The Ten Commandments or the Law of God Series
The 5th Commandment Honoring Parents
We begin today by looking at Keach’s Baptist Catechism of 1677:
68. Which is the fifth commandment?
The fifth commandment is, Honor thy father and thy mother; that thy days may be long in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee. Ex. 20:12
69. What is required in the fifth commandment?
70. What is forbidden in the fifth commandment?
71. What is the reason annexed to the fifth commandment?
The reason annexed to the fifth commandment is a promise of long life and prosperity (as far as it shall serve for God’s glory, and their own good) to all such as keep this commandment. Deut. 5:16; Eph. 6:2, 3
One of the things I love about Keach’s explanation of the Ten Commandments is his practical application applied to each (he calls it What is the reason annexed to…). Here we see that in keeping of this commandment there is a promise of long life and prosperity. Two things I have never heard anyone deny wanting.
Watson in his wise writing on the matter of this command begins with:
Having done with the first table of the law, I am next to speak of the duties of the second table. The ten commandments may be likened to Jacob’s ladder: the first table respects God, and is the top of the ladder which reaches to heaven; the second respects men, and is the foot of the ladder that rests on the earth. By the first table, we walk piously towards God; by the second, we walk religiously towards man. He cannot be good in the first table—who is bad in the second. “Honor your father and your mother.” In this we have a command, “honor your father and your mother;” and, second, a reason for it, “That your days may be long in the land.”
Hodge says of this commandment:
The general principle of duty enjoined in this commandment, is that we should feel and act in a becoming manner towards our superiors. It matters not in what their superiority consists, whether in age, office, power, knowledge, or excellence. There are certain feelings, and a certain line of conduct due to those who are over us, for that very reason, determined and modified in each case by the degree and nature of that superiority. To superiors are due, to each according to the relation in which he stands to us, reverence, obedience, and gratitude. The ground of this obligation is to befound, (1.) In the will of God, who has enjoined this duty upon all rational creatures. (2.) In the nature of the relation itself. Superiority supposes, in some form or degree, on the part of the inferior, dependence and indebtedness, and therefore calls for reverence, gratitude, and obedience; and, (3.) In expediency, as the moral order of the divine government and of human society depend upon this due submission to authority.
In the case of God, as his superiority is infinite the submission of his creatures must be absolute. To Him we owe adoration or the profoundest reverence, the most fervent gratitude, and implicit obedience. The fifth commandment, however, concerns our duty to our fellow-creatures. First in order and in importance is the duty of children to their parents, hence the general duty is embodied in the specific command, “Honour thy father and thy mother.”
Also Pink comments similarly:
This commandment to honor parents is much broader in its scope than appears at first glance. It is not to be restricted to our literal father and mother, but is to be applied to all our superiors. “The end of the Precept is, that since the Lord God desires the preservation of the order He has appointed, the degrees of preeminence fixed by Him ought to be inviolably preserved. The sum of it therefore will be that we should reverence them whom God has exalted to any authority over us, and should render them honor, obedience, and gratitude…. But as this precept is exceedingly repugnant to the depravity of human nature, whose ardent desire of exaltation will scarcely admit of subjection, it has therefore proposed as an example that kind of superiority which is naturally most amiable and least invidious, because that might the more easily mollify and incline our minds to a habit of submission” (Calvin).
Lest any of our readers—in this socialistic and communistic age, when insubordination and lawlessness is the evil spirit of our day—object to this wider interpretation of the commandment, let us ponder the
following considerations. First, “honor” belongs primarily and principally to God.
Let’s look back at my earlier comment, Keach’s What is the reason annexed to… for this Commandment. Maybe, just maybe the reason so many today seem helpless and hopeless is because we, as a whole have ignored this command.
Think on this for a moment how is fatherhood, parenting and grandparenting honored in the media? The also consider how as Pink said that honor is applied to all our superiors.
- Fathers are represented on TV and Movies as whipy, clueless even stupid
- Women are represented as head of households, glorified as single moms in an unbiblical manner
- Current culture glorifies youth and debases elders
- Mockery of political leaders is the norn
- Wokeness and Cancel Culture are prevalent doing away with Founding Fathers intent
- Worst of all you can’t speak against these things without being branded XXXXX
It is time we all revisited this commandment (and every other ) applying it to our everyday lives.
Exodus 20, Deuteronomy 5, The Ten Commandments
Keach’s Baptist Catechism of 1677 – Modern #44-92
Thomas Watson’s classic The Ten Commandments
Systematic Theology, Charles Hodge, Chapter XIX, The Law
The Ten Commandments, by A. W. Pink
The Doctrine of Law and the Grace Unfolded – John Bunyan
A Treatise on the Law and the Gospel by John Colquhoun, D.D