How Do You View the Ten Commandments?
PEOPLE view the Bible’s Ten Commandments in various ways. Seventh-Day Adventists say that the Ten Commandments are binding on all people. Lutherans consider them the “best set of rules ever given upon which an individual can structure his life.” “Rightly understood,” explains a Catholic spokesman, “the Ten Commandments still provide a basis for Christian living.”
Thus, while some religious groups believe that we should obey the Ten Commandments to the letter, others consider them merely a guide for sound moral behavior. Indeed, according to the Encyclopædia of Religion and Ethics, “there is probably no human document which has exercised a greater influence upon religious and moral life than the Decalogue [Ten Commandments].” Why is this the case? Consider first what they say. They are brief, comprehensive, and forceful. But how should you view the Ten Commandments? What do they mean to you?
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THE TEN COMMANDMENTS
1. You must not have any other gods against my face.
2. You must not make for yourself a carved image or a form like anything that is in the heavens above or that is on the earth underneath or that is in the waters under the earth. You must not bow down to them nor be induced to serve them . . .
3. You must not take up the name of Jehovah your God in a worthless way . . .
4. Remembering the sabbath day to hold it sacred, you are to render service and you must do all your work six days. . . . You must not do any work, you nor your son nor your daughter, your slave man nor your slave girl nor your domestic animal nor your alien resident who is inside your gates . . .
5. Honor your father and your mother . . .
6. You must not murder.
7. You must not commit adultery.
8. You must not steal.
9. You must not testify falsely as a witness against your fellowman.
10. You must not desire your fellowman’s house. You must not desire your fellowman’s wife, nor his slave man nor his slave girl nor his bull nor his ass nor anything that belongs to your fellowman.—Exodus 20:3-17.