CHIVALRY AND HONOUR
A STUDY IN SCRIPTURE
GARY RAY BRANSCOME
Throughout the past two thousand years of western history many ideas have influenced our culture. However, few of those ideas have been as widely accepted and long standing as the dual concept of Chivalry and Honour.
In a limited sense the concept of Honour predates the rise of Christianity. In some cultures Honour consisted of little more than praiseworthy conduct on the part of a soldier. In other cultures it represented behavior which would not bring shame to one’s family. The ancient Romans valued Honour. (Rom. 2:14,15) The apostle Paul refers to it. (1 Thess. 4:4) And in the context of Christianity, strengthened by the moral precepts of God’s Word, the concept of Honour came to represent a way of life. A life conducted in a manner which was above reproach. Behavior which did not in any way violate conscience or compromise with evil.
In contrast the concept of Chivalry developed during the Middle Ages. Chivalry represents the ideal of true manliness, the Christian gentleman. The man of Honour who, like David, is willing to face death to protect his faith, his loved ones, or his nation, yet who, like Christ, is kind, understanding and gracious in his dealing with others. In contrast to the modern concept of manliness, the cold, unfeeling and often cruel macho man. The Christian gentleman is considerate, respectful of others and protective of the weak.
The following outlines present an array of Bible passages that support the Christian ideal of Chivalry and Honour.
The chivalrous man is first of all gentle. He has an inner strength which enables him to be calm and dignified in every situation. He experiences none of the inner conflict and self doubt which often leads lesser men to feel the need to prove their manhood.
Confident in his manhood the chivalrous man is kind. This is in full accord with godliness as it is written, "be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you," Eph. 4:32 (See also 1Cor. 13:4, Luke 6:35, Jer. 9:24,2 Peter 1:7, Col. 3:12)
1. Being kind he is good mannered and polite. - Proverbs 15:23,26, Proverbs 15:1—4, Proverbs 12:18, Proverbs 16:21, Eccl. 10:12, I Peter 3:8,9.
2. He is considerate of others. - Psalm 41:1, Proverbs 29:7, Hebrews 10:24, 2 Peter 1:7, Hebrews 13:1, Proverbs 29:2, Luke 22:25,26.
3. He is not petty. - Matthew 6:14, Matthew 18:35, Lev. 19:18, Proverbs 20:22, Proverbs 28:23, James 5:9, Proverbs 16:32.
4. He is not cruel. - Genesis 49:7, Proverbs 11:7, Proverbs 12:10, Luke 23:21,22.
5. He is not arrogant. - Proverbs 10:18, Proverbs 8:13, Phil. 2—5:8, Proverbs 13:10, Proverbs 16:5, Titus 3:2, John 18:22,23
Confident in his manhood the chivalrous man is also respectful. He has no need to show disrespect in order to prove himself. His speech is gracious. His conduct is in accord wisdom. Eccl. 10:12, 1Samuel 18:5,14,15,30. Proverbs 17:26, Proverbs 13:10, Proverbs 15:26, Phil 2:5—8.
1. He is respectful of God. - Psalm 34:18, Proverbs 1:7, Jer. 14:14, Ezra 7:10, Isaiah 3:8, Deut. 11:6,
2. He is respectful of parents. - Exodus 20:12, Eph. 6:1,2, Matthew 15:4
3. He is respectful of the elderly. - Lev. 19:32, I Timothy 5:1.
4. He is respectful of authority. - I Thess. 5:12,13, Titus 3:1, Romans 13:5, John 18:23.
5. He is respectful of women:
A. in his speech. - I Peter 3:10, Proverbs 15:2,4, Proverbs 15:26, Eccl. 10:12, Psalm 39:1
B. in his behavior. - I Peter 3:7, Eph. 4:32, Eph. 5:25,28, Psalm 97:10
Being gentle the chivalrous man embodies true manliness. His manliness consists of far more than pride and pretence. His manliness issues from an inner strength which enables him to evaluate himself honestly and to do his duty in whatever situation he may find himself.
1. A real man is big hearted (magnanamous.) He is forgiving, gracious and understanding. I kings 4:29, Eccl. 10:12, Proverbs .14:29, Luke 6:37,38, Eph. 4:32,
2. He is generous to the vanquished. - Eccl. 3:3,8, Zech. 7:9, Matthew 18:35, Luke 6:35,
3. He is not cruel to his enemies. - Matthew 5:43,44, Proverbs 25:21, Genesis 49:7, 1Samuel 2’1:18,19,
4. He is a good sport and has a good sense of humor. He can laugh at himself. Eccl. 10:12, Proverbs 19:11, Proverbs 17:27, Colossians 3:15,
5. He does not put on airs, nor does he feel the need to impress other people. Galatians 6:3, I Cor. 8:2, Romans 1:22, Matthew 23:12, Proverbs 21:23, Philippians 2:3-9,
6. He does not deny his sins or attempt to excuse them. Luke 18:10—14, I John 1:8,9, James 5:16, Psalms 32:5, Matthew 3:6, Proverbs 9:8, 2 Samuel 12:13,
7. He is a defender of the weak and oppressed, never their exploiter. Lev. 25:14,17, Proverbs 14:31, Mal. 3:5, I Thess. 4:6, Jer. 7:6, Proverbs 22:22, Matthew 23:14, Mark 12:40, Matthew 25:40.
In short Macho is not manly.
Walking in true manliness the chivalrous man will not run from responsibility. He will face his duties with a manly resolve to prevail and an inner confidence that his life is in God’s hand. I Timothy 1:7, Philippians 2:5—8.
1. He will acknowledge his duty to God. - Psalm 97:10, Jer. 23:28,
2 Timothy 2:12, John 10:13, Daniel 6:7 10, Job 13:15, Mark 12:29,30
2. His duty to his family. - Neh, 4:14, Genesis 14:14, I Kings 21; 3,4, I Timothy 5:8, Mal. 4:5,6, Proverbs 22:6,
3. His duty to his country and countrymen. - Neh. 4:14, Judges 6:12, 2 Samuel. 2:7, Mark 12:31,
4. He will put the accomplishment of that duty ahead of personal safety. - John 15:13, Daniel 6:10, I Samuel 17:33—37, John 18:4,5,8, John 19:8,
5. He will not compromise with the enemies of his God, his
family or his country. - Rev. 12:11, I Cor. 10:31, Daniel 3:6—12,
Rev. 2:10, 2 Samuel 2:7, Daniel 6:7,l0,Acts 5:29, 2 Chr. 19:2, Romans 12:9, Psalm 97:10
The man of honour maintains an inner integrity. He knows in his heart what is right and what is wrong and he will not do what he believes to be wrong. He values a good reputation and wants to identify himself with that which is good and righteous and praiseworthy. However, even if no one would ever know, he would not do evil because he would know. Psalm 97:10, Proverbs 8:13.
1. The man of honour will not violate his own conscience. Proverbs 8:13, I Peter 3:16, Genesis 39:9, Proverbs 4:27, Romans 12:9, Psalm 97:10.
2. His mind rather than his desire will control his conduct. Romans 8:6, I Thess. 4:4, 2 Tim. 2:22, 2 Tim. 3:4 Proverbs 15:26, Proverbs 12:5, Proverbs 11:3, Proverbs 1:10, Proverbs 25:28.
3. Furthermore his mind is guided by his conscience. Jer. 31:33, Proverbs 17:10, Proverbs 11:23.
4. And his conscience is guided by God’s Word. Proverbs 28:26, 2 Cor. 10:5, Proverbs 15:33.
5. Our conscience is what we know to be right not just the guilt we feel when we sometimes fail to do what we know to be right. Isaiah 51:7, Jer. 31:33. Psalm 119:128, Romans 2:14,15.
6. The man of honour therefore maintains an inner integrity. Proverbs 19:1, Exodus 23:2, Psalm 26:1.
A. He does what is right even when he is not being watched. Genesis 39:9, Zech. 8:17.
B. He will not dishonour himself in his own eyes by evil behavior. Genesis 39:9, Isaiah 56:2, 2 Timothy 2:22.
C. His own heart would condemn him if he did evil. Isaiah 51:7, Jer. 31:33.
7. Satan will do all he can to pervert this love of righteousness into a self-deceptive denial of one’s own sinfulness. Proverbs 21:2, Luke 18:9, Proverbs 20:6, Luke 18:11-14, Proverbs 14:12.
Abhoring all that is evil the man of honour values a good reputation. He identifies himself with the forces of righteousness and has no desire to be thought of as chic, slick or cool by others. He would never enter into questionable behavior or engage in filthy jesting just to be accepted by the crowd. He would rather be rejected but regarded as righteous than be accepted but regarded as evil. Proverbs 22:1, Eccl. 7:1, Proverbs 10:1.
A. Because he values a good reputation the man of honour identifies himself with righteousness. Proverbs 24:1, I Thess. 5:22 Psalm 119:128, Psalm 19:8, I Thess 4:4, Psalm 25:21, Romans 12:9. in his conduct, in his manners, in his speech etc. Psalm 140:3, Proverbs 15:26,28, Proverbs 19:1, Proverbs 12:13, Proverbs 26:28, Mark 15:3, Proverbs 14:9, Eccl. 10:12, I Thess. 5:22, I Peter 2:10—13, I Cor. 11:14,15.
B. He will never boast of being evil or a seducer nor will he engage in filthy jesting. Psalm 10:3, Psalm 52:1, Romans 1:26-32, Titus 1:6-8, Titus 2:6-8, Eph. 5:4, Proverbs 28:4.
2. Because the man of honour is committed to righteousness he will prefer death to dishonour. Genesis 39:9, Daniel 3:16,17, Daniel 6:10, Acts 5:39.
A. He would rather die than compromise his inner convictions. Isaiah 51:7, I Peter 5:8,9, Daniel 6:10, Matthew 26:35, Acts 5:29.
B. He will do right even if it is not expedient. Matthew 16:24, Psalm 15:4, 1Cor. 10:31, Acts 7:60, Proverbs 28:4.
C. In the past Satan has perverted this love of righteousness by prideful dueling which ought to be regarded as petty and not in accord with honour. James 4:1, Luke 6:29, Matthew 5:39, Proverbs 17:26, Proverbs 20:3, Col. 3:12.
Walking in integrity the man of honour will never run away from responsibility. He is determined to do his duty and do it well. He takes pride in his work and can be relied on. 3 John 5
1. He does not flee responsibility. John 10:13, Neh. 4:14, Acts 5:29.
2. He takes pride in his work. Col. 3:17, 1Cor. 10:31, Proverbs 27:23, 2 Timothy 2:15.
3. He can be relied on to do a good job. Col. 3:23, 2Cor. 13:7, Genesis 39:9.
Being responsible the man of honour is true to his word. He feels a responsibility to stand by what he has said. He takes his commitments seriously and will not compromise his honesty by trying to wiggle out of them. Proverbs 15:28, 2 Cor. 13:7, Proverbs 20:6, Jer, 9:3,5,18, Proverbs 26:28.
1. He takes his promises
seriously. Psalm 15:4, 2 Cor. 13:7, Psalm 5:9.
2. He takes vows seriously. Josh. 9:29, Psalm 15:4, Zech. 8:17, Matthew 5:33.
3. He is uncompromisingly honest. Proverbs 20:6, Proverbs 12:22, Proverbs 14:5, Romans 1:22, Proverbs 18:21, Proverbs 28:23, Proverbs 17:4, Proverbs 12:19, Proverbs 17:23, 2 Peter 2:18, Proverbs 6:7.
The female counterpart to the man of honour is the woman of honour. Gracious and self controlled yet gentle and feminine the woman of honour is first and formost a lady in the highest sense of the word.
In contrast to the so-called "liberated woman" who often feels cheated because she was born female the woman of honour delights in her womanhood. She enjoys the role that God has assigned her and feels no need to appear masculine. Deuteronomy 22:5, 1Corinthians 11:14,15.
1. If married she is respectful of her husband. Proverbs 12:4, Proverbs 13:10, I Peter 3:1-6, Genesis 2:16. I Timothy 2:12, I Timothy 3:5, 1Corinthians 11:3, Ephesians 5:33, Proverbs 31:12, Titus 2:5.
2. She finds satisfaction and fulfillment in devotion to her home and husband. Proverbs 31:12, Proverbs 12:4, Proverbs 31:27, Proverbs 24:3, Proverbs 14:1.
3. She is good humored and understanding. Proverbs 11:6, Ephesians 4:32, Proverbs 31:26.
4. She enjoys being treated like a lady. I Peter 3:7
A. shown respect - 1Peter 3:8, Ephesians 5:25
B. helped - Ephesians 4:32, Colossians 3:19, Ephesians 5:28,33.
The woman of honour has an air of childlike innocence about her. Her voice and mannerisms are soft, natural and feminine, never hard, sophisticated or calculating. 1Peter 3:3,4, 1Corinthians 14:20.
1. Her femininity will express itself in her dress and mannerisms. Deuteronomy 22:5, 1Peter 3:3,4, 1Corinthians 11:14,15
2. It will express itself in the way she communicates anger (she will never be hateful or threatening) Lamentations 4:3, Proverbs 10:12, Proverbs 9:13, Proverbs 11:16, Proverbs 13:10, Ephesians 4:26, Proverbs 31:26, 1Peter 3:8,9, Proverbs 15:1, Proverbs 14:1,3, Proverbs 7:11, Ecclesiastes 5:3 Ephesians 4:3J
3. She will have a forgiving spirit and will not harbor grudges. Matthew 6:14,15, Romans 12:17, Colossians 3:12, Ephesians 4:32.
4. She will have an humble and unpretentious attitude and will not attempt to put on airs. Matthew 23:2, Proverbs 21:23, Philippians 2:3—9, Galatians 3:6, 1Corinthians 8:2, Romans 1:22.
5. She will not deny her sins or attempt to excuse them. Luke 8:10—14, James 5:16, 2Samuel 12:13, Psalms 32;5, Matthew 3:6, Proverbs 9:8.
A woman of honour will also evidence an inner strength of character. She will identify herself with that which is right and good and pure. She will be self-controlled and responsible. She will be uncompromising in her abhorrence of evil. She will not violate her inner integrity. Psalm 97:10
1. A woman of honour is dependable. She will not shirk her responsibilities. 1Timothy 3:11, Proverbs 31:11,27.
A. She is honest. Proverbs 13:5, Jeremiah 9:3,5,8, 2 Peter 2:18, Proverbs 6:17, Proverbs 12:19,22, Proverbs 17:4, Proverbs 26:28, Proverbs 28:23.
B. She takes her commitments seriously. Zechariah 8:17, Matthew 5:33, Leviticus 19:12, Psalm 15:4
C. She keeps her promises. 1Timothy 3:11, Psalm 5:9.
2. A woman of honour will put right ahead of personal desire or selfish wants. Proverbs 12:5.
A. She will not discourage men from doing their duty even in time of war. Nehemiah 4:14, Ecclesiastes 3:8
B. She will stand for what is right even if it is not popular to do so. Isaiah 51:7, Matthew 10:28, Proverbs 31:20.<>C. She will be self-sacrificing in her devotion to others. Romans 12:13, Proverbs 11:23, Proverbs 31:10,>
3. A woman of honour will not violate her inner integrity. Romans 2:14,15, Proverbs 11:3,23, Proverbs 31:10, Jeremiah 31:33, Titus 2:14.
A. She is uncompromising in her abhorrence of evil. Psalm 97:10, 1Thessalonians 4:4, Romans 12:9, Psalm 119:128, 2Timothy 2:22
B. She identifies herself with that which is right, wholesome and good. 1Thessalonians 5:22, Ephesians 4:24, Proverbs 31:25.
1. by her dress - Deuteronomy 22:5, 1Peter 3:3,4, Proverbs 7:10, 1Timothy 2:9.
2. by her mannerisms - 1Peter 3:5, Proverbs 31;26, Proverbs 11;16.
3. by her conduct – 1Thessalonians 4:4 I Timothy 5:6 Proverbs 4:27, Proverbs 10:12, Titus 2:5
C. She is dignified and composed. Ecclesiastes 10:12
1. her mind is in control - Ephesians 4:29, 2Corinthians 10:5, Romans 12:2, Proverbs 11:6, Proverbs 15:28, Proverbs 14:29
2. Her speech is upright - Proverbs 9:13, Ecclesiastes 5:3, Proverbs 31:26, Proverbs 21:23, Proverbs 15:26, Titus 2:8
3. She does not use bad language – Ephesians 4:31, I Peter 3:8,9, Proverbs 15:28
4. She is not cruel or hateful in her manner of expressions. Lamentations 4:3, Proverbs 10:12, Ephesians 4:32, Ephesians 5:2, Proverbs 31:26, Proverbs 15:28, Proverbs 15:26, Proverbs 16:21, 23, Proverbs 11:16
Although generally neglected by the academic community the dual concept of chivalry and honour continues to exert its effect upon our society. We see that effect every time a man opens a door for a lady, every time a child is told not to make fun of the handicapped, every time a doctor risks his life to stop the spread of disease, or every time we hear someone say "we follow the honour system" or "you are on your honour.
Now it is true that the trend of our society is away from chivalry and honour. More and more we see selfishness, envy and brutality exalted as the standard to follow. Babies are slaughtered by abortion. Unions resort to violence. Terrorist acts are directed against innocent civilians. Educators violate their position of trust in order to advance their ideology or program for social reform. Sexual mores are cast aside. Children are exploited for profit. Politicians curry men’s favor by offering them other people’s property. Corruption is rampant in government. Frankly enough is enough. If this trend is not reversed, if the dual concept of chivalry and honour is not revived, then all indications are that civilization itself will be destroyed. Barbarism and brutality, terrorism and dictatorship will become the universal situation. As Christians it is up to us and God help us for the hour is late.