Decalogue

cover.JPGNaturally, the Decalogue or 10 Commandments are of great importance to adherents of Judeo-Christian religions. But regardless of your faith or religion, if you live in Western culture you are probably enjoying some of the benefits of the Decalogue because Western culture was built primarily by people with Judeo-Christian beliefs.

In fact our founding fathers in the US intertwined the Decalogue right into our nation. Laws against lying, stealing, adultery, killing all have their basis in the God’s commandments. Even if you are just enjoying football on a Sunday afternoon, remember that if God didn’t command us to keep the sabbath holy, you’d probably be working.

For myself, the Decalogue is more than just Sunday off of work. It is a foundation for living as God wants us to live. I think that understanding them is a very good starting point in a Christian’s life.

I’ve included all 10 of them here as Martin Luther presented them in his Small Catechism. If 10 is not enough for you then you might be able to squeeze out 14 or 15 if you read Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5. And if 10 is too many then perhaps you could just consider Jesus’ condensed, yet no less important view.

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 neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
(Matthew 22:36-40 KJV)

The Ten Commandments

The Simple Way a Father Should Present Them to His Household

You must not have other gods.

Q. What does this mean?

A. We must fear, love, and trust God more than anything else.

You must not misuse your God’s name.

Q. What does this mean?

A. We must fear and love God, so that we will not use His name to curse, swear, cast a spell, lie or deceive, but will use it to call upon Him, pray to Him, praise Him and thank Him in all times of trouble.

You must keep the Sabbath holy.

Q. What does this mean?

A. We must fear and love God, so that we will not look down on preaching or God’s Word, but consider it holy, listen to it willingly, and learn it.

You must honor your father and mother. [So that things will go well for you and you will live long on earth].

Q. What does this mean?

A. We must fear and love God, so that we will neither look down on our parents or superiors nor irritate them, but will honor them, serve them, obey them, love them and value them.

You must not kill.

Q. What does this mean?

A. We must fear and love God, so that we will neither harm nor hurt our neighbor’s body, but help him and care for him when he is ill.

You must not commit adultery.

Q. What does this mean?

A. We must fear and love God, so that our words and actions will be clean and decent and so that everyone will love and honor their spouses.

You must not steal.

Q. What does this mean?

A. We must fear and love God, so that we will neither take our neighbor’s money or property, nor acquire it by fraud or by selling him poorly made products, but will help him improve and protect his property and career.

You must not tell lies about your neighbor.

Q. What does this mean?

A. We must fear and love God, so that we will not deceive by lying, betraying, slandering or ruining our neighbor’s reputation, but will defend him, say good things about him, and see the best side of everything he does.

You must not desire your neighbor’s house.

Q. What does this mean?

A. We must fear and love God, so that we will not attempt to trick our neighbor out of his inheritance or house, take it by pretending to have a right to it, etc. but help him to keep & improve it.

You must not desire your neighbor’s wife, servant, maid, animals or anything that belongs to him.

Q. What does this mean?

A. We must fear and love God, so that we will not release his cattle, take his employees from him or seduce his wife, but urge they to stay and do what they ought to do.

Martin Luther’s Conclusion to the Commandments

Q. What does God say to us about all these commandments?

A. This is what He says:

“I am the Lord Your God. I am a jealous God. I plague the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of those who hate me with their ancestor’s sin. But I make whole those who love me for a thousand generations.”

Q. What does it mean?

A. God threatens to punish everyone who breaks these commandments. We should be afraid of His anger because of this and not violate such commandments. But He promises grace and all good things to those who keep such commandments. Because of this, we, too, should love Him, trust Him, and willingly do what His commandments require.

1 Comments.

  1. The 10 Commandments - pingback on June 12, 2007 at 1:14 pm

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