Exodus 20:1-17 Deuteronomy 5:6-21
Matthew 19:18, 19 Romans 13:9
Summary of the Commandments
|"Master, which is the great Commandment
in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with
all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the
first and great commandment and the second is like unto it: Thou shalt
love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all
the law and the prophets" (Matthew 22:36-40).
First -- "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." All people everywhere have the knowledge of their Creator-God written in their conscience and evidenced in creation according to Romans 1:19-21. "Other gods" are not just physical images. The N.T. states that "covetousness" is "idolatry" (Col. 3:5). Many things can displace God being first place in people's lives such as prestige, possessions, power, pleasure, persons, self, sex, sports, hobbies, etc.
Second -- "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image." This forbids making and worshipping idols made by man of wood, stone, or metal. This bans kneeling down, praying, or burning incense before any statue, whether saint, angel, or image of Christ. This means to give credence to astrology, the occult, or good luck charms or to think anything about God that isn't true is a violation of this commandment.
Third -- "Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain." This forbids blasphemy and all profane, vain, trivial, light, and irreverent use of God's name. Also, this includes using God's name carelessly or as a gap filler in conversation such as “Oh God, Lord, God, Christ.”
Fourth -- "Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy." Six days are for labor. One day a week, however, is for rest and worship of God. The O.T. Sabbath is now known as the Lord's Day, Sunday, the first day of the week, established by the apostles and disciples in memorial to Christ's work of redemption and commemorating Jesus' resurrection (John 20:19, Acts 20:7).
Fifth -- "Honor thy father and thy mother." This command comes with the promise of long life to obedient children. It requires honoring our parents with words of respect, submissive behavior, attentiveness to their godly counsel, compliance with their commands, and caring for them in old age. Because father and mother are just the first God-given authorities, this command requires all subsequent God-given authorities to be honored as well such as civil authorities, employers, teachers, etc.
Sixth -- "Thou shalt not kill." This prohibits killing for malice, premeditative and willful destruction of mankind, acts of physical violence and danger to human life because every human being is created by God in His image and likeness (Gen. 1:26). This command also forbids suicide, abortion, euthanasia, substance abuse which shortens a person's life span such as drugs, alcohol, and tobacco. It's violation also includes endangering lives by reckless and drunk driving, unsafe working conditions, and unsafe products. It does not prohibit hunting, capital punishment, unavoidable accidents, self-defense, and just warfare.
Seventh -- "Thou shalt not commit adultery." This forbids all forms of sexual intercourse outside of marriage such as adultery, fornication (pre-marital sex), homosexuality, rape, prostitution, incest, or bestiality.
Eighth -- "Thou shalt not steal." This prohibits bank robberies, extortion, hold-ups, house burglaries, car thefts, shoplifting, as well as not paying bills, not giving a full days labor, suing for profit, false insurance claims, cheating on exams, not returning borrowed items, dishonest business deals, false weights & measures, plagiarism, false advertising, cheating on income tax, over pricing, usury, pirating computer programs, and stealing from one's employer.
Ninth -- "Thou shalt not bear false witness (lie)." This prohibits direct lies, half-truths, slander, false advertising, gossip, flattery, exaggerating, insinuation, inaccurate words, silence at untrue words, and true words wrongly used.
Tenth -- "Thou shalt not covet." It is prohibited to covet anything that belongs to someone else such as your neighbor's house, wife, vehicles, etc. The command requires contentment with what God has provided.
God requires us to keep the commandments in thought, word, and deed. "Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man" (Ecc. 12:13). It is, however, impossible to perfectly keep the law: "For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all" (James 2:10). Lawlessness is sin: "Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law; for sin is the transgression of the law" (1 John 3:4).
What, then, is the purpose of the 10 commandments (the law)? It is to restrain evil-doing: "Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers. For Whoremongers (those who have sex outside of marriage), for them that defile themselves with mankind (those who do homosexual acts), for menstealers (kidnappers), for liars, for perjured persons…" (1Timothy 1:9, 10). The law also reveals our sins: "For by the law is the knowledge of sin" (Romans 3:20). God will judge us guilty by His law: "Now we know that what things so ever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God" (Romans 3:19). We are not justified (made fit for heaven) by the law: "Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight" (Romans 3:20). The law reveals our need for salvation: "Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith" (Galatians 3:24).
The law condemns, but Jesus saves: "Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ. even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified" (Galatians 2:16). "Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man [Jesus] is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: And by him all that believed are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses" (Acts 13:38, 39). Recognizing our sin is the first step toward salvation: "For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight..." (Psalm 51:3, 4). Christ provided salvation: "Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way: and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all" (Isaiah 53:4-6). Repentance is required because "... thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to keep his commandments ... which are written in this book of the law, and ... turn unto the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with thy soul" (Deuteronomy 30:10). "... Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish" (Luke 13:3). "Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon" (Isaiah 55:7).
Salvation is provided: "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved" (Romans 10:9).
There is blessing for obedience, and a curse for disobedience: "A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the LORD your GOD, which I command you this day and a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the LORD your God (Deuteronomy 11:27-28).
Obedience demonstrates our love for God: "For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments and His commandments are not burdensome" (1John 5:3) Jesus said, "if ye love me, keep my commandments" (John 14:15).