Outline and Audio Sermons:
Dr. Walter D. Huyck Jr. D.Min.

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The Ten Commandments

Honor Your Mother and Father

Exodus 20.12

More Resources On The Family


[In our study of the Ten Commandments we have discovered,] 

  • [1st Commandment – The Preeminence of God - Jehovah God is preeminent because there is no other God.  He, and He alone is God.]

  • [2nd Commandment The Living God – Jehovah God is the only living God. Because there are no other god’s.  Our Heavenly Father is Jealous for our souls that we might walk with him.  Idols or false god’s will only alienate us from God and rob us of the eternal life He reserves and desires for each of us.]

  • [3rd Commandment A Worthy God – Jehovah God, as the only living God, is worthy of all my honor, and praise.  He is jealous for me that my soul and spirit might be saved and in eternal harmony with Him.]

  • [3th Commandment – A Renewing God – Keeping the Sabbath holy reminds us that our Heavenly Father desires deeply to keep our relationship with Him fresh and intimate.]

[Today, in this 5th commandment we begin to discover God’s provision for our walk with our fellow man. In the first four commandments our Heavenly Father focused us horizontally toward Him.  This is significant, because if our relationship with God is not right then every other relationship in our lives will be out of order as well.] 

[In these last six commandments our Heavenly Father focuses us vertically toward our fellow man.  It is equally important for us to recognize that the first of these worldly oriented commandments focuses on the family, the family is supremely important to God and to our world at large.  If the family is broken then everything else in our culture will be broken as well.  Your family is the basic building block for everything else in your life.  Do no under estimate the importance or value of your family.] 

A.    The Exposition of the Fifth Commandment (vs 12) [– Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee. – As we examine this short verse and command we notice that our Lord says much about how we must view our homes and families.  The way you treat your parents and who they are in your life reflects how you will treat every other authority that God has placed over your life.  When the home breaks down, our culture breaks down, our nation breaks down and our world breaks down.  Consider carefully how you treat your family and what your attitude is toward your parents.] 

1.      Recognize Your Parents Worth (Matt 15.3-4; cf. Luke 15.7-10) [– Your parents are worthy of your honor.] 

[Honor -כַּבֵּ֥ד  (Hb)   -  v. A primitive root; TWOT 943; GK 3877; 116 occurrences; AV translates as “honour” 34 times, “glorify” 14 times, “honourable” 14 times, “heavy” 13 times, “harden” seven times, “glorious” five times, “sore” three times, “made heavy” three times, “chargeable” twice, “great” twice, “many” twice, “heavier” twice, “promote” twice, and translated miscellaneously 10 times. 1 to be heavy, be weighty, be grievous, be hard, be rich, be honourable, be glorious, be burdensome, be honoured. 1a (Qal). 1a1 to be heavy. 1a2 to be heavy, be insensible, be dull. 1a3 to be honoured. 1b (Niphal). 1b1 to be made heavy, be honoured, enjoy honour, be made abundant. 1b2 to get oneself glory or honour, gain glory. 1c (Piel). 1c1 to make heavy, make dull, make insensible. 1c2 to make honourable, honour, glorify. 1d (Pual) to be made honourable, be honoured. 1e (Hiphil). 1e1 to make heavy. 1e2 to make heavy, make dull, make unresponsive. 1e3 to cause to be honoured. 1f (Hithpael). 1f1 to make oneself heavy, make oneself dense, make oneself numerous. 1f2 to honour oneself.[1] ] 

[The word honor here means to value like a heavy coin.  A coin was rare and valuable in biblical times.  Jesus told the parable of the woman who lost a coin and searched diligently for it, once it was found she celebrated with her neighbors over the rediscovery of the coin  (Luke 15.7-10)] 

[A child must always value their parents as precious and worthy.  Jesus said,

[Matthew 15:3-4 3 But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? 4 For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death. ]

[Honor - Τίμα (Gk)  - honor, price.  (I) To esteem, honor, reverence, with the acc. (A) Generally (1 Tim. 5:3); especially of parents (Matt. 15:4, 6; 19:19; Mark 7:10; 10:19; Luke 18:20; Eph. 6:2;Sept.: Ex. 20:12; Deut. 5:16); everyone, kings (1 Pet. 2:17); God and Christ (John 5:23; 8:49); of feigned piety toward God and Christ (Matt. 15:8; Mark 7:6 quoted from Is. 29:13; Prov. 3:9). (B) To treat with honor, to bestow special marks of honor and favor upon someone, with the acc. (John 12:26; Acts 28:10).  (II) To prize, to fix a value or price upon something. Pass. and mid. with the acc. (Matt. 27:9 [cf. Zech. 11:12, 13]; Sept.: Lev. 27:8, 12, 14).[2]  

[It is important to note here that this honor is not inherent honor.  In other words, don’t only honor your parents if they are honorable.  The honor here is bestowed honor, you are to give your parents honor regardless of their worthiness.  They are valuable to you merely because they are your parents and you must GIVE them honor.  Godly children place honor and value upon their parents.]

2.      Recognize Your Parents Worldliness (Eph 6.1-3) [– Consider your parents sinful condition.  The Bible says,] 

[Ephesians 6:1-3 1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. 2 Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) 3 That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. ]

[I believe that there is a great misunderstanding about passages like this, when the passage says, “. . . in the Lord . . .”  Many seem to take a phrase like this to mean, if your parents are godly and do all the right things then, and only then, should you obey them and honor them.  The problem with a position like this is that there are no perfect people in this world and life.  All of our parents are sinful people, because we have all sinned (Rom 3.23).  There is, in fact, no perfect parent.] 

[Yet, God clearly commands us to honor, and obey our parent.  Why?  Because our honor and obedience in right.  So, what does this statement, “. . . in the Lord . . .” imply.  It means that so long as your parent is asking you to do something that does not violate a clear command from God, then you must obey and honor your parent.] 

[Illustration - Bill Gothard used to tell a story that went something like this. There was a teenage girl who became a Christian and started going to Church.  She was really on fire for the Lord and wanted to go to church every chance she got.  But her lost parents told her that she could not go to Church on Wednesday nights because that was a school night.  But, this girl rebelled against her parents and snuck off to Church against her parents will on a number of occasions.  Her logic was that surely God wanted her in Church and this disobedience must be okay with God.  One day Bill Gothard was teaching about being obedient and honoring to ones parents and after the lesson the girl approached him and told him her story.  Bill Gothard told her that she needed to obey her parents and she needed to go home, apologize to her parents and tell them that she would obey them from now on.  The girl thought that surly she would not be allowed to go to Church again because of her deception.  But she obeyed the word of God and confessed to her father and mother.  Her fathers response was unexpected by the girl.  Her father said, “If this is the kind of thing your Church and faith is teaching you, then you can go to Church whenever the doors are open.”  It wasn’t long and her father was coming to Church with her.] 

[Too many Christians use their religion to support and feed their pride and independence.  If you are looking for sin in your parents to somehow justify your disobedience, you will always find it.  But God says to honor and obey your parents always.] 

3.      Recognize Your Parents Worthiness (Exodus 21.15, 17) [– A Child must always remember the sacrifices of their parents and must recognize their parents worthiness.  God expresses how seriously He considers the honor of ones parents when He says,] 

[Exodus 21:15 15 And he that smiteth his father, or his mother, shall be surely put to death.]

[Smiteth - וּמַכֵּ֥ה  (Hb) - Hiphil הִכָּה, imp. הַכֵּה and הַךְ, fut. יַכֶּה, וַיַּכֶּה and וַיַּךְ—(1) to smite, to strike (Gr. πλήσσω), e.g. any one with a rod, Exod. 2:11, 13; Deu. 25:3; for the sake of correction, Jer. 2:30; Neh. 13:25; water, Exod. 8:13; a rock, Ps. 78:20; any one’s cheek, (to buffet), Job 16:10; also with a stone (mit dem Steine treffen), 1 Sa. 17:49, 50; with an arrow, 1 Ki. 22:34; 2 Ki. 9:24; with a horn, Dan. 8:7 (ftoßen). A singular use is הִכָּה שָׁרָשִׁים to strike roots, Germ. Wurzeln fchlagen, fchießen; pr. to send forth into the ground. Followed by מִן of pers. to strike out any thing from any one, Eze. 39:3; an eye, Ex. 21:26.]

[Specially—(a) הִכָּה כַף to strike the hand, 2 Ki. 11:12; Eze. 22:13; and הִכָּה בְכַף to strike with the hand, Eze. 6:11; fully הִכָּה כַף אֶל כַּף Eze. 21:19, 22; to clap the hands, sometimes as a sign of rejoicing, 2 Ki. loc. cit.; sometimes of indignation, Eze. 22:13; and of lamentation, Eze. 6:11; 21:19.]

[(b) 1 Sam. 24:6, וַיַּךְ לֵב־דָּוִיד אֹתוֹ “and the heart of David smote him,” i.e. palpitated most vehemently and struck his internal breast; compare Æsch. Prom. 887; κραδία φόβῳ φρένα λακτίζει.]

[(c) God, or a messenger from him, is often said to smite a person, or a people, or a country with a disease or plague, i.e. to inflict a plague upon it (compare גָגַע, נָגַף); e.g. הִכָּה בַסַּנְוֵרִים to smite with blindness, Genesis 19:11; a pestilence, Num. 14:12; hæmorrhoids, 1 Sam. 5:6; compare 2 Kings 6:18; Zech. 12:4; and in like manner, to smite a land with destruction, Mal. 3:24; also absol. Ex. 7:25, “after Jehovah had smitten the river,” i.e. had turned it to blood; compare verse 20; Zech. 10:11; Isa. 11:15.]

[(d) to smite enemies, i.e. to conquer, to put to flight, Gen. 14:5; Deuter. 4:46; Josh. 12:7; 1 Sam. 13:4; 17:9.]

[(e) to smite a besieged city, i.e. to take it, 1 Ch. 20:1; 2 Ki. 3:19.[3] ] 

[To Conquer - To smite ones parents takes on the sense of conquering your parents as a king might lay siege upon and conquer a city.  A child should never go to war emotionally, psychologically, or physically with their parents.  For any child to strive to conquer their parents is the opposite of the submission and honor that God commands.]

[Exodus 21:17 17 And he that curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death. ]

[Curses - וּמְקַלֵּ֥ל (Hb) -1. LN 59.11-59.22 (qal) recede, grow smaller, i.e., be in a state of a mass becoming less and so lowering in elevation (Ge 8:8, 11+); 2. LN 88.192-88.197 (qal) disdain, despise, be vile, i.e., be in a state of contempt for an object, showing little regard or value to the object (Ge 16:4, 5; 1Sa 2:30+); (hif) humble, treat with contempt (2Sa 19:44; Job 40:4; Isa 8:23; 23:9; Eze 22:7; Na 1:14+); 3. LN 68.79-68.82 (qal) be swift, i.e., move in a sudden or rapid manner, as a figurative extension of being of light weight and so able to move quickly (2Sa 1:23; Job 7:6; 9:25; Jer 4:13; Hab 1:8+); (nif) be swift (Isa 30:16+); 4. LN 65.1-65.16 (nif) become trivial, be not serious, i.e., not be of value according to an estimation or evaluation (2Sa 6:22; 1Ki 16:31; Isa 49:6; Jer 6:14; 8:11; Eze 8:17+); 5. LN 22.38-22.41 (nif) be easy, i.e., pertaining to that which is not difficult and so not as much of a physical or emotional strain to endure (2Ki 3:18; 20:10; Pr 14:6+); (hif) lighten, make easier (Ex 18:22; 1Sa 6:5; 1Ki 12:4, 9, 10; 2Ch 10:4, 9, 10+); 6. LN 33.470-33.475 (piel) curse, blaspheme, revile, i.e., invoke divine harm to an object, implying anger or great displeasure toward the object (1Sa 17:43), note: when the focus is on slandering or insulting the reputation of another (even God), see also domain LN 33.387–33.403; (pual) be accursed (Job 24:18; Ps 37:22; Isa 65:20+); 7. LN 86.1-86.3 (hif) make lighter, i.e., make an object relatively less heavy (Jnh 1:5+); 8. LN 79.95-79.96 (pilpel) sharpen, i.e., place a thin cutting edge on an instrument (Ecc 10:10+); 9. LN 30.86-30.107 (pilpel) cast lot, i.e., chose a course of action by throwing an object and interpreting the way it lands for a decision for the future (Eze 21:26[EB 21]+); 10. LN 16 (hitpalpel) quake, shake, sway, i.e., move back and forth in non-linear motion (Jer 4:24+), note: 1Sa 18:23, see 7829[4]] 

[To curse ones parents is to slander or lower the esteem of ones parents.  Children of all ages must carefully consider how they talk about their parents.  God takes personal attacks against ones parents very seriously.] 

[In-Laws – In our culture this is never more evident than in the humorous in-laws jokes that we often hear, yet these jokes present a serious and degrading tendency in our society.  Husbands and wives must carefully consider what our Lord says about cursing or belittling ones parents, your spouses parents have become your parents and God requires honor and respect from each and every child.] 

B.     The Exaltation of the Fifth Commandment [– Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee. – There are at least two rewards promised by God for obedience to this command.] 

1.      The Promise Of Life (Eph 6.1-3; John 10.10) [– Clearly those who honor God are honored in return by God.  Time and again our Lord has reminded us of the provision and protection that Almighty God gives to those who seek Him, love Him, and obey Him.  Paul in Ephesians helps us to draw out what God was saying when he gave the promise that accompanied this fifth commandment.  Paul wrote,] 

[Ephesians 6:1-3 1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. 2 Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) 3 That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.]

[Our Lord Jesus Christ said,]

[John 10:10 10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.]

[The only way for anyone to experience the abundant life our Lord promised us is for us to first receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior and then for us to love Him enough to obey Him.  God says through this fifth commandment that if we will honor our mother and father then it will be well with us.]

[Illustration – An old Chinese proverbs says, one generation plants the seed of the tree, the next generation enjoys the shade of the tree.  Many of the blessings we enjoy in our American culture today are the result of the love for God and the honor for parents that our preceding generations nurtured for our benefit.]

[The progeny of parents of our present day need to understand that the promise of an abundant life for the future of our children and nation depends on what we do in our homes and families today.  The promise of life for tomorrow is undeniably linked to the honor of our homes and toward parents today.]

2.      The Prolonging Of Life (Eph 6.1-3) [- The second promise given is defined by Paul in Ephesians as well.  Paul wrote,] 

[Ephesians 6:1-3 1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. 2 Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) 3 That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. ]

[The lengthening of our lives is connected by God to our attitude about our families.  Now, obviously, this does not mean that everyone who dies young was disrespectful toward their parents.  We know that this just is not true.  But what we do know is that those who are remembered in life are those who were honorable in life.  Those who are the most honorable in life are usually those who gave the greatest honor to others.]

C.    The Application of the Fifth Commandment[5] [- How does a child honor their mother and father?] 

1.      Honor Them With Subjection (Eph 6.1; Col 3.20; Luke 2.51-52) [- Children still living at home must yield and submit to their parents.  Adult single children must seek out the protection and promotion of their parents.  Adult married children should continue to seek out the counsel of their parents.  The Bible says,]

[Ephesians 6:1 1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.]

[Colossians 3:20 20 Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord. ]

[Even Jesus was submissive to His parents.]

[Luke 2:51-52 51 And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart. 52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man. ]

2.      Honor Them With Admiration (Lev 19.3) 

[Leviticus 19:3 3 Ye shall fear every man his mother, and his father, and keep my sabbaths: I am the LORD your God.]

[Fear - תִּירָ֔אוּ  (Hb)  - (qal) be afraid, be frightened, i.e., be in a state of feeling great distress, and deep concern of pain or unfavorable circumstance (Ge 3:10); (nif) be in fear (Ps 46:3[EB 2]); (piel) frighten, intimidate (2Ch 32:18); 2. LN 53.53-53.64 (qal) revere, venerate, i.e., show profound respect for one, that borders on fear of the object (Lev 19:32); (nif) be awesome, dreadful (Ps 47:3[EB 2]), note: for nif ptcp. as an a, see 5682.5; 3. LN 87.19-87.57 (qal) respect, revere, i.e., show high status and honor to one in authority even bordering on fear, without necessarily worshiping as deity (Lev 19:3; Jer 10:7), note: for NIV text in Ps 72:5, see 799[6]] 

[This idea of fear goes back to the idea of placing a high value upon your parents.  But take it a step further; let the world know how much you value your parents.  Let your children see how much you value your parents and they will value you in return.]  

3.      Honor Them With Appreciation (1 Thess 5.18) [- The Bible tells us,] 

[1 Thessalonians 5:18 18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.]

[Hence, give thanks often for your mother and father and your ability to honor them will soon follow.  This is linked to the idea of never cursing your parents.  If you give thanks for your parents you will find it hard to talk ill of them.]

4.      Honor Them With Affection (John 13.14) [- Will you be like your Lord Jesus Christ.  Our Lord, the creator and sustainer of all things, before His crucifixion put on a towel and washed His disciple’s feet.  Then He said,] 

[John 13:14 14 If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet.]

[You will never show your parents how much you honor them more than when you serve them.  Did your parents serve you?  Who provided a place for you to live when you could not provide for yourself?  Who changed your diaper when you could not change yourself?  Who cook those good meals you liked to eat so very much?  Your parents are worthy of your service and affection.] 

[When teens curse their parents – It is a rare teen that goes through puberty without ever thinking ill or talking ill about their parents.  But Godly Christians should always bring them back to the honor and obedience that their parents deserve.  Too often well meaning Christian’s will feed on a youths ill will toward their parents and will join in the youths slander.  Adults, don’t ever nurture a youth who is cursing their parent.  Instead care for them, talk with them, and bring them back to the godly honor that they ought to have for their parents.  You may even have a youth complaining about some rule their parents have that you don’t agree with, but still you be sure you lead them back to a godly honor for their parents.] 

5.      Honor Them With Provision (1 Tim 5.4,8; John 19.26-27) [- Children, you need to understand that God has placed a divine responsibility upon you to care for your parents when they get old.  The Bible says,] 

[1 Timothy 5:4 4 But if any widow have children or nephews, let them learn first to shew piety at home, and to requite their parents: for that is good and acceptable before God. ]

[1 Timothy 5:8 8 But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel. ]

[While Jesus was hanging on the cross, He made sure that His mother was cared for.  The Bible says,]

[John 19:26-27 26 When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! 27 Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home. ]


[1]Strong, J. (1996). The exhaustive concordance of the Bible : Showing every word of the text of the common English version of the canonical books, and every occurrence of each word in regular order. (electronic ed.) (H3513). Ontario: Woodside Bible Fellowship.

[2]Zodhiates, S. (2000, c1992, c1993). The complete word study dictionary : New Testament (electronic ed.) (G5091). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.

[3]Gesenius, W., & Tregelles, S. P. (2003). Gesenius' Hebrew and Chaldee lexicon to the Old Testament Scriptures. Translation of the author's Lexicon manuale Hebraicum et Chaldaicum in Veteris Testamenti libros, a Latin version of the work first published in 1810-1812 under title: Hebräisch-deutsches Handwörterbuch des Alten Testaments.; Includes index. (549). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[4]Swanson, J. (1997). Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains : Hebrew (Old Testament) (electronic ed.) (DBLH 7837, #10). Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[5] Resourced from Billy E. Dickerson, Jr., “Honoring Mom and Dad ,”

[6]Swanson, J. (1997). Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains : Hebrew (Old Testament) (electronic ed.) (DBLH 3707, #3). Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc.



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