Title

HONOR YOUR PARENTS: A COMMAND FOR ADULTS

Publication Date

6-2017

Abstract

Among American evangelicals, the command to honor one's parents (Exod 20:12; Deut 5:16) has usually been interpreted as a command for young children to obey their parents. However, close study of this command reveals that it was primarily a command for adult children to care for their elderly parents. First, adult land- and slave-owning males were the implied audience of the Decalogue rather than children. Second, honoring and fearing parents in the ancient Near East was most commonly associated with adults and consisted primarily of physical support of elderly parents. Third, the other texts in the OT that describe the parent-child relationship clearly show the importance of honoring parents by caring for them. Fourth, NT texts and mainstream church tradition support this interpretation. The paper ends by looking at implications of this interpretation for today and some practical ways for adult children to care for parents in the modern world.

Keywords

Ten commandments--Parents; Adult children of aging parents

Publication Title

Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society

Volume

60

Issue

2

First Page

247

Last Page

263

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