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Abstract: The Significance of the Biblical Commandment on Parents

New International Version:

(Exodus 20:12) Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.

(Deuteronomy 5:16) Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the LORD your God is giving you.

Note: Decalogue is another name for the Ten Commandments. Deca comes from the Greek word deka, meaning ten. Logos is the Greek word for word.


The biblical commandment to honor parents is an integral part of the Decalogue. The Decalogue itself may have originated from the cult, the festivals, the treaty, the clan-family, or from the Kenites. The historical details may never be ascertained, including its authorship. What is easy to see is that the biblical commandment to honor parents may very well be part of the natural law. The important fact is that it is integral to the Sinaitic or the Mosaic covenant of Yahweh with Israel. Found in its entirety in Exodus 20:12 and Deuteronomy 5:16 only, the biblical commandment to honor parents has in its motive clause, “so that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.” The land was God’s promise to ancient Israel and the significance of the 4th/5th/parent-commandment is reflected in the presence of this promise in its text. Just as the Decalogue prevailed in its prominence and importance throughout Christianity’s history, the parent-commandment continues to be upheld and taught by the various Christian branches/affiliations/denominations despite its “gradual loss of authority” as is observed in the context of modernity. As a broad survey of the historical reception of the parent-commandment within the Latin branch of historical Christianity and its roots — ancient Israel, Palestine/Greco-Roman, Church Fathers/medieval/Reformation, modernity/western Europe/Industrialization — the research hoped to locate the relevance of the parent-commandment and its promise of land/life in the contemporary global context, and so contribute to the local discussions on this theme. The conclusion of the research is that neglecting the biblical commandment to honor parents is detrimental to life.


The original title of the research, which was a doctoral dissertation that was accepted (under the Institute for Protestant Theology) by the Faculty of Philosophy, Art–, History– and Social Sciences of the University of Regensburg in 2017, is “The Significance of the Elterngebot: A Biblical, Historical, and Systematic Investigation.” The term das Elterngebot is a German word that means “the biblical commandment to honor parents.” As mandated by the University of Regensburg, the research was published in its original title, format (albeit adjusted into a book size), and contents. The National Library of the Philippines has a copy of it also.

The question of how to honor narcissistic parents deserves another major research altogether (uhuh, I don’t have it in my dissertation, though I certainly do want to find out about it, and fast!). What’s more important is that one has become aware of the situation, and so start from there. . . It certainly is very tough going. . .

About the Researcher:

Mona Lisa P. Siacor, Dr. phil. (in Protestant Theology) is a newbie to the world of the theological academe. She finished her doctoral studies in 2017 at the University of Regensburg, Bavaria, Germany under the supervision of her Doktovater, Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. [Rev.] Hans Schwarz of the Lutheran Church.

Photo courtesy of Voltaire P. Siacor

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