SPF 217: What is Biblical Patriarchy?

What is patriarchy and should we smash it? Today I’m sharing about biblical patriarchy and how we can prove faithful when we are tempted to believe the patriarchy is toxic.

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The Patriarchy

Patriarchy means “father rule.”

With biblical patriarchy, men are leaders of their own household. They have a great responsibility, and role, and providing for and protecting their family, and it is done at the cost of their lives.


Ephesians 5:23, 5:25, 6:4

Genesis 2:24

Malachi 2:15

Deuteronomy 6 and 9

God made fathers to rule, and when they are obedient and faithful to the Lord God, there is great blessing.

Can patriarchy turn toxic?

As we have it, all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God which means even the best husband who desires to honor God, will at times fail at his patriarchal duties or be forgetful, or wander off the path. Of course this affects the entire family, and it is not without consequence. When we sin that usually affects not just ourselves but those around us. The same is for fathers who are not faithful in ruling their family well. This could mean they abdicate responsibility, or they Let the power of being the head of the household go to their head, and abuse their position.

What is our response?

I love the wisdom Doug Wilson offers to the objection that “if you grant this office to men, it will go to their heads, and they will abuse their position. He says first, it is not a nebulous you that grants this position to men, but rather the words of God in scripture. Second when they sin in this position as they certainly do, we should seek to counter such disobedience with more obedience not less obedience. Hypocrisy does not have the power to change the exegesis of any particular passage.”

  1. Biblical patriarchy was designed by God and from His authority patriarchy exists.

  2. Sin doesn’t nullify the offices God has given.

  3. Pray for your husbands and study and apply 1 Peter 3:1-2

  4. Train up the young men in your home to be future godly patriarchs.

  5. Remember that no authority has absolute power or authority.

  6. Christ’s perfection is what we rest our hope on, not on sinful man.

“Patriarchy is inescapable, and our only choice is between men being faithful, for blessing, and then failing, for humiliation and chastisement. The thesis is not that men are good, but rather than men are crucial. When they are crucial and selfish a lot of bad things happen. When they are crucial and obedient a lot of good follows.” – Douglas Wilson

The article from Doug Wilson: https://dougwils.com/books-and-culture/s7-engaging-the-culture/patriarchy-vision-forum-and-all-the-rest-of-it.html

Reformation Heritage Books: https://www.heritagebooks.org/products/how-should-men-lead-their-families-cultivating-biblical-godliness-series-ebook-beeke.html


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