Ten Commandments List
The Ten Commandments were written by God upon two tablets of stone and then given to Moses on Mount Sinai. The record of the Ten Commandments can be found in the Bible, both in Exodus 20:2-17 and Deuteronomy 5:6-21.
Ten Commandments list & meaning
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10 Commandments video
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Ten Commandments meaning
1. You shall have no other gods before Me
Bible reference - Exodus 20:3: “You shall have no other gods before Me.”
Explanation: Do we still need this commandment? We certainly do. Whatever holds the supreme place in a person’s life is a god.
The story is told that in a certain museum in China there was an exhibit called "The American God." And what do you suppose it was? A dollar bill, neatly framed.
It is strange how modern men turn away from the living God, who is revealed in nature and the Bible, and invent imaginary gods to fit their unbelieving hearts.
In his book, God and the Cosmos, Dr. Theodore Graebner tells us that some who set themselves up as teachers–many even as religious teachers–say that God is merely “the spirit of the community” (Page 30). One of these modern leaders says, “God is myself” (Page 23). Another says that he worships man (Page 19).
How would you like to pray to "the spirit of the community" or pray to yourself or to mankind in general? These are some of the false gods proclaimed by the wise men of today.
Some worship pleasure; others, reason, philosophy, or business. But all these things are as imperfect as humans themselves, and those who trust in them will be left at last without a light in the vacant and dark night, until the words of the first commandment meet them in the judgment: “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.”
2. You shall make no idols
Bible reference - Exodus 20:4-6: “You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.”
Explanation: Is there anything wrong with this commandment? Millions in the world need to hear this commandment. Jesus said in John 4:24, “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
All representations of the true God or false deities for the purpose of worship are forbidden. An idol image degrades God and it degrades man. God's jealousy against false gods is but infinite love which allows no rival for our heart's affection.
3. You shall not take the Lord’s name in vain
Bible reference - Exodus 20:7: “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.”
Explanation: Has the world advanced so far that we do not need this commandment any more? Has all profanity ceased? Have men–and women and children, too–ceased to take God’s name in vain? Have they at last learned to honor the holy name of our Saviour?
How many millions violate this commandment every day! And how many do about the same thing with common slang! Let us remember what Jesus said to some careless talkers of His day.
It is recorded in Matthew 12:36, 37, “But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
4. Keep the Sabbath day holy
Bible reference - Exodus 20:8-11: “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.”
Explanation: We seem to always be busy and need physical rest and spiritual rest. We need the Sabbath or God would not have made it for us. Jesus said that it was “made for man” and that He Himself is the Lord of the Sabbath (Mark 2:27, 28).
The Sabbath is the memorial of His creative work, and it is also a test of man’s willingness to recognize his Creator’s first claim to his time. Wherever we are and whether we regard God’s holy day or not the commandment is still there. Do you recognize and observe it in your home?
5. Honor your father and your mother
Bible reference - Exodus 20:12: “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.”
Explanation: In Ephesians 6:2, the apostle Paul says that this is “the first commandment with promise” and God will not go back on His promise. Children owe their parents love, obedience, respect, and helpfulness.
Think of the happiness that obedience to this commandment would bring to thousands of homes today! Then every day would be Mother’s Day and every day would be Father’s Day. So, "honor your father and mother.” Disobedience to parents is one of the ominous signs of the last days, according to 2 Timothy 3:1, 2.
6. You shall not murder
Bible reference - Exodus 20:13: “You shall not murder.”
Explanation: This is the shortest of all the commandments, having one less word than the eighth commandment. (Note: according to the King James Version.) God forbids murder, the unlawful taking of human life in private vengance or otherwise.
Do you know that there are many thousands who have broken this commandment living at large in this country. And judging from past records, many thousands who will die at the hands of others.
Crime has become a huge threat to civilization. From the first groan of Abel to the last prayer upon the scaffold, this commandment comes thundering into the hearts of men, “Thou shall not murder.”
7. You shall not commit adultery
Bible reference - Exodus 20:14: “You shall not commit adultery.”
Explanation: Do we need a greater regard for the sanctity of the home today? Do we need more honest obedience to marriage vows? Do we need more husbands and wives true to each other? What is the answer? You know the answer. It is YES! A thousand times yes!
In Luke 17:30, our Saviour predicted that a Sodom-like moral condition would precede His return to this earth. Now is the time for every Christian home to stand as an example of right living.
Remember, you can't write SIN in big letters without the law of God. This seventh commandment must stand, or our civilization will go down in disregarding it. Proverbs 14:34 says, “Righteousness exalts a nation, But sin is a reproach to any people.”
8. You shall not steal
Bible reference - Exodus 20:15: “You shall not steal.”
Explanation: According to police and press reports, the world still needs this commandment. The varieties of thieves are almost endless ranging from mere pickpockets and purse-snatchers, to men who steal widows' homes, children’s education, banks, industries, and the good names of their friends.
Facing all this dishonesty of men are these four words of God… “You shall not steal.”
9. You shall not bear false witness
Bible reference - Exodus 20:15: “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.”
Explanation: This commandment forbids bribery and forgery and even the least suggestion contrary to truth. It forbids libel, slander, and backbiting, and calls for the truth and nothing but the truth.
In Revelation 22:15, we are told that “whoever loves and practices a lie” will be outside the gates of the New Jerusalem, and in Revelation 21:27 “But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.”
10. You shall not covet
Bible reference - Exodus 20:15: “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.”
Explanation: In Romans 7:7 the apostle Paul says that he would not have known what sin was, unless the law had said, “You shall not covet.” God's commandments point out sin. If Paul needed this commandment, so do we.
Why should you care?
The reason why some people oppose the Ten Commandments is that their lives are out of harmony with God's will as expressed in them. Paul says in Romans 7:12 that “the commandment is holy, and just, and good.” And in verse 14 he says that it is spiritual.
You see, our obligations are not merely to a law, but to Him who enacted that law. God is good, so His commandments are also good. The evil is in us, not in God or in His commandments.
Ten Commandments: King James Version
God's Law, the Ten Commandments, is expressed in Exodus 20:2-17 (KJV) with the following:
“I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
1. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
3. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
4. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
5. Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.
6. Thou shalt not kill.
7. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
8. Thou shalt not steal.
9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbor’s."