We do not have to look hard to find Scriptures on relationships, for God, after all, is a God of relationship. He exists in a union of three divine persons who relate uniquely to each other, and He lovingly created us in His image to worship Him in the way He intended.
In fact, the entire Bible paints a picture of God’s tremendous love for us, His children, in that He gave His only begotten son, Jesus, so that everyone might have a new, restored relationship in the family of God by grace through faith.
The passages on relationships in the Bible are comprehensive in giving us wisdom for each and every role we have been given in life, whether we are husbands, wives, children, parents, friends, employees or employers.
Scriptures on Relationships
Let’s explore 5 key Bible verses about relationships here:
Our Most Important Relationship
“I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” – John 15:5
God has rescued us from a fruitless, dead life, through the death and resurrection of his son Jesus. Through belief in Jesus, we are made alive and given the right to become children of God. As we walk in faith, God calls us to “abide in him.”
In the language of Scripture, this means more than merely remaining in one place. It implies an adherence to a thing, or a union with, and connection with it. We are to draw near to God and remain close to Him, and this is not just a command that is given without enabling ability – He directs what needs to be done (keep in close relationship with Him) and He gives us the power to do this.
Through reading God’s Word, praying, and living in community with other believers, we learn to love and obey God, who is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness – exactly the attributes that we seek to emulate in all our earthly relationships. The health of our relationship with the Lord will have a direct impact on the quality of the relationships around us.
Bible Verses for Couples
For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. – Ephesians 5:23-25
When it comes to wisdom on marriage relationships in the Bible, this can be an unpopular and misunderstood verse, given our secular culture where equality is prized above all else. While God views all people as equal, He creates different roles for men and women in marriage, and understanding and striving to fulfil this God-given role is critical to the success, health, and godliness of every marriage.
In this way, a Christian marriage reflects Christ’s love for his church. The husband, a loving leader, is in a position of authority over his wife, and he serves her sacrificially in this role. The wife, in turn, willingly submits to her husband, respecting his leadership. In Ephesians 5:33, Paul ends what has been subtitled in the NIV Bible, “Instructions for Christian Households,” by exhorting husbands to love their wives and for wives to respect their husbands.
There is a reason why he uses this particular choice of words. The Lord knows that, in a fallen world, women will naturally want to usurp their husband’s leadership, so they need to pour their efforts towards cultivating respect. Men, in turn, may be tempted to abuse their position of authority, and need to work towards being loving and tender with their wives.
Scriptures on Relationships with Family
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honor your father and mother’—which is the first commandment with a promise—‘so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.’ Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. – Ephesians 6:1-4
As we continue to read what Paul says, we find these Bible verses about relationships in Ephesians. He refers back to one of the Ten Commandments and directs children to obey their parents in the Lord. Likewise, parents are not to frustrate their children, but to do everything they can to pass on God’s precepts for upright living.
These short instructions can seem overly simplistic today, where the internet bursts with parenting strategies and children are at the centre of frenzied efforts to hone their sporting, academic and cultural ability. Somewhere along the way, however, we have lost our focus on God’s priorities. As Christian parents, would we do well to turn to scriptures on relationships with our children, before we Google how to solve a behavioural problem?
Verses about Friendship
A friend loves at all times and a brother is born for adversity. – Proverbs 17:17
This verse on friendship relationships in the Bible guides us toward what true friendship looks like. It’s easy to associate with people who we have fun with, but what happens when a situation or friendship gets difficult or starts to cost us something?
There are various interpretations of this proverb, but it is true to say that a real friend loves his friend in prosperity and adversity; he is more than a friend in time of need, he is a brother, as affectionate and as trusty as one connected by the closest ties of relationship. This is the friend we should aim to be; and we will be blessed to be on the receiving end of this kind of friendship.
Work Relationships in the Bible
Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free. And masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him. – Ephesians 6:5-9
The Bible clearly outlines the employee-employer relationship, even though the context of slaves and masters is slightly different. We shouldn’t be surprised to see that we need to work heartily at whatever position God has given us, and regardless of whether our earthly bosses deserve our respect or not.
And if we are employers, we need to serve those working for us, providing them with financial security, a sense of belonging, and the emotional satisfaction that comes from doing good work. And we needn’t stop there; if Jesus were running a business, what else would he do to bless those around him?
When it comes to handling the various relationships we have been given in life, we needn’t feel like we’ve been left without a roadmap. Scriptures on relationships abound for each and every context, and the Holy Spirit will guide us individually as we seek out wisdom; and look to glorify God in how we act and respond towards one another.
“Chatting”, Courtesy of Alex Holyoake, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Looking to the Future”, Courtesy of Joao Silas, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Laughter,” courtesy of Priscilla du Preez, unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Maria & Eleanor’s Hands,” Courtesy of Steve Hodgson, Flickr CreativeCommons (CC BY-SA 2.0)