Lord's Day 30

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From early on, each of us has been taught that we are to honor our mother and father, but have we every really studied what this commandment means? Is it simply, obey your parents and do what they tell you to do, or does the commandment suggest more than blind obedience. Notice the word used in the commandment is “Honor,” not “obey;” so what does this commandment really mean? 

The word used here for honor in the Hebrew word is “kabed” which can be translated as “honor, make heavy, glorify, make glorious.” This is the same word that is used when the Bible speaks of the “glory of God.” Glory and honor mean to give weight or importance to something, to treat that which is honored with reverence and devotion. For us, then, to honor our parents would mean to take them seriously, to give them the respect and honor that is due their position, and to esteem them with great importance in our lives. 

Traditionally, this commandment has been taught to include far more than your parents. We are to honor all those in authority over us, be it Civil, Spiritual, or Familial leaders. God has placed us in a variety of relationships, where some have authority over us, some are our peers, and we have authority over others. With a spirit of mutual love and respect, we are to honor and esteem all people. 

We obey God’s commandment by showing regard and mutual esteem for one another, loving them dearly, thinking highly of them, listening to their advice and obeying their just commands, praying for those in authority, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. The apostle Paul sums it up well in Romans 12:10, “Outdo one another showing honor.” This is how God would have us honor and esteem our parents. 


Almighty God, we thank you for our mothers and fathers, and for all those in authority over us, for their guidance, protection, and spiritual care. Help us to live and serve one another in such a way as to bring honor to those in authority over us, as we seek to live for your glory and honor. In Jesus’ name. Amen. 

Question 63

Q. 63. Which is the fifth commandment?

A. The fifth commandment is, Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.

Scripture Proofs

Ex. 20:12.

“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.

Question 64

Q. 64. What is required in the fifth commandment?

A. The fifth commandment requireth the preserving the honor, and performing the duties, belonging to every one in their several places and relations, as superiors, inferiors, or equals.

Scripture Proofs

Eph. 5:21;

submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.

1 Pet. 2:17;

Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.

Rom. 12:10.

Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.