I won’t actually become one. Yet one thing is for sure, if my relationship with God is transformed, all my other relationships will be transformed as well.