10 Commandments – Explanation of the Ten Commandments

10 Commandments: Explanation of the Ten Commandments or Decalogue as found in the Scriptures according to Exodus 20:2–17 and Deuteronomy 5:6–21.

Division of the Ten Commandments by various Faiths
Commandment Jewish (Talmudic) Anglican, Reformed, and other Christian Orthodox Christian Catholic Christian, Lutheran
I am the Lord your God 1 preface 1 1
You shall have no other gods before me 2 1
You shall not make for yourself an idol 2 2
Do not take the name of the Lord in vain 3 3 3 2
Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy 4 4 4 3
Honor your father and mother 5 5 5 4
You shall not kill/murder 6 6 6 5
You shall not commit adultery 7 7 7 6
You shall not steal 8 8 8 7
You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor 9 9 9 8
You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife 10 10 10 9
You shall not covet anything that belongs to your neighbor 10

Explanation of the Ten Commandments in simple language:

The Commandment: I am the Lord your God. You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an idol.

This Commandment commands faith in the only true God the Creator of Heaven and Earth and the Sustainer of Life. It reminds us to trust in no human being or any material or false spiritual being apart from God. It also reminds us to put God first in all things.

This Commandment forbids idolatry.
This Commandment forbids superstition.
This Commandment forbids astrology, horoscopes, fortune telling, palm reading and ouija boards.
This Commandment forbids trying to communicate with the dead directly or through others.
This Commandment forbids occult practices.
This Commandment forbids attendance at false worship.

The Commandment: Do not take the name of the Lord in vain.

This Commandment commands using the name of God reverently.

This Commandment forbids blasphemy.
This Commandment forbids unnecessary oaths.
This Commandment forbids breaking of vows (example marriage vows).
This Commandment forbids speaking disrespectfully of God and things of God.

The Commandment: Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy.

This Commandment commands going to Church on Sundays and Holy Days of obligation.

This Commandment forbids missing Church through one’s own fault.
This Commandment forbids any unnecessary work that may hinder the due observance of the Lord’s day.

The Commandment: Honor your father and mother.

This Commandment commands love, obedience and respect to parents. It also reminds us to be obedience to lawful civil authorities.

This Commandment forbids hatred of parents.
This Commandment forbids contempt, disrespect and disobedience towards our parents.
This Commandment forbids hatred, disrespect and disobedience towards our lawful superiors.

The Commandment: You shall not kill/murder.

This Commandment commands us to live in peace and harmony with our neighbor. It also reminds us to take proper care of our own life and health.

This Commandment forbids all willful murder.
This Commandment forbids suicide.
This Commandment forbids endangering life of ourselves or others.
This Commandment forbids abortion.
This Commandment forbids euthanasia.
This Commandment forbids artificial contraception.
This Commandment forbids sterilization.
This Commandment forbids hatred.
This Commandment forbids revenge.
This Commandment forbids bad example.

The Commandment: You shall not commit adultery.

This Commandment commands chastity and modesty in all our looks, words, and actions.

This Commandment forbids unchaste freedom with another’s wife or husband.
This Commandment forbids pornography.
This Commandment forbids erotic movies or books.
This Commandment forbids obscene speech.
This Commandment forbids masturbation.
This Commandment forbids fornication.
This Commandment forbids homosexuality.
This Commandment forbids incest.
This Commandment forbids bestiality.
This Commandment forbids pedophilia.

The Commandment: You shall not steal.

This Commandment commands respect for the property and rights of others. This also reminds us to pay just wages to our employees.

This Commandment forbids theft.
This Commandment forbids damage to the property of others.
This Commandment forbids not paying just debts.
This Commandment forbids not returning found or borrowed articles.
This Commandment forbids giving unjust measure or weight in selling.
This Commandment forbids bribery.
This Commandment forbids cheating.
This Commandment forbids fraud.
This Commandment forbids violation of contract.

The Commandment: You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

This Commandment commands respect for the good name and reputation of other. It also reminds us to be truthful in all things and observe secrecy when required.

This Commandment forbids lying.
This Commandment forbids slander.
This Commandment forbids rash judgment.
This Commandment forbids gossip.
This Commandment forbids backbiting.
This Commandment forbids contemptuous speech.
This Commandment forbids the violation of secrecy.

The Commandment: You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife.

This Commandment commands purity in thought and desire.

This Commandment forbids unchaste or impure thoughts.
This Commandment forbids desires of another’s wife or husband.

The Commandment: You shall not covet anything that belongs to your neighbor.

This Commandment commands us to be content with what we have. It also reminds us to rejoice in our neighbor’s welfare.

This Commandment forbids desires to take or keep wrongfully.
This Commandment forbids desires to damage properties that belongs to another.

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