Small Group Curriculum

The Honor Principle

07.01.18 | Sermon Series: Honor Code


STUDY | Spend the week studying 1 Samuel 2:12–17, 22–36 and Mark 6:1–6. Consult the commentary provided and any additional study tools to enhance your preparation.

DETERMINE | Which discussion points and study questions will work best for your group.

PRAY | Pray for our pastors and this week’s message, the upcoming group time, your group members, and their openness to God’s Word.

LANDING POINT | If I honor God, He will honor me.

Remember the 4 Rules for Small Group Discussion

  1. Confidentiality. What’s said in the group stays in the group.
  2. No cross-talk. Be considerate of others as they share. Refrain from side conversations and texting during group time.
  3. No fixing. We are not in the group to fix each other. Jesus does that part.
  4. Sharing. Be sensitive to the amount of time you share. Don’t talk too much or too little. Every person brings something valuable to the group. 


As your group time begins, use this section to introduce the topic of discussion.


Isn’t it remarkable that people can say things on Facebook and other social media outlets that they wouldn’t dare say to someone face-to-face? More and more, people feel comfortable to freely voice their opinions online. Many have a false sense of bravery; they can be more direct, short, or even rude with others and not think twice about it.

There was a time when honor mattered in our culture. There was a common courtesy and dignity we gave to others, whether we met them on the street or invited them into our home. That isn’t the case today. By and large, we don’t understand what honor is or how to show it to others. We have an honor problem.


Many people think honor is something we can choose to give to others or withhold from them. God doesn’t see honor that way. He wants us to honor Him and honor others. There are those to whom honor is due. When you fail to honor them, two things happen:

  • You disobey. You oppose God’s direct command to show honor.
  • You miss out. You forfeit the blessings and benefits of God.

Honor may be something out of step with our culture, but God calls us to be counter-cultural. He wants us to be different by showing true honor. When we honor God, He honors us. When we honor others, we become living examples of Jesus, who lived to honor His Father in every area of His life. 

Q: In what ways is our view of honor different today than it was in years past?


Select 2-3 questions to discuss as a group.


Jesus traveled to His hometown of Nazareth with His disciples. It was His homecoming. You would think people there would have welcomed Him with open arms like a war hero returning from long months on the battlefield. Well, the people’s welcome wasn’t quite so warm.

One day Jesus was teaching in the temple on the Sabbath. The people sat back and listened in astonishment. Then they began to murmur. “Wait. Isn’t this Mary’s son? We know His family. Where in the world did He get this wisdom? How can He do these great works?” Jesus saw this happening and responded, “A prophet is not without honor, except in his hometown and among his family and household.” The Bible tells us He couldn’t do any miracles there, except a few healings, because of their unbelief.

Read: Read Mark 6:1–6. Split into pairs. Retell the story in your own words.

Q: What kept the people in Jesus’s hometown from honoring Him?


Another example of dishonor comes from the Old Testament, in 1 Samuel 2. Eli was a priest in God’s temple. He honored the Lord and was well respected in Israel. But he had two sons, Hophni and Phineas, and they are described as “worthless.” They disregarded the established customs of the priests in offering sacrifices to God. This angered God, because they treated sacrifices made to God “with contempt.”

The hearts of Eli’s sons were so hard that they wouldn’t listen to their father’s rebuke. Because they refused to repent and honor God, God passed judgment on Eli’s household. He told them, “I will honor those who honor me, and those who dishonor me shall be lightly esteemed.” Later, God’s judgment came to pass when Eli’s sons were killed by the Philistines.

READ: Read 1 Samuel 2:12–17and 22–36. What words would you use to describe Eli’s sons?

Q: In what ways is it possible to treat the things of God with contempt today?


Select 2-3 question from this section to answer.


To honor something or someone is to treat that thing or person with respect, value, and high regard. The people in Jesus’s hometown thought Jesus was one of their own, nothing more than the son of a carpenter from down the road. Their dishonor cost them, because they missed out on all Jesus could have done in Nazareth had they honored Him. Hophni and Phineas could have carried on their father’s faithful legacy. But they dishonored God and their father, and they paid the price for their disobedience with their death and judgment. God did not take their dishonor lightly.

Q: Write your own definition of honor. Share with the group.

Q: What keeps us from showing honor to God and others?


There are many blessings and benefits for showing honor. First, when we show honor, we give God control. We allow Him to work and deal with a person or a situation in His own time and way. That takes the pressure off of you to be God and take control. Second, showing honor allows God to multiply blessings for us. God works every situation for our good (Romans 8:28). Even the worst situation can reap blessings when we take a stand to honor God and others through it. Third, showing honor builds godly character and makes us more like Jesus. Jesus lived to honor His Father, and God has given you everything you need to honor Him in your life and relationships (2 Peter 1:3).

Q: What’s one situation or relationship where showing honor is hard for you? How can you relate to it differently?

Q: How does honor build godly character?



God has put people right in front of you who deserve your honor. When you honor them, you honor Jesus. And when you honor Jesus, you honor the Father. This is the Honor Chain. You can’t honor Jesus and, at the same time, dishonor others. That’s not how God works. Seek to honor Jesus by honoring those He has put right in front of you.

Q: Name one person you need to honor more in your life.


Pray for a heart that seeks to honor God first in your life. Ask God to reveal sinful attitudes or actions that have been dishonorable to Him. Next, pray to live and serve others with honor like Jesus did.


Midway through this week, send a follow-up email to your group with some or all of the following:

  • Read Romans 12:10 and reflect on how love and honor relate to one another.
  • Ask the group to share any stories or lessons learned where they see God at work in their lives.


Shock and Awe

“From a literary perspective Jesus’ reaction [to those in His hometown] reveals the severity and significance of their unbelief. Those who should be the most receptive to the gracious work of God through Jesus’ ministry in fact turn out to be the most resistant to it. Those who should be insiders turn out to be outsiders, blind and deaf to the message of the kingdom.”1

Peter and Honor

In 1 Peter 2:17, Peter tells his readers to “honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.” Everyone deserves the same honor one would give an emperor. This is truly counter to our way of thinking. This attitude sets Christians apart in every generation.

Paul and Honor

In Romans 13:1–7, Paul tells believers in Rome to be subject to the governing authorities, because they have been established by God. Paul is giving a general principle of conduct for believers. There are plenty of examples of times when obedience to God meant disobeying the government (See Ex. 1:17, 21; 1 Kings 18:4–18; Est. 4:16; Dan. 3:12–18, 6:10; Matt. 2:12; Acts 5:29; Heb. 11:23).2 Nevertheless, even in disobedience, we can maintain respect for those in authority.

Shame and Honor in Jesus

The Bible tells us Jesus despised the shame of the cross for the joy set before Him (Heb. 12:2). He gained honor by humbling Himself to die the shameful death of a criminal. However, God gave Him the highest honor in return (Phil. 2:5–11). Honor comes through humility and submission to God.


Download PDF

1. Walter W. Wessel and Mark L. Strauss, “Mark,” in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Matthew–Mark (Revised Edition), ed. Tremper Longman III and David E. Garland, vol. 9 (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2010), 779.
2. Crossway Bibles, The ESV Study Bible (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2008), 2179.