Questions 48 & 49
What is the fifth command?
The fifth command is: Give honour* to your father and your mother.
Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 5:16
What does the fifth command teach?
The fifth command teaches us to love and to obey our parents.
Jesus said there are two commands in the law* that are the most important in life. The first command is, ‘Love God with all of your heart.’ * The second command is, ‘Love your neighbor* as yourself.’ These two commands work together. They give us a way to think about the 10 commands that God gave to Moses.* The first four commands teach us how to love God. The last six commands show us how to love other people.
If I am to love other people, I must start by showing love and honor to the people in my own family. The fifth command tells us to ‘give honor’ to our parents. The word ‘honor’ means to give respect* to someone. It means to act in a way that brings joy and not shame. When we honor our father and mother, we value them. We show them respect.
When God made Adam* and Eve*, he told them to fill the earth with children. They were to bring a family into the world. God gave parents the responsibility to care for their children.
Our parents are the first people we know. They are the first people who protect us and care for us. They are to provide for our needs. They teach us the right way to live. Our father and mother teach us about God. They tell us the stories about God and show us how to know Him and follow Him. The family is the place where children learn about authority. We honor our father and mother when we obey what they teach us.
Honoring Other People
When children learn to show respect to parents, they learn an important lesson. They understand they are under authority. Someone can tell them what to do and they must obey them. Parents are the first people to have authority over us. But they are not the only people.
The family is a part of a larger group. Our family is part of a community.* Our community is a part of a nation.
We honor our parents. We respect our community. We value the nation we live in because God has given his authority to people in that nation. All the families in the nation were to obey the people in authority.
But the leaders in the nation are under authority too. They are under the authority of God.
The Fifth Command Comes with a Promise
God gave all of the commands to benefit us. In the New Testament*, Paul* says the fifth command is the first command with a promise. This command is given by God for our blessing.* When we follow this command, we will live a long and good life. When we honor our father and mother, it pleases God. Good families build good communities. Good communities build a good nation. We first learn how to live this way in our family.
The family is the first to care for a child. The family is the first place a child learns what is right and wrong. God gave our parents authority over us. They are to care for us. So, we first learn how to follow our parent’s authority. We learn that our parents are under authority as well. They submit* to the rules of a community. But most of all, they submit to God’s authority above all. Good parents teach us to do this too.