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Obedience, in human behavior, is the quality of being obedient, which describes the act of carrying out commands, or being actuated.


  • The fear of some divine and supreme powers keeps men in obedience.
    • Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy (1621), Part III, Section 4. Memb. 1. Subsec. 2.
  • It isn't right to be obedient only when things go well; it is much harder to be a good, obedient soldier when things go badly and times are hard. Obedience and faith at such time is a virtue.
    • Wilhelm Keitel, to Leon Goldensohn, May 17, 1946, from "The Nuremberg Interviews" by Leon Goldensohn, Robert Gellately (2004), p. 166.
  • Obedience is the key to every door.
  • I find the doing of the will of God, leaves me no time for disputing about His plans.
  • Son of Heav'n and Earth,
    Attend! That thou art happy, owe to God;
    That thou continuest such, owe to thyself,
    That is, to thy obedience; therein stand.
  • Ascend, I follow thee, safe guide, the path
    Thou lead'st me, and to the hand of heav'n submit.
  • That…is the road to the obedience of compulsion. But there is a shorter way to a nobler goal, the obedience of the will. When the interests of mankind are at stake, they will obey with joy the man whom they believe to be wiser than themselves. You may prove this on all sides: you may see how the sick man will beg the doctor to tell him what he ought to do, how a whole ship's company will listen to the pilot.
    • Xenophon, Cyropaedia, Book 1, Chapter 6; translation. Henry Graham Dakyns (Cyropaedia (2004) p. 29).

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations[edit]

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 564.
  • Obedience is the mother of success, the wife of safety.
  • Qui modeste paret, videtur qui aliquando imperet dignus esse.
    • He who obeys with modesty appears worthy of being some day a commander.
    • Cicero, De Legibus, III. 2.
  • 'Tis the same, with common natures,
    Use 'em kindly, they rebel,
    But, be rough as nutmeg graters,
    And the rogues obey you well.
    • Aaron Hill, verses written on a Window in a Journey to Scotland.
  • All arts his own, the hungry Greekling counts;
    And bid him mount the skies, the skies he mounts.
    • Juvenal, Third Satire. Translation by Gifford.
  • All sciences a fasting Monsieur knows;
    And bid him go to hell—to hell he goes.
    • Juvenal, Third Satire. Paraphrased by Johnson—London.
  • No nice extreme a true Italian knows;
    But bid him go to hell, to hell he goes.
    • Juvenal, Third Satire. Paraphrased by Phillips, in a letter to the king in reference to the Italian witnesses at the trial of Queen Caroline.
  • Though a god I have learned to obey the times.
    • Palladas, Epigram, in Palatine Anthology, IX, 441.
  • Through obedience learn to command.
  • The eye that mocketh at his father, and despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it.
    • Proverbs, XXX. 17.
  • Obedience decks the Christian most.

Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895)[edit]

Quotes reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895).

  • The sound convert takes a whole Christ, and takes Him for all intents and purposes, without exceptions, without limitations, without reserves. He is willing to have Christ, upon His own terms, upon any terms. He is willing to bear the dominion of Christ as well as have deliverance by Christ. He saith with Paul, "Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?"
  • O God, the strength of all those who put their trust in Thee; mercifully accept our prayer; and because through the weakness of our mortal nature, we can do no good thing without Thee, grant us the help of Thy grace, that in keeping Thy commandments we may please Thee, both in will and deed; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
    • Book Of Common Prayer, p. 436.
  • The history of all the great characters of the Bible is summed up in this one sentence: — they acquainted themselves with God, and acquiesced in His will in all things.
  • "Arise, take up thy bed and walk." You are on your bed now. You put yourself there by your own sin. You have kept yourself there by your own choice. Every sinner is a sinner because he chooses to be; and you are no exception. Jesus commands you to repent and trust Him and follow Him. The moment you are willing to obey, He gives you strength to obey.
  • Worship is easier than obedience. Men are ever readier to serve the priest than to obey the prophet.
  • I believe that the fewer the laws in a home the better; but there is one law which should be as plainly understood as the shining of the sun is visible at noonday, and that is, implicit and instantaneous obedience from the child to the parent, not only for the peace of the home, but for the highest good of the child.
  • Poor, sad Humanity
    Through all the dust and heat
    Turns back with bleeding feet,
    By the weary road it came,
    Unto the simple thought
    By the Great Master taught,
    And that remaineth still,
    Not he that repeateth the name,
    But he that doeth the will!
  • True obedience to God is the obedience of faith and good works; that is, he is truly obedient to God who trusts Him, and does what He commands.
  • O that we could take that simple view of things, as to feel that the one thing which lies before us is to please God! What gain is it to please the world, to please the great, nay, even to please those whom we love, compared with this? What gain is it to be applauded, admired, courted, followed,—compared with this one aim of "not being disobedient to the heavenly vision?"
  • Let the ground of all thy religious actions be obedience; examine not why it is commanded, but observe it because it is commanded. True obedience neither procrastinates nor questions.
  • This is the secret of Christ's kingship— "He became obedient — wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him." And this is the secret of all obedience and all command. Obedience to a law above you subjugates minds to you who never would have yielded to mere will.
  • "Sir," said the Duke of Wellington to an officer of engineers, who urged the impossibility of executing the directions he had received, "I did not ask your opinion, I gave you my orders, and I expect them to be obeyed." Such should be the obedience of every follower of Jesus.

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