Fear, respect, honor, and truth (phobeo and timao)

Back when I wrote on Masculinity is the truth and Masculinity is the truth Part 2, I discussed some important points that I want to revisit.

Specifically, there is a relationship between truth and lies that is intertwined with the dual aspect of respect/reverence and fear. This manifests itself differently in those that are believers as opposed to those that are not Christians.

Let’s do a very brief review:

The root word for reverence, respect, and fear is the word phobeo:

G5399 — φοβέω — phobeō — fob-eh’-o

From G5401; to frighten, that is, (passively) to be alarmed; by analogy to be in awe of, that is, revere: – be (+ sore) afraid, fear (exceedingly), reverence.

The dichotomy that I delineated in Part 2 is that those who are imbued in sin only have consequences to fear whereas those in submission to authority have reverence and respect for that authority. This is manifested in multiple ways:

This word is used in multiple passages in Scripture in the New Testament. For example, all Christians are to have respect or reverence for God. We are to fear God. This is the same context that we use this for the word adoration in the above chart  — it’s ultimately about building respect. As you saw yesterday in JoJ’s post on the definition of “game” it’s all about building respect. You should strive to be a man worthy of respect through the character of your words and actions. In the hierarchy of creation where God > humans, we are in fear of God because of it. Likewise, God > Jesus > Spirit and Jesus talks about his submission and gives reverence to God (only God is good) on multiple occasions. Similarly, in marriage a man > wife in terms of headship and submission and wives are supposed to give respect or reverence to their husbands.


If you weild masculinity to tempt women into sin, all you have left is fear. The fear of God’s wrath. The fear of STDs. The fear of pregnancy. The fear that is gained from giving into temptation infects both parties. For women who are promiscuous, though they attempt to rationalize it, they almost always ultimately fear that they are going to get pumped and dumped. They fear that they will be found out and exposed to society or their friends and family of their promiscuity. These women fear their N-count getting out to their spouses. When you walk the road of temptation and sin all you have left is fear. You may have momentary pleasures, but all you have left at the end is fear. A void. A gnawing sensation that something is wrong.

If we understand this in the context of the Structures of Authority, we see that the fear/respect dichotomy is that of those under authority.

govtandchristians GodandJesus christandchurch husbandswives2

  • Christians are supposed to respect governing authorities. If we do not and become law breakers then we live in fear of the consequences.
  • Jesus submits to God the Father perfectly, and thus never needed to have any fear of God because He was doing His perfect will.
  • Christians submit to Christ as He is our bridegroom, and if we disobey His commands (not loving one another like He loved us) then we have fear of the consequences.
  • Wives submit to husbands as to the Lord because otherwise they will live in fear.

Thus, the notion of reverence/respect and fear all hinges upon obeying versus disobeying the authorities set before us here on earth both in the spiritual and earthly realms.

Now, how does honor fit into this? The root word for honor is time and the verb is timao:

G5092 — τιμή — timē — tee-may’
From G5099; a value, that is, money paid, or (concretely and collectively) valuables; by analogy esteem (especially of the highest degree), or the dignity itself: – honour, precious, price, some.

G5091 — τιμάω — timaō — tim-ah’-o

From G5093; to prize, that is, fix a valuation upon; by implication to revere: – honour, value.

Timao is used multiple times in NT Scriptures in varying contexts:

Matthew 15:4 For God said, ‘Honor (timaō) your father and mother,’ and, ‘He who speaks evil of father or mother is to [a]be put to death.’ 5 But you say, ‘Whoever says to his father or mother, “Whatever I have that would help you has been [b]given to God,” 6 he is not to honor (timaō) his father or his mother[c].’ And by this you invalidated the word of God for the sake of your tradition. 7 You hypocrites, rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you: 8 ‘This people honors (timaō) Me with their lips, But their heart is far away from Me. 9 ‘But in vain do they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.’”

John 5:23 so that all will honor (timaō) the Son even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor (timaō) the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.

Ephesians 6:1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 Honor (timaō) your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise), 3 so that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth.

1 Timothy 5:3 Honor (timaō) widows who are widows indeed;

1 Peter 2:17 Honor (timaō) all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor (timaō) the [a]king.

1 Peter 3:7 You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with [c]someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor (timē) as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.

These passages show that honor is distinctly different from respect and fear (phobeo). Honor is something that we all give to our parents, that we give to God, that we give to Jesus, that we give to all people, and that husbands give to their wives.

  • It is something that is given to those in authority positions (parents, God, Jesus).
  • It is something that is given to those everyone (all people).
  • It is something given from those in authority positions (husbands to wives).

Perhaps the best explanation of what it means to honor someone is the other usage of the word timē from Matthew:

Judas’ remorse

Matthew 27:3 Then when Judas, who had betrayed Him, saw that He had been condemned, he felt remorse and returned the thirty [a]pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, 4 saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” But they said, “What is that to us? See to that yourself!” 5 And he threw the pieces of silver into the temple sanctuary and departed; and he went away and hanged himself. 6 The chief priests took the pieces of silver and said, “It is not lawful to put them into the temple treasury, since it is the price (timē) of blood.” 7 And they conferred together and [b]with the money bought the Potter’s Field as a burial place for strangers. 8 For this reason that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day. 9 Then that which was spoken through Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: “And [c]they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price (timē) of the one whose price had been set by the sons of Israel; 10 and [d]they gave them for the Potter’s Field, as the Lord directed me.”

Honor is not something that is related to authority. Rather, it is something bought for a price. It is precious. It represents that which is valuable, and that which is supremely valuable is the blood of Jesus which is the sacrifice for all.

In this definition we can see that everyone is precious — those in authority, everyone, and those under authority — and to be honored because we are all God’s creations. We all have been bought with the price of Jesus’ blood even if others may not accept it.


So what does this all mean?

In today’s age I often see men demanding respect from women (who are not husband and wife), women demanding respect from others, and women not respecting their husbands.

All of these are incorrect assumptions and understanding of what Scriptural teaching.

  • Honor is to be given to all because we are all God’s creations, believers and non-believers. We have all been bought with a price.
  • Honor is something given to everyone regardless of who they are or what they have done.
  • In fact, no one should even demand honor. Honor, like love, is something that is freely given from the giver.
  • Respect/reverence or fear is reserved for those in authoritative positions over you — both earthly and spiritually. Believers are not called to respect each other but rather love each other. The only authority Christians have over each other is through correction/rebuke (Matt 18, Eph 5). Also see, is there mutual submission or not [in marriage].
  • Respect is not conditional. It is given to authority. A wife must respect the position of husband, even if the husband is not acting in a manner worthy of respect. In this, she obeys God and God can use her to change her husband (1 Peter 3). See also,  wives will never win their husbands with words.
  • It is by our love that we show ourselves as Jesus’ followers. Not our respect for one another.
  • Love is an action to all whereas respect/fear is a state of condition based on our submission/obedience to earthly and spiritual authorities.
  • Feminism teaches women to incorrectly demand respect. Respect is not something that can be demanded. It is something that is given by those under authority to those in authority.
  • Women in marriage or seeking to be married should want to be LOVED and not RESPECTED. When you hear a woman talking about how she wants to be respected by a boyfriend or  by her husband in marriage you know that she does not correctly understand Scriptural roles and responsibilities.

These distinctions are necessary because we have an extremely warped view of what the Scriptures mean because of how entrenched our society is in feminism. These concepts — fear, respect/reverence, love, and honor — from the Scripture are distinctly different from each other and imparted because of different reasons.

If we as Christians fail to understand them then how much more difficult is it to correctly understand the nature of authoritiative structures and the roles and responsibilities that come with them.

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17 Responses to Fear, respect, honor, and truth (phobeo and timao)

  1. Jenny says:

    “In fact, no one should even demand honor.”
    I’ve caught myself demanding respect from my kids before, but it only makes them angrier. Respect begets respect. I’m learning how to respect them more and better in things and it is having a very positive outcome in our relationships.

  2. @ Jenny

    God requires us to give respect in the context of hierarchical situations. This is the most important knowledge of respect that we must understand.

    Secondly, I think the notion of “respect is earned” is somewhat of a misnomer. However, since it’s used a lot in the context of relationships I think it’s good to know the situations in which it is called for.

    As Christians we are called to take off the old and put on the knew; thus, what we should “respect” in others is their decision to obey the same authority that we are slaves to.

    In effect, we should respect other Christians when they follow God’s word. When they don’t follow God’s word instead of respect we should express disappointment and admonishment (either through correction or rebuke depending on the circumstances).

    In essence, it will all boil down to the conclusion that Christians should respect those who do good and none other.

    Luke 9:49 John answered and said, “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name; and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow along with us.” 50 But Jesus said to him, “Do not hinder him; for he who is not against you is [ac]for you.”

    Respect is earned in a sense that if anyone — even children or those under our authority or those who are above us — do what is right we should express pleasure in that. If they do what is wrong we should express disappointment. This does not change according to different circumstances. We are for God and none other.

  3. Jenny says:

    Reread your post, I should have used the word honor my children instead of respect. I noticed how much the word respect is thrown around to mean honor in our culture and in psychological books today. It waters down the true meaning of respect.

  4. @ Jenny

    Correct. Feminism has brought “respect” to the forefront because they encourage women to want to be men.

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  15. maik says:

    I would be careful to say that christians are under the authority of gouvernments. As Paul said that he is free from everything but Gods law and we would only follow the rules to win people for God.

    We are unser no authorities but God and Christ.

    19 Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. 20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21 To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. 23 I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.

  16. Novaseeker says:

    PSA on Eastern Orthodox Lent

    EO Lent starts Sunday, sundown, 19 Feb this year. This year I will be abstaining from internet commenting from tomorrow night through Orthodox Pascha (which is April 8), in addition to the regular, physical, fast.

    I wish you all well during this time. I will be reading from time to time during the fast, but not frequently, and will not be commenting after tomorrow evening, Sunday 19 Feb.

    I wish you all well during this time.

  17. God be with you, Novaseeker.

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