Family in the Bible

Exploring Customs, Culture, and Context

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"This volume encourages investigation, raises significant issues, and challenges some uses of the biblical texts in various contemporary issues."--Mignon R. Jacobs, Fuller Theological Seminary

Family in the Bible provides a timely consideration of what the biblical writers had to say about the family and how their views ought to inform a contemporary Christian theology of the family and society in general.

The chapters span the biblical canon and give voice to the depth of perspective and diversity of opinion to be found in the varied cultural traditions described in the Bible. What emerges is a sense of the importance of the family in the societies of the biblical world and how that vision might be adapted today.


"General readability combined with a focused theme of exploring the social world of the family in the Bible makes this collection a valuable tool for ministers and laypeople. A real effort has been made to demonstrate the very different worldview of people in biblical times from our modern, Western perspective. Each author carefully explains how, despite its antiquity, the Bible can be used as a model for instruction, behavior, and reflection. The central theme, the very heart, of this volume is that the modern family, like its ancient counterpart, must seriously take up its role of teaching the young."-Victor H. Matthews, professor of religious studies, Southwest Missouri State University

"Family in the Bible is a helpful survey of a topic important to all readers of the Scriptures. The editors have assembled an impressive team, and the result is a stimulating entrée into the topic, with pertinent and helpful references to guide interested readers in delving deeper. The diachronic and canonical structure of the book is also an improvement over the way the topic is often treated."-Bill T. Arnold, professor of Old Testament and Semitic languages, Asbury Theological Seminary

"The demise of the traditional family in western societies forces Christians to reevaluate their perspectives on this critical issue. This collection of essays will go a long way toward helping us recover a biblical view of the family. The volume derives its strength not only from the contributors' thorough mastery of the biblical material but also from the varied cultural lenses through which they assess the Scriptures: British, North American, South American, and Japanese. This book will serve as an invaluable resource for all who seek to study and teach on the family from a biblical point of view."-Daniel I. Block, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

"This distinctive and valuable study by a panel of internationally recognized biblical scholars raises provocative and challenging questions about how biblical principles can be appropriately applied to a topic so close to our hearts--our families. I recommend it not only to those exploring for the first time what the Old and New Testaments say about family life but especially to those who think they already know what the Bible says about marriage, children, and the extended family."-Karen H. Jobes, associate professor of New Testament, Westmont College

"This volume surveys the representation of family in various genres of the Bible. The contributors offer a spectrum of interpretations and methodological arguments. For those who wish to stimulate thought and discussion on the subject of family and relational bonds in the Bible, this volume encourages investigation, raises significant issues, and challenges some uses of the biblical texts in various contemporary issues."-Mignon R. Jacobs, Fuller Theological Seminary

"This work shows how scholarship can reach out and touch real life taking place thousands of years ago by assessing the cultural background of biblical texts and discovering timeless messages about family life."-David Instone-Brewer, research fellow and technical officer, Tyndale House

The Authors

  1. Richard S. Hess

    Richard S. Hess

    Richard S. Hess (PhD, Hebrew Union College) is distinguished professor of Old Testament at Denver Seminary in Littleton, Colorado, and editor of the Denver Journal. He is the author or editor of more than forty books, including Ancient Israel's...

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  2. M. Daniel Carroll R.

    M. Daniel Carroll R.

    M. Daniel Carroll R. (Rodas) (PhD, University of Sheffield) is Scripture Press Ministries Professor of Biblical Studies and Pedagogy at Wheaton College and Graduate School in Wheaton, Illinois. He previously taught for many years at El Seminario...

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"An excellent book. Both clergy and lay people will appreciate a readable survey of the theory and practice of family life in Bible times, and will be stimulated to reflect on what can be learnt from that for living in today's very different world."--D. L. Baker, Journal for the Study of the Old Testament

"It is delightful to find a serious and substantive resource which deals with the myriad of family expressions, issues, and concerns that are found in the biblical text. This book makes it obvious that there is not just one biblical family model to be found and followed, but rather there are multiple family circumstances, problems, and dynamics presented through all of the biblical revelation which provide insights and principles for living as Christian families in our own times. . . . Each biblical section is researched and presented by evangelical theologians who represent various parts of the world, including Guatemala, Costa Rica, England, Canada, Japan and the United States. Thus the research presented reflects a multinational perspective, although each writer is careful to be faithful to the biblical text rather than simply to reflect his cultural concerns about the family."--William E. Goff, Southwestern Journal of Theology

"The plan and approach of the book are clear and straightforward. . . . The essays also attempt to comment on how biblical materials in their cultural context speak in practical ways to Christians in our own contemporary society. Hess and Carroll's volume is a decidedly biblical and theological treatment of the subject. . . . Evangelical readers who seek a general overview of what the Bible has to say about the family will find a good entrée in Hess and Carroll, particularly if one is interested in a biblical, theological, and practical exposition of the Scriptures."--Milton Eng, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society