May 27, 2021 by SLIMJIM
John Bunyan. Family Duty. Pensacola, FL: Chapel Library, July 12th 2016. 35 pp.
4 out of 5
Free: Chapel Library
Want a booklet on a biblical view of family? Specifically would you want to have something to read concerning the roles of a husband, wife, father, mother, and children? This is one that I would recommend. I read this in one sitting and pulled nearly an all-night reading since it was spiritually edifying. This booklet is by the famous preacher and Christian author John Bunyan. It is amazing to think that he died in 1688 but his work is relevant for the 21st Century; that is a testimony of how when writers focus on being biblical it always is timely.
The booklet is divided into four parts. Part one is on the duty of fathers, the next part is duty of wives, then duty of parents to children and finally duty of children to parents. Each of these four sections have further subsections in typical Puritan fashion. For instance under duty of fathers there is “Duty to the Family’s spiritual needs” and “Duty to the Family’s Outward needs.” The section for duty of parents to children have three points: Instruction, Correction and Cautions.
I thought this booklet was biblical and practical. For instance in the exhortation towards fathers the author said we must distinguished between offenses a family member has against you versus directly against God. It is important as Bunyan note that if it is towards us primarily we should forgive. I would also add to Bunyan’s observation that if it is directly towards God the offense as the primary motivation of a family members’ transgression we shouldn’t take it so personally; though we should care and pray about it and respond properly. I also thought the advice to both husbands and wives of those married to unbelieving spouse were also quite pastoral of Bunyan and also practical. For something written in the seventeenth century readers might assume it is unhealthily patriarchal but there is a respect of wives Bunyan has that’s driven by the Word of God. My favorite quote from the booklet is “The wife is master next after her husband, and is to rule all in his absence” (15). It stood out to me as a good reminder that my wife is a leader of my family specifically with my kids. So it’s important I guide and lead her to also cultivate her as a spiritual leader of my children.
An edifying read. Even if you think you are well versed with a biblical view of marriage I think this is still worthwhile as it’s something to refocus our duty whether we are children or a parent.