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What the Bible says about Obeying Parents
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Deuteronomy 4:40

Obeying the fifth commandment automatically builds habits and character that promote long life (Proverbs 4:10-11). A child trained in biblical principles and God's way of life will avoid recklessness, violence, immorality, and rebellion against authority that often result in premature death.

Martin G. Collins
The Fifth Commandment

Ephesians 6:1-4

The context obviously addresses children and parents. Paul makes it clear that children have a responsibility before God and that keeping the commandment has definite benefits for them to anticipate receiving. This is in agreement with Deuteronomy 4:39-40.

One of the benefits he mentions is the prospect of long life, which also contains an implication of prosperity. Not the least of the additional benefits is the gradual development of understanding and wisdom garnered from the parents, which themselves help to produce long life and prosperity. Thus, in an overall sense, he is reminding children that obedience to truth has its rewards.

Is there an age at which or a circumstance under which the child's responsibility to honor his parents undergoes a change? The answer is both "Yes" and "No," which is why Paul qualifies his charge to children. His qualification is contained within the phrase "in the Lord." It connotes what is within the boundaries of the Lord's way. In all cases, the responsibility to honor one's parents diminishes when a child marries, and his first attention must be given to the spouse. Cleaving to the spouse trumps the honoring of parents. Paul qualifies this a step further by implying that, if the parents demand submission beyond the bounds of Christian conduct, that is, not "in the Lord"—such as commanding a child to give up the Sabbath, lie in their behalf, steal for them, or bow down to an idol—in such cases the child's choice should be to submit to Christ rather than to his parents. Submitting to God's commands trumps submitting to parent's commands that are beyond what God commands us to do in order to stay "in the Lord."

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Fifth Commandment

1 Timothy 5:4

A person who has properly obeyed his parents in childhood later expresses his honor for them in a deeper appreciation of the comforts and training they provided him as a child. This honor expresses itself in courtesy, thoughtfulness, and kind deeds. Any parent, especially a widowed parent, should be repaid by his children for the care given them as they grew up. Even in His dying moments, while suffering an agonizing death, Jesus honored and loved His mother by making provision for John to care for her after His death (John 19:26-28). God our Father is well pleased with us when we obey this vital commandment (Colossians 3:20).

Martin G. Collins
The Fifth Commandment

1 Timothy 5:8

To fail to take care of your own as we have opportunity is denying Christianity. It is denying the Christian faith, and we are then worse off than the unconverted. This is a pretty strong statement. A person who meets the criterion of this verse has disavowed Christianity; he is walking away from his responsibility to take care of his own first.

We can also apply the principle in this verse to the church. Combining this verse with Galatians 6:9-10, it is abundantly clear that God thinks that, even in the best of times, the brethren have first priority, not the world. If there was ever a time for doing good to the brethren, the time is now. In its broader context, Galatians 6:1-10 has spiritual matters more directly in mind than filling physical needs. This does not deny that there are times to help out physically, but the chapter begins with, "If one sees a brother in a fault. . . ." This is the real foundation of his charge in verses 9 and 10, spiritual matters, and that is exactly where the church's problems lie.

John W. Ritenbaugh
What Is the Work of God Now? (Part 4)


 




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