Honorable, Honor

HONORABLE, HONOR (כָּבֵד֒, H3877; τιμάω, G5506).

1. Meaning. The Heb. progressed in meaning from “to be heavy” to “to be wealthy,” and finally “to be in honor.” Similarly, the Gr. meant at first “to estimate, to fix the value,” which naturally came to mean also “to honor, venerate.” Honor is an enviable esteem, a valuable reward for excellence in station, character, or service. It is paid in thought, word, deed, or substance (Isa 29:13). “Honor the Lord with your substance” (Prov 3:9). Jesus rebuked the Pharisees and scribes for not honoring their parents with material necessities (Matt 15:4-6). Ancient laws pronounced the death penalty on those who dishonored parents in act or word (Exod 21:15, 17; Lev 20:9).

3. Injunctions to honor. Paul told the Christians in Rome to pay “honor to whom honor is due” (Rom 13:7). The Bible is clear on who merits honor, including the list above. The fifth commandment is explicit: “Honor your father and your mother” (Exod 20:12). Jesus (Matt 15:1-9) and Paul both emphasized its importance (Eph 6:2, 3). Peter exhorted to “Honor all men...Honor the emperor” (1 Pet 2:17), and Paul asked slaves to honor their masters (1 Tim 6:1). Jesus said “A prophet is not without honor, except in his own country...kin...house” (Mark 6:4).