“Children, obey your parents in the Lord:  for this is right.”

“Children, obey your parents”
Literally:  “The children, obey the parents of you”– This is a duty with which God will never lessen; He commands it, and one might think that gratitude, from a sense of the highest obligations, would most strongly enforce the command.

Having just given a profound teaching regarding the relationship of the husband and wife, Paul now begins to deal with the relationship, or position, of the child in the home.  Paul is talking about a Christian home.. This is specifically directed to saved children and shows what that relationship should be between parents and children.  For a Christian child, his obedience to his parents indicates the degree of his obedience to Christ.   For a child to claim to love the Lord Jesus Christ and at the same time ignore his responsibility and relationship to his parents is evidence that he really knows little or nothing about the redemption in Christ.

        CHILDREN:  (Gr.-tekna)–This word usually signifies those who are young; but it is here used, evidently, to denote those who were under the care and government of their parents, or those who were not of age.

Paul begins this with the duty of the inferior first, of the child to the parents, as he did before with the duty of the wife, Eph 5:22. He first puts them in mind of their duty who are to obey; that being the  most difficult duty, and the persons concerned in it usually more defective, and the work less easy and pleasing to our nature.

        OBEY:  (Gr.-hupakouete)–The word for “obey” here is different for the word found in 5:22 where it means to “submit.”

         The wife is to “submit.”  The wife occupies a position of equality with the husband, and submission is merely a question of headship There cannot be two heads of a family.  The family is considered to be a living organism, and an organism with two heads would be a freak.
         Here the child is to obey as the servant is to obey. This is the first great duty which God gave to children.  The child is to do what their parents command them to do.  The same word for “obey” will be used in verse 5.  This is specifically directed to saved children and shows what that relationship should be between parents and children.
1.     Because the good order of a family, and hence of the community, depends on it.
2.     Because the welfare of the child depends on it
3.     Because the child is not competent, as yet, to reasons on what is right, or qualified to direct himself.
4.      Because the parent, by his age and experience, is to be presumed to be qualified to direct and guide a child.
5.      It is important, because the family government is designed to be an imitation of the government of God.

         Disobedience to parents is the last and lowest form of lawlessness to occur on this earth.  “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.  For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy”  (II Timothy 3:12). 
         Disobedience to parents is one of the characteristics of the Last Days. This shows the characteristics of the godless, the characteristic of Christless children in the last days before the coming of Christ.  Today we hear of cases of children rejecting parental authority and even killing their parents!  This is indicative of the times in which we live.  How common it is with children today to address their parents as “the old man” and “the old lady.”  Can we doubt that we are living in the “Last Days.”

“in the Lord.”
Literally:  “in {the} Lord”– The first duty of children is obedience, and “in the Lord.”  For a Christian child, his obedience to his parents indicates the degree of his obedience to Christ.  This characterizes the obedience as Christian, the activity of which moves in Christ, with whom the Christian withal stands in communion of life. The reference to God     

         “In the Lord” may mean on account of the commandment of the Lord; or, as far as the parents commands are according to the will and Word of God.  For surely no child is called to obey any parent if he give unreasonable or unscriptural commands.
1.      No parent can have a right to require a child to steal, or lie, or cheat, or assist him in committing murder, or in doing any other wrong thing.

2.      No parent has a right to forbid a child to pray, to read the Bible, to worship God, or to make a profession of religion.

Both parents and children being Christians “in the Lord” expresses the element in which the obedience is to take place, and the motive to obedience. In Col. 3:20, it is, “Children, obey your parents in all things.” This clause, “in the Lord,” would suggest the due limitation of the obedience required (Acts 5:29; compare on the other hand, the abuse, Mark 7:11-13).

“for this is right”
Literally:  “for this is right”—Right even by natural law that we should render obedience to them from whom we have derived life. 

It is right because it is according to the will of God.  It is really more than right;  it is just.  It is a righteous thing to do because it is God’s way.  It is an obligation that rests on the very nature of holiness, and cannot change with the spirit of the age.  It is no degree to be modified by what is called the spirit of independence in children.

“Honor thy father and mother;
(whch is the first commandment with promise;)

“Honor thy father and mother”
Literally:  “Honor your father and your mother”–Mothers as well as fathers (see next verse). Scripture uniformly upholds the authority of the mother.  That is, in the fifth commandment, Exodus. 20:12; 21:17.

         This duty of honor and obedience implies inward reverence, and a lawful estimation of their persons, and honoring of them in heart, speech, and behavior; it implies also outward observance, a pious regard to their instructions, executing all their commands which are not sinful, depending on their counsels, and following their good examples, owning with thankfulness their parents' care and concern for them, and covering the failings and infirmities found in them.

        HONOR:  (Gr.-tima)–To honor is “to obey, to reverence, to speak kindly to, to speak and think well of.”  To curse is “to disobey, to treat with irreverence, to swear at, to speak ill of, to think evil of in the heart, to meditate or do any evil” to a parent

This exhortation is based upon natural morality.  “Honor” is higher than obedience.  It is regard due to those who, by Divine appointment, are above us, and to whom our most respectful consideration is due. Honor expresses the frame of mind from which obedience pro-cedes.   Children are to honor their parents:
1.      By treating them with respect.
         a.      Because of their superior age.
These years are associated with superior attainments and experiences. Children (who have no experience in life) need to be guided by the experience of their parents.
         b.      Because of their responsibilities.
A ship, leaving for another land, needs to be cautiously piloted out of the dock and past the other ships and shoals, until it reaches the open sea.  Men of experience must be  used for this. So also, children, in their inexperience and ignorance, need to be “piloted” by the knowledge (gained by the experiences) of their parents; and thus, it is right that they should treat their parents with the respect due them as their guides.
2.      By showing gratitude to them.
Children are not in a position to know all the sacrifices their parents make for them, and the amount of thought that is bestowed on them, and the prayers that are put up for them.  They will never have on earth better friends, greater benefactors than those whom Christ has given them than their parents.
3.      By being obedient to them.
There is nothing by which children can better requite all the trouble that their parents have had on their account than by their obedience.
4.      By being helpful to them.
Some parents have a very difficult struggle, and children may relieve them of much care and save them some expense by taking care of what takes money to replace.
5.      By placing confidence in them.
Let nothing be done on which they would not wish their parents’ eyes to rest.
         a.      If they have done wrong, let them come forward and confess their faults, and ask forgiveness; but let there be no concealment, no untruthfulness.
         b.      Children who practice deceit on their parents are likely to form character according to one of the most detestable types.  All will come to regard them with distrust.
6.      By attending to their instructions.
Children are to take full advantage of the provision made by their parents for their education; but their duty does not end there.
         a.      They are to lend a ready ear to their parents when they talk to them, especially about serious subjects.
         b.      They should not turn away their ears when their parents tell them what dispositions they are to cultivate, what temptations they are to avoid.
                  (1)    What company they are to keep,
                 (2)    What books they are to read,
                 (3)    When they tell them to be respectful, truthful, honest, kind; and above all,
                 (4)    Dutiful to their Father in heaven.

“which is the first commandment with promise”
Literally:  “which is commandment {the} first with a promise”–With a promise annexed to it; namely, that of long life and great blessings. Exodus. 20:12.–“Honor thy father and thy mother:  that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.”

         The promise was, that their days should be long in the land which the Lord their God would give them. It is not to be supposed that the observance of the four first commandments would not be attended with a blessing, but no particular blessing is promised with them. The second commandment has a general promise, but the fifth alone (Exodus 20:12) has a specific promise. Perhaps that is the idea.  It is true, indeed, that there is a general declaration annexed to the second commandment, that God would show mercy to thousands of generations of them that loved Him, and that kept His commandments. But that is rather a declaration in regard to all the commands of God than a promise annexed to that specific commandment.
         This is the fifth commandment in the Decalogue (i.e., the TORAH), but the first with a specific promise attached to it.   This commandment is reckoned by the Jews to be the weightiest of the commands of the Law; and the reward bestowed on it is length of days.  It is an assurance that obedience to the law of God would be followed with blessings to all generations, and is given in view of the first and second commandments together, because they related particularly to the honor that was due to God. But the promise in the fifth commandment is a special promise. It does not relate to obedience to God in general, but it is a particular assurance that they who honor their parents shall have a particular blessing as the result of that obedience.
         The exhortation is confirmed from the Ten Commandments.  Although the Ten Commandments are not the norm for Christian living, (being part of the Jewish Mosaic Law—and we Christians are freed from that Law) it still does not mean you can break them.  It is interesting to note that all the Ten Commandments are repeated in the NT, with the exception of the commandment concerning the Sabbath Day.  Honoring the father and mother carries with it a promise of long life to those who keep it.

“That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.”

         “That it may be well with thee.”
         Literally:  “that well with you it may be”– This is found in the fifth commandment as recorded in Deuteronomy 5:16.

        The whole commandment as there recorded is, “Honor thy father and thy mother, as the Lord thy God hath commanded thee; that thy days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with thee in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.” The meaning here is, that they would be more happy, useful, and virtuous, if they obeyed their parents than if they disobeyed them.
       The quotation is but slightly varied from Exodus 20:12; Deut. 56.  But by omitting the words, “which the Lord thy God hath given thee,” Paul at once generalizes the application and determines it to the earth, and not to “the good land” of heaven.       

“thou mayest live long on the earth”
Literally:  “you may be long-lived on the earth”–In Ex. 20:12, “long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee,” which Paul adapts to Gospel times, by taking away the local and limited reference peculiar to the Jews in Canaan.

         The godly are equally blessed in every land, as the Jews were in the land which God gave them. This promise is always fulfilled, either literally, or by the substitution of a higher blessing, namely, one spiritual and eternal (Job 5:26; Prov. 10:27). The substance and essence of the law are eternally in force: its accidents alone (applying to Israel of old) are abolished (Rom.6:15).-
         While the Ten Commandments was an expression of the will of God on matters of moral obligation, it had a local Hebrew element here and there.  Paul here drops what is specifically Hebrew and adapts the promise in a wider area.

        A long life do you desire?  Here is one recipe.  In these days of diets and scientific experiments, we are always reading ways for longevity:  “drink orange juice for breakfast, eat spinach, take daily dozens, etc.”  In their place they may be useful, but God has the recipe for long life—honor your parents.   There is an old saying to the effect that the good die young.  That is not always so.
        The special promise of long life in the land of Canaan Paul translates into a general promise of prosperity and longevity. As before, we must not suppose that Paul excludes exceptions. The promise is not for each individual; many good and obedient children do not live long. But the general tendency of obedience to parents is towards the results specified. Where obedience to parents is found, there is usually found along with it temperance, self-control, industry, regular ways of life, and other habits that tend towards prosperity and longevity. In Christian families there is commonly affection, unity, prayer, mutual helpfulness, reliance on God, trust in Christ, and all that makes life sweet and wholesome. The spirit of the promise is realized in such ways, and it may be likewise in special mercies vouchsafed to each family.

“And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath:  but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”

“ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath”
Literally:  “fathers not do provoke your children” Do not needlessly fret or exasperate them.

 This denotes the exasperation produced by arbitrary and unsympathetic and unreasonable or inflexible rules.  Having just given a dissertation on the relation of the child to his parents, Paul now describes the relationship and actions of the father toward his child. Father! Do not frustrate or provoke your children to wrath:
1.      Neither by words;
2.      Nor by unjust and, unreasonable commands;
3.      Nor by insulting and reproachful language;
4.      Nor by frequent and public chidings,
5.      Nor by indiscreet and passionate expressions:
6.      Nor by denying them the necessaries of life;
         a.      By not allowing them proper recreation
         b.      By not giving them suitable education; neither by an improper disposal of them in marriage;
         c.      By spending their estates, and leaving nothing to them:
7.      Nor by severe and cruel blows, and inhuman usage;      

         None but that parents may, and ought to correct and rebuke their children; nor are they accountable to them for their conduct; yet they should take care not to provoke them to wrath, because this alienates their minds from them, and renders their instructions and corrections useless, and puts them upon sinful practices.  Wrath lets in Satan, and leads to sin against God; and indeed it is difficult in the best of men to be angry and not sin; see Col. 3:21–“Fathers, provoke not your children {to anger} lest they be discouraged.”
        Fathers are particularly mentioned because they are the heads of families, and are apt to be too severe, as mothers may be too indulgent. This command is given especially to fathers because they are at the head of the family, and its government is especially committed to them. Wise fathers will take note of this verse; not that it is not addressed to mothers, because they seldom, if ever, err on the side of severity.
       Undue harshness, and irritating severity are here forbidden, but holy discipline and religious training are commanded.  The object of Paul’s here is, to show parents that their commands should be such that they can be easily obeyed, or such as are entirely reasonable and proper. If children are required to obey, it is but reasonable that the commands of the parent should be such that they can be obeyed, or such that the child shall not be discouraged in his attempt to obey.
        “Fathers,” is also inclusive of mothers, to whom the practical administration of the household and training of the children so much belongs.  However, the emphasis is on the father because the disciplining and training of the child is actually his responsibility, but it does include the mother also. Unfortunately, too many mothers forget this fact and leave all the disciplining to the father.  This also serves to build a barrier between the father and child:  a barrier of both fear and resentment. Fathers are more prone to passion in relation to their children than mothers, whose fault is rather over-indulgence.

“bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord”
Literally:  “but nurture them in {the} discipline and instruction of {the} Lord”– Both in Christian knowledge and practice.  The mind is to be nourished with wholesome discipline and nourishment, as the body is with proper food.    

“in the nurture”
Literally: “but nurture them”–The word here used means training of a child;  hence, it includes education, instruction, discipline. Here it means that they are to train up their children in such a manner as the Lord approves; that is, they are to educate them for virtue and the faith.

        NURTURE: (Gr.-epaideiai)–Literally: “discipline”.  This may refer to all that knowledge which is proper for children, including elementary principles and rules for behavior, etc., including, training by chastening where needed (Job 5:17 Heb. 12:7).

        “Behold, happy {is} the man whom God correcteth:  therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty” (Job 5:17).
        “If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the Father chasteneth not” (Heb. 12:7)

        ADMONITION: (Gr.-nouthesiai)Literally, “instruction.” This may imply that which is necessary to form the mind; to touch, regulate, and purify the passions; and necessarily includes the whole of religion.

         Both these should be administered in the Lord, according to His will and Word, and in reference to His eternal glory. All the important lessons and doctrines being derived from His revelation, therefore they are called the discipline and instruction of the Lord.  Training by words
        If parents want to spare themselves wakeful nights cause by worry over their children, they should remember that while their children are around their knees this exhortation should find fulfillment.  While parents have the opportunity to train their children, nurture and admonish them in the Lord, they must do so. Place them under such discipline and instruction that they shall become acquainted with the Lord.  The natural bent of the tree is given when it is a sapling.
         Understand:  “Nurture” means discipline, and “admonition” means instruction. Bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.  No such commandment was given to parents under the Law.  Under grace there are always mutual responsibilities and interactive duties.  The parent is not to vent a bad disposition on a child or punish him in a fit of rage.  It is the parents’ duty to teach the child the truths of the Scriptures and then they live them before the child.  As a believer, you are to live even at home like a believer.

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