Honor Your Father and Mother - The 10 Commandments

What does the Bible say about honoring your parents?

The last six of the Ten Commandments deal directly with mankind’s relationship to others. Each of these commandments addresses a different aspect of daily life and how mankind is to live peaceably with each other. As the Apostle Paul stated, “Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false witness,’ ‘You shall not covet,’ and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” (Romans 13:8-10) These last six commandments, found in Exodus 20, are as equally important as the first four, as all the commandments emphasize unity and right relationships.

The first of these is found in verse 12: “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God is giving you.”

To honor the father and mother meant to show respect to them as the authority of the home and head of the family. Also, one’s relationship with their father and mother mirrored their relationship to Father God. And a right relationship with God often promoted a right relationship with the earthly father and mother. The two went hand in hand. Those who honored God held the same honor for their father and mother. And those who honored their father and mother honored God, who placed parents as authorities over households.

The benefit of this kind of right relationship had both physical and spiritual implications. According to the law, one who cursed their father or mother was worthy of death. So, obviously, if an individual honored their parents, that individual would not die a criminal’s death. But if, as a nation, they held a spirit of honor toward those in authority, they had the benefit of living a blessed life. They lived in harmony with God, thus enabling them to dwell in the Promised Land. Unfortunately, the usurping of authority was the ultimate downfall of Israel, initially the authority of God and then ultimately the political authority of the invading nations. The spirit of independence overtook the Israelites, bringing down upon them the curse of eviction from the Promised Land.

This is the only commandment with a promise attached to it. And yet God’s promises are eternal, still providing benefits for believers today. While Christians are no longer bound by the law, they are still obligated to follow the Godly principles, and God is still obligated to keep His promises to those who show respect for the father and mother that God has placed over them.

Written by: Amy Miller