Honoring your Father and Mother – What does it Mean?

One of the Ten Commandments says, in Exodus 20:12  "Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God is giving you. "


What does this mean?


Jesus referred to it as a commandment that the Scribes and Pharisees were violating through their traditions

Mat 15:3  He answered and said to them, "Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition?
Mat 15:5  But you say, 'Whoever says to his father or mother, "Whatever profit you might have received from me is a gift to God"—
Mat 15:6  then he need not honor his father or mother.' Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition.

To honor your parents is the opposite of "to curse" them. Jesus contrasts the two as opposites in the way he quotes the Scriptures here.

To honor your parents has a number of elements.

Firstly, as much as possible, to speak of them with respect. Speak good of them, talk about their good points, praise them, raise them in the esteem of others by the way you talk of them and by the way you treat them.

Secondly, honoring your father and mother is related to the concept of BLESSING them. A blessing can be a good word, or to speak well of (interestingly in the Romanian language the two are virtually the same). Blessing means not only good words, but if your parents were to have financial needs, or needs for care, you should give them financial needs.

You can't get around the financial aspect of it, because the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, were trying to get out of it, by saying that the good gifts they might have given to their parents were 'Corban' or devoted to God.

Not all of us have wealthy parents. Part of our duty as Christians is help them in their old age, as required. After all, its only right, they sacrificed their youth to look after us as babies, toddlers and children. And that is hard work, as all parents would agree.

God promises to give us the strong possibility of a long life where things go well for us if we honor our parents. The fact is, if a person does not honor their father and mother, life cannot go well for them. They will not be blessed by God. They may well die young. I have seen it happen, even to a young Christian leader.

Therefore it is very wise and it is basically enlightened self-interest also to honor one's father and mother. This should be done even if they have to a greater or lesser extent failed as parents in many ways.

What do YOU think?


About Michael Fackerell

The Christian faith is about Jesus. He came to save the lost. About Jesus Christ, Bible teaching, Testimonies, Salvation, Prayer, Faith, Networking.


  1. Redbuck40 says:

    Another point is the same word used in the scripture reference honour τιμάω
    is used to show how we must treat The Father and The Son, John 5.
    As something of value, Matthew 27.
    Jesus’ relationship to his Father, John 8.
    Our relationship to widows, 1 Timothy 5
    Our relationship to our rulers, 1 Peter 2

    But yet I have seen young people, even people who are older, who treat their parents with disrespect, who joke about the government, and who don’t seem to care for widows, but YET say they love God.


    In Christ,

  2. faithishearing says:

    Reading this has really convicted me. I haven’t always honored my parents in the way that I should.
    Great post.
    I will be sure to, through the Holy Spirit, start putting these things into practice.

  3. dresserandkeeper says:

    This is something God has brought to my attention lately. I mean I’m not the most dishonorable guy in the world to my parents, but there are areas that I needed to improve on. For me it is also and area of forgiveness. I have harbored selfish blame and it has hindered relationships between both my fathers and I.

    I’m thankful for God showing me where I need to improve, it’s a good feeling to know He is there leading me closer to Him. And it doesn’t feel like chastisement, but instead a loving and gentle urging to get the things in my life right so I can be closer to my heavenly father.

    Interesting how God shows us things about ourselves.

    Thank you for posting Michael…I am expecting to see healing happening between my Dad and I.

  4. Joshuagm1991 says:

    This post REALLY helped me. Haven’t done too great of a job honoring my father and mother. Now is the time to start…

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