People are tough sometimes. They get me so frustrated. Then I am quick to say whatever is on my mind. It feels good to get that thing off my chest, but it rarely brings the peace I imagined. And if I’m honest, that thought I spoke lacked honor. Does that really matter? Today we will see how thinking with honor leads to peace. But what does honor mean in the Bible? How do we find peace by thinking with honor?
What Does Honor Mean in the Bible?
I long for peace, it drives me some days. A while back we started trying to answer the question, “How do we find peace of mind?” In the search, we have been going through Philippians 4:8-9 word by word. Today we are focusing on the word honor. We want to know, what does honor mean in the Bible?
“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything is worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” (Philippians 4:8 NASB)
Honor… in our thoughts…
But, honor is a word we do not use in the 21st Century. So to understand how thinking with honor leads to peace we first have to understand it. We will begin by answering two important questions.
- What does honor mean?
- What does honor mean in the Bible?
Related Post: How to Have Peace of Mind No Matter What
What is The True Meaning of Honor?
What is honor in life? We, as a culture, tend to think in terms relative to us, so you may be asking, “What does honor mean to me?” Or, “What does honor mean to you?”
As honor is a lost art in our culture, to find its true honor meaning in the Bible (God’s Word) I had to dig deep. Often I can just search out Webster’s dictionary to understand a word, but that was not enough with honor.
- The dictionary definition of honor – high respect, great esteem.
For this, I had to go to the Greek and Hebrew word to understand what does honor mean Biblically. What is the Biblical definition of honor?What Does honor mean in the Bible? Grace treats others with honor as you would want to be treated. Click To Tweet
What Does Honor Mean in Hebrew and What Does Honor Mean in Greek?
If we need to go back to the original language, what is the Hebrew meaning of honor? I found the Hebrew and Greek were similar, but the Greek seemed clearer.
- Honor in Greek is sem-no’s. This definition of honor in the Bible means to be venerated (thought about) with good character, to be seen as honorable, and worthy of high esteem.
What Does the Word Honor Mean in the Bible?
Hmmm… did that honor definition Bible style really clarify anything?
Thinking about others with good character… Let’s ask some questions about our thoughts to clarify, some examples of honor questions.
- Is this thought of the highest possible opinion of the person or situation?
- As opposed to the lowest opinion or complaining or bashing them.
- Is this thought worthy of respect?
- Like, if it left my mouth would it be something I am proud to have said about that person or situation?
This is such a tall order. Whatever is honorable… think on those things… instead of the things that are dishonorable… which are far easier to think of, to begin with.
Is anyone else feeling overwhelmed by this?
What Is The Difference Between Honor and Respect in the Bible?
Respect and honor are often used interchangeably. Their meaning is so similar. The main difference between honor and respect is sooooo slight that you might miss it if you read to fast.
This is an honor vs respect comparison to help:
You will always respect those you honor, but you may not always honor those you respect.
The Bible tells us to respect our elders, for example.
- Respect has to do with how you feel about someone’s abilities and achievements.
- I respected the president and CEO of the first company I worked for. He worked hard to learn the trade without any education and rose to the top.
- Honor, on the other hand, is about a person’s character.
- The same man, was cut-throat, crushing many on his rise to the top. I did not feel honor toward him though I did respect him.
What Are Examples of Honor?
Now that we understand what honor is – the ability to think in the highest possible opinion of the person or situation – let’s see some examples of honor.
Can I be super honest with you? I struggle to honor many people. It begins with respect, for what they have accomplished or contributed to the world, but often, there are such deep character flaws at the hearts of great people.
What I find, is that the people I am able to honor, are not celebrities or scientists, but everyday people in my life.
- I can honor Ms. Norma.
- She sacrificed much to care for her family even to the end. Her character showed a love for God and others that still wows me.
- Luke is easy to honor.
- He has always been so steadfast in his pursuit of the Lord, regardless of health struggles and life challenges.
Honor in Marriage
So, staying super honest with you, marriage is where I tend to lose my peace most often. Whenever two sinners live life together, we bump into the sin and character flaws of the other daily. There are daily reminders of my husband’s sin struggles. I know where his character is wanting.
It is challenging to honor my husband some days. And we have seen the Bible say that honor really is about our thoughts. We must be thinking honorably about the other person to ever stand a chance of showing honor and keeping peace for a long life.
So, how do you honor your spouse when you see their mess?
You can see a lot about honor in the Bible and that can help your thoughts… Especially our thoughts in marriage as you seek to live as a gracious woman who knows to fear God.
Honor The Marriage Bed
We could not talk about honor in marriage without seeing the instruction of the Lord about sex in marriage. We have a natural desire to fulfill our own pleasure in various ways, but that can lead to sin. It is critical that we seek God’s glory first even in the area of sexual pleasure. To do that we must remember the first commandment and the second!
“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ ” (Matthew 22:36-3 NASB)
And to love God I have to hold my husband and our union in high estimation. I have to refuse to allow anything or anyone to dishonor that union sexually, not books, movies, friendships, or anything else!
Related Post: Is Virtual Infidelity A Ground for Divorce Biblically?
Biblical Examples of Honor: Bible Veres on Honor
How many times is honor mentioned in the Bible? What does honor mean to God? Are there examples of honor in the Bible?
The Bible talks about honor over 140 times! That is a lot.
Some noteworthy topics around honor in the Bible (Bible verses about honor) are:
- Man of Honor Bible verses (11 Bible verses about men of honor – Great stories of honor in the Bible).
- Honor your mother and father verses (38 Bible verses about honoring your parents).
- Jesus Christ showed honor throughout the New Testament (we’ll go into that)
- God showed honor and sometimes a double honor (we’ll go into those Bible verses about honor as well)
How Did Jesus Show Honor?
Jesus Christ showed honor in so many situations. He saw past the mistakes of others and treated them with honor.
- The woman at the well (John 4:1-42).
- He spoke to her and shared salvation with her though her sin made her an outcast.
- The woman with the issue of blood (Luke 8:43-48).
- Culture said she couldn’t even touch him, yet he healed her and stopped to acknowledge her.
- The lepers (Luke 17:11-19).
- Also, outcasts, people who others thought were ill because of sin, Jesus healed them.
- The demon possessed (Matthew 17:14-23).
- He honored them by speaking to them, healing them, and loving them.
- The disciples (John 13:1-17).
- He washed their feet, taught them, and called them though they were not religious, brave, or qualified.
Jesus showed honor to most, however, we also see examples where Jesus did not honor. He did not honor the religious leaders, the very ones you would assume would have high morality and great character. Yet, Jesus could see their hearts.
What is the Biblical Difference Between Honor and Respect?
Here again, we see a great example of the difference between honor and respect.
- Jesus showed respect for the teachers of the Law, as the Bible teaches (Luke 10:25-39) by answering their questions and trying to open their eyes.
- But, Jesus did not honor them, in fact, He repeatedly pointed out their sin publically (Matthew 23:23-36), calling them to live up to the higher standard God to which called them.
Who did God Honour in the Bible?
God often honored believers throughout the Scripture. When God honors a man in the Bible we see blessings follow. A few people God honored were:
- He walked with God (Gen 5:21–24).
- God chose him and spoke with him, sharing His plans (Gen 17).
- Was given dreams and used to shave the nations of the world from starvation (Genesis 37:1-44).
- Saw the glory of God and spoke with Him directly (Exodus 33:18-20).
- Was chosen to raise the Savior of the world (Luke 1:26-38).
- Had dreams and visions of the end times (Revelation 1:9-20).
A key to learn in this is that God honors those who honor HIM.
How Does God Honor Someone?
I want to just hang out here for a moment. Often we hope God honors us with comfort and prosperity.
What does it mean to honor someone in the Bible? The honor we receive from God is more about relationships, calling, and responsibility.
What Does Double Honor Mean in the Bible
While I am clarifying things, let me answer this as well. 1 Timothy 5:17 talks about a double honor and I have heard many people pull this out of context.
Paul is teaching about those who have been called to teach you the ways of God. Preachers, teachers, and the like are due honor – being thought of with high character. We are also due an income for the work that you enjoy.
I find it interesting that the early church faced the same struggle we face today. Many people believe that those who teach the Bible should do so for free… maybe somehow we don’t have to eat or pay rent… I don’t know the rationalization that is behind the false thought.
Anyway, being worthy of double honor is just that, high esteem and a livable wage for the work of teaching the gospel when it is a calling. The Apostle Paul was speaking of church leaders and those in a high position in the faith.
Showing God Honor
All of our Christian life is meant to show God honor as we are the weaker vessel in this relationship. But how can we show God honor? We will dig into how to think with honor below, but for now, I want to show you how God’s name was honored in the Bible.
People showed God honor by speaking the Name of God that went with each instance of seeing Him move in their lives.
- El Shaddai – Almighty, All-Sufficient God
- Jehovah Ga’al – The LORD our Redeemer (Read More)
- Jehovah El Elohim The LORD, Mighty, Powerful, Strong
- Elohei Mikkarov – God who is Near(Read More)
Also, in speaking the name of the Lord Jesus when doing God’s work.
“that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:10-11 NKJV)
Finally, we see in the book of Revelation that the Living Creatures never stop worshiping God with a loud voice, saying,
All of creation honors God. We, His chosen people, must learn to make honor part of our lifestyle as we learn through Jesus’ teaching and all the Scripture. This is the path to eternal life.
Related Post: Find Joy in The Names Of God
3 Ways to Think With Honor
Now that we understand what it means to think with honor, how do we actually show honor in our thoughts?
Especially when the person or situation is just not honorable. Right, that’s the real challenge. Some people are not honorable. Some situations are not honorable.
There are 3 ways that have helped me switch my thinking and I would say they are daring!
Grace is unearned favor and God gives it freely… while I tend to withhold it, demanding favor be earned… Anyone else?
To give grace to someone who is not perfect, to someone who may have hurt me, or even to someone who hurts me in small ways often requires the power of God at work in me.
I ask the Holy Spirit to remind me that they are not the sum of their mistakes… that’s how I tend to think about my offender when I am at the height of anger. How about you? He lied so he is a liar. She was cruel and so she is cold-hearted.
“In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 7:12 NASB)
But if the shoe was on the other foot, I don’t want to be known for my faults. I don’t want to be thought of for my mistakes (like the woman who always shrinks the socks and burns the eggs).
Grace treats others with honor as you would want to be treated.
Shift Your Focus
So, it’s all good and fine to say give people grace, but to actually do it we need a shift.
UNLESS… you are in an abusive situation. Get to safety and find a good Christian counselor if you are. No amount of change in yourself will change your abuser…
So, if you are in a non-abusive situation, a thought shift can help you think with honor.
How do you shift? When you are tempted to see only the faults of your offender, try to think of their strengths instead.
“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23 NASB)
Remember that we all fall sometimes. Our failure does not define who we are.
Are you struggling to find the good character or virtuous thing to think about in your offender?
Try to compare who they were last year to who they are today. Think of the ways that person has grown.
It reminds me that God is able to grow and mature them.
“Let no unwholesome word come out of your mouth, but if there is any good word for edification according to the need of the moment, say that, so that it will give grace to those who hear.” (Ephesians 4:29 NASB).
Remembering that God is the one doing the work helps me think and speak with honor. This is key for me because when I begin to feel like they are what they did and they always will be, I am tempted to let my words steal my peace…
Taking The High Road When It Gets Really Bad
Does this work when life is hard? It can be challenging to think of others in honor when they hurt me.
- When the offending party is blinded by their own pain and lashes out regularly.
- If the person I love is immature, toxic, slow to grow, or caught in addiction.
The people I have the hardest time thinking of in honor tend to be the people who keep hurting me. They hit me over and over again with the same crazy behavior and I sunk into bitterness and resentment.
Remember what honor means in the Bible is to think of the person or situation in the highest possible opinion. Thinking of them in honor here is about taking the high road.
You have to choose to rise above the level of character they show to keep your peace.
The Process of Forgiveness is Key
How can you possibly take the high road when they are toxic or refuse to change behavior they know hurts you? Forgiveness.
Remember this is not talking about abuse, but for every other behavior, forgiveness is a way to keep your peace.
Now, know that forgiving them does not mean reconciliation – remaining in a relationship with them. What it does, however, is creates a pathway to freedom for me allowing me to think of them in honor.
Forgiveness helps me stay right with God, even when they are not.
I am not suggesting you be naive to the faults that cause you harm.
Nope, you need to be safe.
If you are in a dangerous situation – remove yourself. Forgiveness doesn’t mean staying in harm’s way.
Forgiveness, however, is about your freedom and peace of mind, not theirs!
I talk a lot about forgiveness because it has been the key to my freedom and victory in life. It can be yours as well!
Related Post: What Is Forgiveness and Why Is It Important?
What Does Honor Your Mother and Father Mean in the Bible?
Okay, now I know I focus on marriage a lot, but the Bible talks a lot about honoring your parents. A lot. This is the fifth commandment in the Old Testament, to hold your parents in high regard.
This is honestly something I have wrestled with most of my life. How do adult children show great respect to unrespectable parents?
What does it mean to honor your parents Biblically? And how can you do that when their character is less than honorable?
- Refuse to bad-mouth your parents especially if they are just flawed fellow believers.
- They made mistakes. I have talked with them and with counselors about the mistakes, but that is as far as it goes.
- Pray for your parents.
- They need to grow in Jesus, just like everyone else, and walk in God’s love, as God’s people.
- Give them grace.
- Remember they are human and did the best they could with what they had to offer. This will honor God as you obey God’s command to show them honor.
Over the years, I have had to set boundaries between both parents to protect myself. But when it was safe to be with them, I honored them with relationships. It wasn’t a perfect relationship, and I had to keep part of myself back, but it was something and we both grew through it.
Mostly, I honor them by praying for them. When I was hurt and wanted to lash out, I prayed instead.
Prayer is a beautiful way to honor anyone in your life, but especially those who are difficult to honor.
Honor in a Difficult Marriage
I mentioned earlier that thinking honorable thoughts about my husband can be difficult. The same rules for honoring your parents apply in these situations.
I can honor my spouse, even when our marriage is difficult and I see his sin regularly. I can! You can too.
- Refuse to bad mouth him.
- Find trustworthy friends who will pray with you over the real parts.
- Pray for him more than you talk about him negatively.
- God can change much!
- Give him grace.
- He is not perfect and never will be, but neither am I.
- I grow and change. Look back at how much he has changed since you met him. Celebrate that when you want to be mad at where he hasn’t grown yet.
Remember God Has Your Back
“God is our refuge and strength,
A very ready help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth shakes
And the mountains slip into the heart of the sea;” (Psalm 46:1-2 NASB)
Thinking of your offender in honor means taking the high road and letting God have your back. The fear of the Lord helps us do this. Remember the Lord of Hosts fights your battles!
And Y’all, God has our back… Especially if we have forgiven and are striving to think of them in honor, according to His will!!
“But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who are abusive to you.” (Luke 6:27-28 NASB)
You can trust God to teach them and grow them. You can choose to think highly of them and pray for them anyway.
How Will You Use What You’ve Learned About What Does Honor Mean in the Bible?
Peace comes when we think with honor. What does honor mean in the Bible? Thinking about the person or situation with the highest possible opinion.
This is a slow methodical process, but peace will come as we learn how to take those dishonoring, disrespectful thoughts captive and replace them with the 67 verses above about what honor means.
in HIS love,
If you enjoyed this, you will love these articles:
- 5 Ways to Restore Honor In Marriage
- 10 Ways to Love the Lord With All Your Mind
- 7 Ways to Begin To Walk in the Grace of God