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Q&A

Honoring and Adulting

Does the fifth commandment require that adult children continue to submit to their parents’ authority?

The honor due to parents, as enjoined by the fifth commandment (Ex. 20:12), should doubtless last throughout the life of a child. Nevertheless, the question here is whether or not parents (and for that matter, parents-in-law) of adult children have the divinely given right to control their lives? 

Scripture teaches children the duty of respecting the wishes of their guardians: “My son, keep thy father’s commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother.” Prov. 6:20. “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.” Eph. 6:1. Notice, however, that the command to obey is qualified with “in the Lord.” First, parental instructions that clearly contradict God’s will should not even be followed by children who are still minors. Second, there comes a time in the life of every child when the parent ceases to represent God to the child, and sons or daughters become morally responsible to

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