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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
The Small Catechism – part 50

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1 Timothy 5:8

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The Fourth Commandment

Honor your father and your mother, (that your days may be long in the land which the Lord your God is giving you).

What does this mean?

Answer: We should fear and love God so that we do not show contempt for our parents and others in authority, nor provoke them to anger, but respect, obey, serve, love, and honor them.

Pulling It Together

The penultimate way one honors parents is to care for them in their old age, when they cannot take care of themselves anymore. This was expected in ancient societies, and in many modern societies too. It may be today, that this kind of specialized care is delegated to nursing homes. That is attention to the physical, but aging parents also need mental and spiritual care. Again, pastors and social workers may do a good deal of this care. Still, God expects children to care for their parents, for no one can provide the kind of care that parents desire more than their children are able—if they will do so. This commandment was so important that one’s own life—let alone the lives of one’s parents—depended upon it (Exod 21:17; Prov 20:20). May it also be of great magnitude for us today.

Prayer: Help me honor you with my actions, Lord, not just my lips. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

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