Summary: This lesson considers the scripturaul guidelines regarding appropriate behavior in connection with the differing relationships we form during our lives.

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Multifarious Human Relationships

Hierarchy, Involution, Influence, And Mutability


1. Forming relationships is both natural and essential to our well-being:

"And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him." (Genesis 2:18)

2. In this lesson we shall examine several aspects of the relationships we are likely to experience in our lifetime, and consider the Biblical guidelines for each.

I. Hierarchy And Involution

A. Throughout our lifetime we will form relationships with people in various circles:

1. Family relationships: husband and wife, parent and child, etc.

2. Brethren.

3. Friends (from all circles).

4. Colleagues (work, school, etc.).

5. Associates (Lawyers, shopkeepers, workmen, etc.).

6. Social (Slimming club, golf club, scouts, etc).

B. The nature of these differing relationships demands an appropriate behavior:

1. The relationship between a husband and wife is the most unique and intimate of all relationships. The aspects of our thinking, speech, and behavior around our spouse is not comparable to that when in the presence of others of the opposite sex. The following Scriptures indicate this:

"Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh." (Genesis 2:24)

"Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife." (1 Corinthians 7:2-4)

"Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the savior of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it…So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loves his wife loves himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourishes and cherishes it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband." (Ephesians 5:22-33)

"Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge." (Hebrews 13:4)

2. The relationship we have with our brethren differs with that from non-Christians:

a. What profit would there be in discussing your struggle to live the Christian life with a work colleague?

b. How can you have any fellowship with an unbeliever? (2 Corinthians 6:14).

3. The relationship you have with your boss differs from that which you have with fellow workers. Would you ask a fellow worker for a pay rise?

4. The relationship you have with your children is different from that which you have with other children. Would you discipline another persons child or give them a weekly allowance?


1. The relationships we form with other people are indeed varied and complex. The kind of relationship and the emotional investment depends on a number of factors.

2. It is essential that we recognise, not only that relationships are multifarious, but also that our thinking, speech, and behavior must vary accordingly.

II. Biblical Instruction Regarding Our Behavior

A. The Scriptures contain instructions regarding our thinking, speech, and behavior that is appropriate to varies relationships:

1. The relationships we have considered so far may be labeled ‘Approved’.

2. But there are some relationships that must be avoided altogether!

B. It is not within the scope of this lesson to examine the instructions regarding every possible relationship. Instead, we shall consider some of the most salient.

1. The Lord recognised that, “It is not good for the man to be alone” (Genesis 2:18a), and so made a comparable helper for him (Genesis 2:18b). When a man and women marry they become “one flesh” (Genesis 2:24).

a. This relationship demands:

1) A full commitment because it is a permanent arrangement (1 Corinthians 7:39).

2) A recognition of one’s roles and duties (1 Corinthians 7:3-5; 11:3; Ephesians 5:22-33; Colossians 3:18-19; 1 Timothy 1:15; 1 Peter 3:1-7).

3) Purity:

"So then if, while her husband lives, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress." (Romans 7:3a)

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