Summary: 1) A Word to Husbands (Colossians 3:19), 2) A Word to Children (Colossians 3:20), 3) A Word to Parents (Colossians 3:21)

One of the most terrifying moments of a not-yet-married man’s life is meeting his girlfriend’s father. The much-anticipated introduction is an unending fountain of humor for friends and family, but it’s more often an occasion for horror for the young man. What will dad say? What will he ask? Will he be armed? The moment is a mountain to overcome in almost any relationship... Part of the problem is trying to understand a father’s role in his daughter’s pursuit of marriage. In today’s ideal scenario, she brings home a guy the whole family can love, and the rest is matrimony. But as good as ideal sounds, it’s hard to find that picture in the Bible, and ultimately it’s far too simple for most not-yet-married realities anyways. What if dad isn’t all that involved in her life? What if her parents aren’t believers? How about if she moved and met her man far away from home? What if she’s still single at 25, 30, maybe even 40? These kinds of complexities can make honoring parents, setting expectations, and finding husbands feel hopeless. As a trend, dads seem to be less and less involved in their daughter’s dating. It actually makes for a dangerous situation because God means for spiritual headship and leadership to be a more seamless handoff, not this disjointed affair that leaves the young woman spiritually and emotionally uncovered from age fifteen until her wedding day. We’ve relegated dads to a last-minute interview before engagement when God meant for them to be active, available agents of wisdom and safekeeping. Foolish dads relish the gun-bearing, tough-guy role. The wise dads relish the opportunity to develop a real, intentional, grace-and-truth relationship with the man who might be tasked with caring for their daughter for the rest of her life. (

In the first century, the role of the Father was much different than today. For the Colossian context, it was much more of a ruling male. The ancient world was a man’s world, and even among the Jews the wife was often little more than chattel. Jew and Gentile alike assumed that the head of a household would wield an authority which others were bound to obey. Paul does not openly challenge this assumption, but he modifies both the authority and its acceptance by the Christian principle of mutual love and deference, so that both are transformed. (Vaughan, C. (1981). Colossians. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Ephesians through Philemon (Vol. 11, p. 218). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.).

Irregardlessif you are a man or a woman, a child or a parent, a grandparent or have never had kids, Colossians 3 is speaking to you. In the context of Fatherhood, every person in the body of Christ should see a role and responsibility. The person in Christ has a new center of reference, a new Lord of life, and thus operates out of a totally new understanding of reality (Dunnam, M. D., & Ogilvie, L. J. (1982). Galatians / Ephesians / Philippians / Colossians / Philemon (Vol. 31, p. 386). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc.)

Through wise, godly counsel, in Colossians 3:19-21 the Apostle Paul shows the roles, responsibilities, attitudes and actions for members of a godly family, through:

1) A Word to Husbands (Colossians 3:19), 2) A Word to Children (Colossians 3:20), 3) A Word to Parents (Colossians 3:21)

1) A Word to Husbands (Colossians 3:19)

Colossians 3:19 [19]Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them. (ESV)

In Ephesians 5:25, Paul wrote, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church.” Obviously, in spite of the failings of the church, Christ has continually loved her with grace and forgiving mercy and thus has never become bitter because of the church’s many sins.

To show the love of God, Paul addresses two commands to husbands. First, they must love their wives. Although is may seem so bizarre that this is commanded we can see many reasons for it. Woman are not directly commanded to do this. As a whole they are loving and nurturing. But as a general tendency, men are not loving. Relating the drive that many men have in the rest of their lives, women can be seen as a conquest, and once conquered, as an object to fulfill needs and desires. This tendency for selfish dominance is the starting point for this command.

Paul urges husbands to “love [agapate] your wives.” This of course is their supreme duty. Agapaô does not just denote affection or romantic attachment; it rather denotes caring love, a deliberate attitude of mind that concerns itself with the well-being of the one loved. Self-devotion, not self-satisfaction, is its dominant trait. (Vaughan, C. (1981). Colossians. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Ephesians through Philemon (Vol. 11, p. 218). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.)

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