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Christian House Family
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First Urban

StepsWayne A. Meeks wrote in "The First Urban Christians - The Social World of the Apostle Paul" that, "Unity would be more enforceable in a smaller household than in a larger one. The expectation would of course be more relevant to some kinds of cultic activities, such as those of the traditional Roman household, than to others, such as city cults in which the heads of the Christian household families might occasionally have obligations."✞

Patriarchal Family

Likewise in the General Epistles, the Christian house family was social units to which salvation often came. Hebrews 11.7 said, "By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith." Here the writer makes reference to Noah building an ark for the salvation of his "house and to save his family." Although this was in the first instance a physical salvation rather than a spiritual one, Hebrews was clearly applying it in a spiritual direction. 1 Peter 3.19-22 also made the same spiritual point, "After being made alive, [or "made alive in the spirit"], in which also he went and made proclamation to the imprisoned spirits, to those who were disobedient long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also, not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God." [or "an appeal to God for a clear conscience."] It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at God's right hand with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him." This emphasis was on Noah's faith. The rest of Hebrews 11 emphasized how the Old Testament family of God also exercised faith.✞

"Christian House Family"
by Ron Meacock © 2018

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