1. You shall have no other gods.
2. You shall not make idols.
3. You shall not misuse the name of the Lord.
4. Remember the Sabbath, keep it holy.
5. Honor your father and mother.
6. You shall not murder.
7. You shall not commit adultery.
8. You shall not steal.
9. You shall not lie.
10. You shall not covet.
If you think of the Bible as a guidebook for human behavior, the Ten Commandments serve as the main headings in its table of contents. By themselves, the commandments do not tell the whole story, but they clearly summarize it. God plainly tells us that all of His commandments are for our good. They have a purpose and are relevant in our lives today. They are to be a blessing and benefit to everyone. They define the relationships that produce respect, cooperation and stability within any society that fully understands and applies them. Knowing where the commandments are written in the Bible is the first step in being able to apply them in your life.
The Ten Commandments are listed in Exodus 20:1-17 and Deuteronomy 5:4-21. You will also find the commandments mentioned throughout the Old and New Testaments.
Here is how Exodus 20 renders the list of the Commandments.
1 And God spoke all these words, saying,
2 I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
3 You shall have no other gods before me.
4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or 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.
5 You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me,
6 but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.
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.
8 “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
9 Six days you shall labor, and do all your work,
10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates.
11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
12 “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.
13 “You shall not murder.
14 “You shall not commit adultery.
15 “You shall not steal.
16 “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.” (Exodus 20:1-17 English Standard Version)
Our UCG Bible Commentary says this about the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20:
"Though they were already known before this, here is the first written record we have of all of God's Ten Commandments together-commandments that are founded on His most basic law of love (Mark 12:29-31). The first four show us how to have a loving relationship with God. The last six reveal how we can share a loving, respectful relationship with our fellow man. Though knowledge of God's laws was clearly available earlier (Genesis 26:5), it appears likely that most of the Israelites had forgotten His requirements during their generations of Egyptian bondage and had to have those laws revealed to them once again.
"Many today believe that it was Moses who gave the Ten Commandments to ancient Israel. But the Bible clearly reveals otherwise. God Himself spoke them with His own voice from the thundercloud above Mount Sinai (Exodus 20:1). And later, God also wrote them Himself-with His own finger-on two 'tablets of stone' (Exodus 31:18; Exodus 24:12; Deuteronomy 5:22). Later still, He even rewrote them (Exodus 34:1). To further define who gave these commandments, we must realize that by Christ's day, centuries later, no one had ever heard God the Father's voice (John 5:37). The 'Lord,' who spoke the commandments, is referred to in the Old Testament as the 'Rock' (Deuteronomy 32:4, Deuteronomy 32:15, Deuteronomy 32:31; Psalm 18:2, Psalm 18:31, Psalm 18:46). And according to the New Testament, 'that Rock was Christ' (1 Corinthians 10:4). Those who think that Jesus did away with His Father's commandments are sorely mistaken. In His Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), He 'filled' the commandments by explaining their spiritual intent, in essence making them even more applicable to us (Matthew 5:17-20). Indeed, Christ is the One who gave the commandments on the Father's behalf in the first place-both to Israel and the New Testament Church!
"The giving of the law was such a tremendous event that the Israelites feared for their lives. They could not only hear but also feel the ground shaking due to the thunder and the sound of trumpets. There were brilliant flashes of lightning and the mountain smoked. God was exhibiting a fraction of His greatness and glory before His chosen people. This awesome display was not intended to terrorize the people, because God was not there to harm them. God's purpose was to teach them awe and respect for Him, so that they would not sin (Matthew 5:20). It should have been a very humbling experience for the Israelites. But as God said: 'Oh, that they had such a heart in them that they would fear Me and always keep all My commandments, that it might be well with them and with their children forever!' (Deuteronomy 5:29). As we will read, the respect and obedience did not last long."
The 10 Commandments are also listed in the book of Deuteronomy chapter 5.
7 “You must not have any other god but me.
8 “You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind, or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea.
9 You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected—even children in the third and fourth generations of those who reject me.
10 But I lavish unfailing love for a thousand generations on thoseb who love me and obey my commands.
11 “You must not misuse the name of the LORD your God. The LORD will not let you go unpunished if you misuse his name.
12 “Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, as the LORD your God has commanded you.
13 You have six days each week for your ordinary work,
14 but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the LORD your God. On that day no one in your household may do any work. This includes you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, your oxen and donkeys and other livestock, and any foreigners living among you. All your male and female servants must rest as you do.
15 Remember that you were once slaves in Egypt, but the LORD your God brought you out with his strong hand and powerful arm. That is why the LORD your God has commanded you to rest on the Sabbath day.
16 “Honor your father and mother, as the LORD your God commanded you. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the LORD your God is giving you.
17 “You must not murder.
18 “You must not commit adultery.
19 “You must not steal.
20 “You must not testify falsely against your neighbor.
21 “You must not covet your neighbor’s wife. You must not covet your neighbor’s house or land, male or female servant, ox or donkey, or anything else that belongs to your neighbor.
(Deuteronomy 5:7-21 New Living Translation)
The UCG Bible Commentary provides this information about the Ten Commandments mentioned in Deuteronomy 5:
Moses repeats the Ten Commandments to the younger generation. Comparing this chapter with Exodus 20, we see that God inspires Moses here to give an additional reason for keeping the Sabbath—"remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord brought you out from there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm; therefore the Lord your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day" (Deuteronomy 5:15). So the Sabbath not only reminds us that God is our Creator, but it also points to Him as our Redeemer—the One who delivers us from spiritual Egypt, i.e., the dominion of Satan, society and our own sinful nature. The Sabbath day, then, signifies freedom and reminds us that we should share this freedom with everyone who is within our care and under our control (Deuteronomy 5:14). Of course, heads of households must exercise great wisdom in this area when it comes to wives and house guests who do not share the same beliefs.
The Fifth and Tenth Commandments also have wordings slightly different from those in Exodus 20. Notice the words "as the Lord your God has commanded you" in the Fourth and Fifth Commandments. These are not ten suggestions, and it's interesting that God emphasized this concerning these two commandments when He inspired Moses to restate the Ten.
The fifth commandment is stated very positively, adding not only the same blessing for obedience promised in Exodus 20—"that your days may be long...in the land"—but also the words "that it may be well with you." Obedience to this commandment is essential to maintain healthy families, which are one of the foundation of a stable society. The lack of proper esteem and respect for parents is one of the reasons that families in Western nations are in sad shape. World magazine recently reported, "A respected seminary professor [suggested] that the very concept of fatherhood may 'now be passe' for a high proportion of young people" (May 25, 2002).
In the Tenth Commandment, "wife" and "house" are in opposite order in the two versions, and Deuteronomy adds "his field." The reason for that addition may be that no Israelite had a field of his own for 40 years after the Exodus, but now they were about to gain fields in the Promised Land. Realizing the Tenth Commandment prohibits coveting, it is interesting to consider Colossians 3:5, which tells us that covetousness is idolatry. Thus, the Tenth Commandment links right back up with the First Commandment. In this way, the Ten Commandments make a complete circuit.
You must choose whether to obey God, who gave us the Ten Commandments. His standards can be the guidelines for your thoughts, the yardstick for your behavior. They can shape your mind and heart. Or you can ignore them and choose another way.
In making your decision, remember Jesus Christ’s words,
“If you want to enter into life, keep the commandments” (Matthew 19:17). God admonishes us to consider our choice in Deuteronomy 30:15-19:
“See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil, in that I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments . . . I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live.”