Posted by: SandreS | September 6, 2009

The Display of God’s Family-Life

God’s family of faith has divine life. It should show forth its unique relationship of family ties, those of closely knit relatives – siblings. This bond can be seen, actively displayed in many ways, in the ministry of Paul:

House Meetings

The saints gathered with each other in homes – the place where families live.

Likewise greet the church that is in their house (Romans 16:5).

… Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord, with the church that is in their house (I Corinthians 16:19).

Salute the brothers which are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church which is in his house (Colossians 4:15).

And to our beloved Apphia, and Archippus our fellowsoldier, and to the church in your house (Philemon 1:2).

Shared Possessions

The saints shared their material possessions with each another – as families do.

Distributing to the necessity of the saints … (Romans 12:13).

As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith (Galatians 6:10 – note the priority of the saints in this matter).

Eating Together

The saints ate together, the table being a very family-oriented place.

When he therefore came up again, and had broken bread, and eaten, and talked a long while, even until break of day, so he departed (Acts 20:11).

Warm Greetings

The saints greeted each other warmly – in a family way.

Salute one another with a holy kiss (Romans 16:16).

… Greet one another with a holy kiss (I Corinthians 16:20).

Greet one another with a holy kiss (II Corinthians 13:12).

Greet all the brothers with a holy kiss (I Thessalonians 5:26).

Hospitality

The saints showed hospitality toward one another.

– Instruction was given to the saints, that they were to be,

… Given to hospitality (Romans 12:13).

– Hospitality was to be characteristic of leadership.

A bishop then must be … given to hospitality (I Timothy 3:2).

For a bishop must be … a lover of hospitality (Titus 1:7-8).

– Hospitality was to be characteristic of widows considered for support (I Timothy 5:10).

… If she has lodged strangers … (I Timothy 5:10).

There are many examples of hospitality in Paul’s letters (c.f. Acts 16:15; 21:8, 16; Romans 16:23; Philemon 22).

Widow Care

The saints cared for their widows (I Timothy 5:1-16). They did so because this is the activity of an extended family.

Use of Family Terms

The saints used terms that reinforced the concept of family.

– Brother (used 31 times by Paul)

– Brethren (brothers, 100)

– Sister (4)

What pleasure there is for parents when there is love and harmony among their children. How true this must also be for God.

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity! (Psalm 133:1).

Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
Bible Student’s Notebook
© 1995, 2009 Bible Student’s Notebook

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