Scriptural Basis for Definition of “Marriage” and “Family”

Where in the Bible does Focus on the Family get its definition of "marriage" and "family"? Whenever I browse your website I come away feeling excluded and marginalized. I know you'll disagree with what I'm about to say, but I consider myself a dedicated Christian and a homosexual. My partner and I love each other deeply. We're totally committed to our relationship. As far as I'm concerned, we're as much a "family" as any heterosexual couple with 2.5 kids. You may not realize it, but your material is extremely hurtful to people like me.

Before taking a look at the biblical understanding of the family, we have to say that you’ve seriously misunderstood our perspective. We’re not interested in “marginalizing” anyone. We have no reason to doubt that you and your partner are decent, intelligent, upstanding, law-abiding individuals. Yes, we believe what the Bible has to say about homosexual behavior. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t accept you and your partner as individuals or acknowledge your positive contributions to the community. What we cannot do is call your relationship a “marriage” or a “family.”

Why not? Because, in our view, marriage is about more than just love, support, and commitment. It is specifically about love, support, and commitment between one man and one woman. In other words, marriage is heterosexual by definition. Marriage is an unreserved commitment of two persons to one another in a process of becoming “one flesh.” In the biblical view, this includes the melding together of the masculine and feminine principles which God has built into the human race by making us male and female. We base this definition on the words of Jesus Himself: “From the beginning of creation, God made them male and female. For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh…” (Mark 10:6-8, quoting Genesis 2:24).

Our definition of “family” rises out of our definition of marriage. It’s implied in this biblical teaching concerning the maleness and femaleness of humanity. It flows from Scripture’s assertion that God created one man and one woman, brought them together, and commanded them to “be fruitful and multiply.”

In other words, we believe that the pattern for the family’s continued existence is contained in the Bible’s account of its origins. Man and woman, in their respective roles as mother and father, form the nucleus around which the family unit revolves. This means that a “family” is a group of individuals who are related to one another organically by marriage, birth, or adoption. It’s not just a collection of people who make a decision to live together on the basis of common goals and interests or mutual affection.

If you don’t find this answer convincing, or if you need additional help understanding these concepts, call us. Focus on the Family has a staff of pastoral counselors who would love to speak with you over the phone.


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