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Friday, January 25, 2013

On the Ten Commandments - What the Bible says

The Ten Commandments, in the context of the entire Bible



The Ten Commandments (quoted from the World English Bible, public domain)
Old Testament
New Testament
Exodus 20: (Deuteronomy 5 repeats this.)
Matthew 5:17 Don’t think that I came to destroy the law or the prophets. I didn’t come to destroy, but to fulfill. (Also Matt. 19:17-20)
1 You shall have no other gods before me.
(The Bible doesn't number the Commandments.)
Matthew 4:10 Then Jesus said to him, “Get behind me, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and you shall serve him only.’”
2 You shall not make for yourselves an idol, nor any image of anything that is in the heavens above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.
1 Corinthians 8:4 Therefore concerning the eating of things sacrificed to idols, we know that no idol is anything in the world, and that there is no other God but one. 5 For though there are things that are called “gods”, whether in the heavens or on earth; as there are many “gods” and many “lords”; 6 yet to us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and we live through him.
3 You shall not take the name of Yahweh your God in vain
James 5:12 But above all things, my brothers, don’t swear— not by heaven, or by the earth, or by any other oath; but let your “yes” be “yes”, and your “no”, “no”; so that you don’t fall into hypocrisy
4 Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. You shall labor six days, and do all your work

(The principles of this command, worship with others, rest, still hold.)
Mark 2:27 He said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. 28 Therefore the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.”
Romans 14:5 One man esteems one day as more important. Another esteems every day alike. Let each man be fully assured in his own mind. 6a He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it.
The Sabbath was from at sundown on Friday through sundown on Saturday. Seventh Day Adventists observe this now.
5 Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land which Yahweh your God gives you.
Matthew 15:4 For God commanded, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘He who speaks evil of father or mother, let him be put to death.’ 5 But you say, ‘Whoever may tell his father or his mother, “Whatever help you might otherwise have gotten from me is a gift devoted to God,” 6 he shall not honor his father or mother.’ You have made the commandment of God void because of your tradition.
6 You shall not murder.
Matthew 5:21 “You have heard that it was said to the ancient ones, ‘You shall not murder;’ and ‘Whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ 22 But I tell you, that everyone who is angry with his brother without a cause will be in danger of the judgment (Several translations don’t say “without a cause.”)
7 You shall not commit adultery.
Matthew 5:27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery;’ 28 but I tell you that everyone who gazes at a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart.
8 You shall not steal.
Ephesians 4:28 Let him who stole steal no more; but rather let him labor, producing with his hands something that is good, that he may have something to give to him who has need
9 You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
John 5:31 “If I testify about myself, my witness is not valid. 32 It is another who testifies about me. I know that the testimony which he testifies about me is true. (Included in Matthew 19:17-20)
10 You shall not covet your neighbor’s house, . . . your neighbor’s wife, . . . nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.
Luke 12:15 He said to them, “Beware! Keep yourselves from covetousness, for a man’s life doesn’t consist of the abundance of the things which he possesses.”




The Ten Commandments don’t mention love, and nothing in them forbids hypocrisy. Jesus took care of hypocrisy – see His take on the 6th & 7th above – our motives are critically important. Love was covered in Deuteronomy 6:5: You shall love Yahweh your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might. Also, in Leviticus 19:18a You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people; but you shall love your neighbor as yourself. In Mark 12:28-34 (Also in Matthew 22:35-40, Luke 10:25-37) Jesus affirmed these two, as the most important commandments. Both, especially the first, were known to the Jews of His day.

Commandments 1-4 are about our relationship to God. 5-10 are about our relationship to others.
Except for the literal 4th Commandment, all of the Ten were affirmed in the New Testament, and Jesus told His followers to rest, and we are admonished to worship with others, in the New Testament, too. Much of the Jewish law, however, does not apply to us. In Acts 15, the early church decided that Gentile believers should not be required to follow almost all of the Jewish laws, such as dietary regulations. We do not sacrifice as the Jews did.

The Ten Commandments are about things we shouldn’t do. Stealing is a sin of commission. In addition to things we should not do, there are things that we should do. If we don’t do them, we have committed a sin of omission: James 4:17 To him therefore who knows to do good, and doesn’t do it, to him it is sin. (See also Matthew 25:31-45.)

A summary commandment, for 5-10, is the Golden Rule: Matthew 7:12 Therefore whatever you desire for men to do to you, you shall also do to them; for this is the law and the prophets.

We can’t keep any set of commandments in our hearts without the help of the Holy Spirit.

For Old Testament summaries, see Deuteronomy 10:12 Now, Israel, what does Yahweh your God require of you, but to fear Yahweh your God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve Yahweh your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 to keep Yahweh’s commandments and statutes, which I command you today for your good? Also:
Micah 6:8 He has shown you, O man, what is good.
What does Yahweh require of you, but to act justly,
to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?

The Ten Commandments were given to Moses on Mt. Sinai (Exodus 19:20), also called Mt. Horeb (Deuteronomy 5:5).
It wasn’t just Moses who interacted with God. Exodus 24, we read:
3 Moses came and told the people all Yahweh’s words, and all the ordinances; and all the people answered with one voice, and said, “All the words which Yahweh has spoken will we do.”
4 Moses wrote all Yahweh’s words, and rose up early in the morning, and built an altar under the mountain, and twelve pillars for the twelve tribes of Israel. 5 He sent young men of the children of Israel, who offered burnt offerings and sacrificed peace offerings of cattle to Yahweh. 6 Moses took half of the blood and put it in basins, and half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar. 7 He took the book of the covenant and read it in the hearing of the people, and they said, “All that Yahweh has spoken will we do, and be obedient.”
8 Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, “Look, this is the blood of the covenant, which Yahweh has made with you concerning all these words.”
9 Then Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel went up. 10 They saw the God of Israel. Under his feet was like a paved work of sapphire stone, like the skies for clearness. 11 He didn’t lay his hand on the nobles of the children of Israel. They saw God, and ate and drank.
12 Yahweh said to Moses, “Come up to me on the mountain, and stay here, and I will give you the stone tablets with the law and the commands that I have written, that you may teach them.”
13 Moses rose up with Joshua, his servant, and Moses went up onto God’s Mountain. 14 He said to the elders, “Wait here for us, until we come again to you. Behold, Aaron and Hur are with you. Whoever is involved in a dispute can go to them.”

Neither Exodus 20, nor Deuteronomy 5, have the phrase, “Ten Commandments,” nor are they numbered in either place, but see:
Exodus 34:27 Yahweh said to Moses, “Write you these words: for in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel.” 28 He was there with Yahweh forty days and forty nights; he neither ate bread, nor drank water. He wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the ten commandments.

The Ten Commandments (possibly other laws, too) were written on stone by God, Himself: Deuteronomy 4:13 He declared to you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, even the ten commandments. He wrote them on two stone tablets. (Also 5:22)

Exodus 32:19 tells us that Moses broke the tablets they were written on. In Exodus 34, Moses was commanded to make two new stone tablets, and God re-wrote the Ten Commandments on them. In Exodus 25:10-16, Moses was instructed that the stone tablets were to be placed in the Ark of the Covenant, which was in the Tabernacle, later in the Temple.

In 2 Corinthians, Paul referred to the Ten Commandments, on their tablets of stone, as follows:
3:2 You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men; 3 being revealed that you are a letter of Christ, served by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tablets of stone, but in tablets that are hearts of flesh.

Thanks for reading. See here for the Biblical usages of the words adultery and and fornication.

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