Matthew 15:4 For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father

KJV Verse: 

Matthew 15:4 For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death.

Greek Verse: 

Literal Alternative: 

this is because God says "Value the father and the mother;" and "The one who abuses the father and the mother, let him end with a death sentence."

Hidden Meaning: 

This verse is interesting because it is an example of Christ quoting the Hebrew. We can see that his quotes match the Greek versions of the Old Testament (Septuagint) more closely than they match the original Hebrew. We have noted this as evidence that Jesus taught in Greek (see this article).

The word translated as "for" can be treated as supporting a dependent clause, or, in written English, as "this is because..." to start a new sentence.

"Commanded saying" is from the Greek verb that means "to say" and "to speak" also. However, it has less a sense of teaching and more a sense of addressing and proclaiming. It is usually just translated as "say" or "tell." The KJV source was different, having two words, one that more closely means "command" and another common verb for "say" but not tje one in the Greek sources we use today.

"Honour" is a Greek verb which means "to revere", "to honor," and "to value." It even has a sense of value in an economic sense meaning "to estimate," which has the same root as our word "to esteem."

"Father" is the common word that Christ uses to address his own father, though it can mean any male ancestor. It is introduced by an article "the." In Christ's quote, the "your" is missing with "father" though it appears in the Septuagint version of Exo 20:12.

"Mother" is the common Greek word for "mother" and "grandmothers," but it also means "the source" of something. It is introduced by an article "the."

"He that curseth" is from a Greek verb which means "to revile" and "to abuse." The verb is in in the form of an adjective used as a noun, "the one who abuses."

"Let him die" is from a Greek verb which means "to bring about", "to accomplish", "to finish," and "to die." The form is a 3rd person command, which we translated as "let him" in English. Interestingly, the Septuagint is in a different verb form, not a command, but a statement in second person future, "you will end."

"Death" is the Greek word meaning "death" generally and the death penalty specifically. In Greek, it has the clear meaning of separating the spirit from the body.

In the Sermon on the Mount after Christ teaches the Beatitudes, he goes through several of the ten commandments and raises the bar on morality. Not only shouldn't we kill, but we should turn the other cheek. One commandment he didn't mention at the time was this one. He fills in that gap now.

Christ sees parents as symbols. Generally, the father is the symbol for God, that is, the spiritual, and the mother as a source of life, in a physical sense. That union creates a new spirit and new life.

Wordplay: 

By using "the father and the mother" instead of "thy father and mother," Christ indicates that the words are meant in a more general or symbolic sense rather than the personal one, "the Father" and "the source." 

Vocabulary: 

Untranslated is the Greek article, "the," which usually proceeds a noun and, but here is separated by the particle below.

γὰρ "For" comes from gar which is the introduction of a clause explaining a reason or explanation: "for", "since," and "as." In an abrupt question it means "why" and "what."

θεὸς (noun sg masc nom) "God" is from theos, which means "God," the Deity."

εἶπεν ( verb 3rd sg aor ind act) "Commanded saying" is from eipon, which means "to speak", "to say", "to recite", "to address", "to mention", "to name", "to proclaim", "to plead", "to promise," and "to offer." --

Τίμα (verb 2nd sg pres imperat act ) "Honour" is from the Greek timaô , (timao) which means "to revere", "to honor," and "to value."

τὸν πατέρα (noun sg masc acc) "The Father" is from pater, which means "father", "grandfather", "author", "parent," and "forefathers."

καὶ "And" is from kai, which is the conjunction joining phrases and clauses, "and," or "but." After words implying sameness, "as" (the same opinion as you). Used in series, joins positive with negative "Not only...but also." Also used to give emphasis, "even", "also," and "just."

τὴν μητέρα,” (noun sg fem acc) "Mother" is from mêtêr (meter), which means "mother", "grandmother", "mother hen", "source," and "origin."

καί "And" is from kai, which is the conjunction joining phrases and clauses, "and," or "but." After words implying sameness, "as" (the same opinion as you). Used in series, joins positive with negative "Not only...but also." Also used to give emphasis, "even", "also," and "just."

κακολογῶν (part sg pres act masc nom) "  He that curseth " is from the verb kakologeo, which means "revile" and "abuse." It is a compound of the word that means "bad" and "evil" kakos and the word logos) which means "word", "computation", "reckoning," and "value."

πατέρα (noun sg masc acc) "The Father" is from pater, which means "father", "grandfather", "author", "parent," and "forefathers."

 (conj) "Or" is which is a particle meaning "either", "or," or "than."

μητέρα (noun sg fem acc) "Mother" is from mêtêr (meter), which means "mother", "grandmother", "mother hen", "source," and "origin."

θανάτῳ (noun sg masc θανάτῳdat) "The death" is from thanatos, which means "death ""kinds of death," specifically, "violent death", "corpse," and "a death sentence." --

τελευτάτω (verb 3rd sg pres imperat act) "Let him die" is from teleutao, which means "to bring to pass", "to accomplish", "to finish", "to die", "to come to an end," and, in the passive, "to be fulfilled", "come to pass", "happen," and "to be accomplished." As an adverb in means "to finish with", "at the end," and "at last." However, Christ uses this word for the OT Hebrew word, muwth, in Exo 21:17 which means "to die ""to put to death," and "to kill."

Septuagint versions:
Exo 20:12 τίμα τὸν πατέρα σου καὶ τὴν μητέρα 

Exo 21:17 ὁ κακολογῶν πατέρα αὐτοῦ ἢ μητέρα αὐτοῦ τελευτήσει θανάτῳ