The principal Hebrew term denoting “honor” is ka·vohdhʹ, which literally means “heaviness.” (Compare the use of related terms in 1Sa 4:18 and 2Sa 14:26.) So a person who is honored is regarded as being weighty, or amounting to something. In Greek, the noun ti·meʹ conveys the sense of “honor,” “esteem,” “value,” “preciousness.” Thus the verb ti·maʹo can also mean “set a price on” (Mt 27:9); the noun ti·meʹ can have the sense of “price,” “value” (Mt 27:6; Ac 4:34); and the adjective tiʹmi·os can mean “esteemed,” “dear, or valuable,” and “precious.”—Ac 5:34; 20:24; 1Co 3:12.
Jehovah God and His Son. By reason of his Creatorship and Sovereignty, Jehovah God is deserving of honor, reverential regard or respect. (1Ti 1:17; Heb 3:3, 4; Re 4:9-11) People render this honor by doing what is pleasing in his sight, as his Son did at all times. (Joh 8:29, 49) While the Law covenant was in effect, the Israelites could honor Jehovah by presenting their very best as sacrifices.—Pr 3:9; Mal 1:6-8.
Mere formalistic observance of the outward forms of worship does not constitute a true honoring of the Almighty. There also needs to be a real love for Jehovah’s ways and a heartfelt desire to do his will. This was lacking among the religious leaders of Judaism in the time of Jesus’ earthly ministry.—Mr 7:6; Isa 29:13.
Jesus Christ set the perfect example in honoring his Father, carrying out His will flawlessly to the point of laying down his life in sacrifice. (Mt 26:39; Joh 10:17, 18) Because he delighted to do the Father’s will, his Father honored him by acknowledging him as His beloved and approved Son. (2Pe 1:17; Mt 17:5) After the completion of Jesus’ earthly course, God conferred far greater honor and dignity upon his Son than Jesus had before his becoming a man. (Php 2:9-11) The case of Jesus Christ illustrates how the Most High will honor all who honor Him, recognizing them as His approved servants and blessing them beyond measure.—1Sa 2:30.
Since it was Jehovah God who highly exalted his Son, all who refuse to acknowledge Jesus Christ as the immortal King of kings and Lord of lords dishonor the Father. Because of who he is and what he has accomplished, the Son deserves honor and loyal support. (Joh 5:23; 1Ti 6:15, 16; Re 5:11-13) All who desire to be honored by the Son as his approved disciples must imitate his example and faithfully adhere to his teaching.—Ro 2:7, 10.
Other Persons to Be Honored. Whereas Jehovah God and his Son merit the greatest honor, there are relationships among humans that also call for honor. Children are to honor their parents by being obedient. (De 5:16; Eph 6:1, 2) When parents come into need, their adult offspring can show honor by responding willingly with material aid. (Mt 15:4-6; 1Ti 5:3, 4) Whereas the husband would honor his wife by treating her lovingly and with dignity, the wife would honor her husband by being in subjection and showing deep respect. (1Pe 3:1-7) Elders who worked hard in teaching were to be given “double honor,” which evidently included material aid. (1Ti 5:17, 18) Christian slaves were to honor their masters by respectfully discharging the tasks assigned to them. (1Ti 6:1, 2) Rulers and others in authority should be given the honor, or respect, that their position requires. (Ro 13:7) Regardless of their station in life, people of all sorts, as part of God’s creation, are deserving of honor.—1Pe 2:17.
Christians are to take the lead in showing honor to fellow believers. (Ro 12:10) This includes seeking not one’s own advantage but that of others. (1Co 10:24) It calls for a willingness to perform humble tasks. (Lu 22:26; Joh 13:12-17) This fine spirit can be maintained by remembering that every believer is precious to God and that Christians need one another, just as each member of the human body is dependent on the others.—1Co 12:14-27.
While not being glory seekers, Christians are rightly concerned about maintaining an honorable standing before Jehovah God and his Son. This necessitates guarding against associations that corrupt and resisting the desires of the sinful flesh. Only by remaining morally and spiritually pure does one remain an honorable vessel for God’s use. (1Th 4:3-8; 2Ti 2:20-22; Heb 13:4) Therein lies real honor.