Exodus 20 (NRSV)
The Ten Commandments
Then God spoke all these words:
2I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; 3you shall have no other gods before me.
Philippians 2:5-11 (NIV)
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
and being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
4You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 5You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and the fourth generation of those who reject me, 6but showing steadfast love to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments.
Acts 19:26 (NRSV)
Gods made with hands are not gods.
7You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not acquit anyone who misuses his name.
Luke 11:2 (New International Version)
“Father, hallowed be your name.”
8Remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy. 9Six days you shall labor and do all your work. 10But the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work—you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the alien resident in your towns. 11For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but rested the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and consecrated it.
Mark 2:27 (New Living Translation)
Then Jesus said to them, “The Sabbath was made to meet the needs of people, and not people to meet the requirements of the Sabbath.”
12Honor your father and your mother, so that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.
Ephesians 6:1-3 (Contemporary English Version)
Children, you belong to the Lord, and you do the right thing when you obey your parents. The first commandment with a promise says, “Obey your father and your mother, and you will have a long and happy life.”
13You shall not murder.
Matthew 5:21-24 (New Living Translation)
“You have heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.’But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell.
“So if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you,leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God.”
14You shall not commit adultery.
Ephesians 5:22-33 (The Message)
Wives, understand and support your husbands in ways that show your support for Christ. The husband provides leadership to his wife the way Christ does to his church, not by domineering but by cherishing. So just as the church submits to Christ as he exercises such leadership, wives should likewise submit to their husbands.
Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church—a love marked by giving, not getting. Christ’s love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness. And that is how husbands ought to love their wives.
15You shall not steal.
1 Corinthians 10:24 (New Living Translation)
Don’t be concerned for your own good, but for the good of others.
16You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
Romans 14:19 (New Century Version)
So let us try to do what makes peace and helps one another.
17You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.
1 Timothy 6:8 (New International Version)
But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.
18When all the people witnessed the thunder and lightning, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking, they were afraid and trembled and stood at a distance, 19and said to Moses, “You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, or we will die.”
20Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid; for God has come only to test you and to put the fear of him upon you so that you do not sin.”
21Then the people stood at a distance, while Moses drew near to the thick darkness where God was.
from The Ten Commandments for Today,
by William Barclay
It may be said that this code inculcates two basic things–it demands reverence for God and respect for man. The majesty of God and the rights of human personality are alike conserved. This is intensely significant, for it is of the very essence of Judaism, and of the very essence of Christianity, that both have a two-directional look. They look both to God and man. They recognize a duty to God and to man. They both know that a man must love God with every part and fiber of his being, and that he must also love his neighbor as himself. No man dare say that he loves God, unless he also loves his fellowman; and no man can really and truly love his fellowman, unless he sees that the true value of a man lies in the fact that he is a child of God. Without the manward look religion can become a remote and detached mysticism in which a man is concerned with his own soul and his own vision of God and nothing more. Without the Godward look a society can become a place in which men are looked on as things and not as persons. Reverence for God and respect for man can never be separated from each other.
The Joy of Faithful Obedience, the remarkable design of the Ten Commandments, and how each is designed to bring freedom into our lives, rather than bondage — by Bill Bright (founder of Campus Crusade for Christ), 2005.
Smoke on the Mountain: An Interpretation of the Ten Commandments, by Joy Davidman (she married C. S. Lewis), 1954.
Losing Moses on the Freeway: the Ten Commandments in America, by Chris Hedges, 2005.
Keeping the Ten Commandments, by J. I. Packer, 2007.
The Ten Commandments: The Significance of God’s Laws in Everyday Life, by syndicated radio psychologist Dr. Laura Schlessinger and Rabbi Stewart Vogel, 1998.
Try to formulate a sentence of no more than ten words which explains why you think the Ten Commandments are pertinent — or not — to our lives today. If you think you have a good one, enter it as a “Reply” below!
“Give Us Clean Hands” by Chris Tomlin. According to Christian Copyright Licensing International, Tomlin is the most sung Christian artist in the United States. He was born in Texas in 1972. His “Give Us Clean Hands” seems quite a complementary piece to the Ten Commandments.
The Law concerning the Altar
22The Lord said to Moses: Thus you shall say to the Israelites: “You have seen for yourselves that I spoke with you from heaven. 23You shall not make gods of silver alongside me, nor shall you make for yourselves gods of gold.
24″You need make for me only an altar of earth and sacrifice on it your burnt offerings and your offerings of well-being, your sheep and your oxen; in every place where I cause my name to be remembered I will come to you and bless you. 25But if you make for me an altar of stone, do not build it of hewn stones; for if you use a chisel upon it you profane it. 26You shall not go up by steps to my altar, so that your nakedness may not be exposed on it.”
The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.