The Ten Commandments
There are different versions of the Ten Commandments, which are based on interpretations of the original based on the understanding within each Christian denomination. Even with the variety present, they fundamentally have the same message.
I am the Lord, your God.The first commandment states that idolatry is not something that God will tolerate. This is the fundamental commandment which lays the groundwork for the rest.
Further details about the First Commandment
Thou shall bring no false idols before me.The importance of only worshiping God is emphasized in the second commandment (building on the first), specifically saying that no false Gods should be worshiped.
Further details about the Second Commandment
Do not take the name of the Lord in vain.The third commandment further solidifies the importance of not taking one’s faith lightly by frivolous use of God’s name.
Further details about the Third Commandment
Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy.This refers to the time of resting and prayerfulness which is observed on Sundays, symbolizing the seventh day of rest that God took after creating the world.
Further details about the Fourth Commandment
Honor thy father and thy mother.As you should honor God, so should you honor those who brought you into this world.
Further details about the Fifth Commandment
Thou shall not kill/murder.†There are different interpretations of this commandment. Some claiming that killing in self defense or in defense of another is not against the commandment.
Further details about the Sixth Commandment
Thou shall not commit adultery.The seventh commandment states that adulterous relationships go against God’s commands. This commandment specifically deals with the physical aspect of adultery.
Further details about the Seventh Commandment
Thou shall not steal.††The eighth commandment is often simplified in interpretation to mean that stealing is a sin, be it from a neighbor or not.
Further details about the Eighth Commandment
Thou shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.Fundamentally, the ninth commandment states that one should not lie. Though the commandment is specific, it is well understood that any kind of lying is considered a sin.
Further details about the Ninth Commandment
Thou shall not covet‡ your neighbor's wife.The tenth commandment expands on the seventh commandment and forbids lusting after one that is not your spouse. Even without a physical component, lust is a sin.
Further details about the Tenth Commandment
† The Catholic Church uses the translation 'kill'. †† Some within Judaism state that this is a reference to kidnapping, whereas Leviticus 19:11 is the Biblical reference forbidding the stealing of chattel. This interpretation is based on the Talmudical hermeneutic known as davar ha-lamed me-inyano (literally 'something proved by the context'); in this context, it is argued, that this must refer to a capital offense similar to the previous two commandments. ‡ More recent translations assert that "take" may be more accurate than "covet."
Parchment from the Dead Sea Scrolls containing the oldest copy of the Ten Commandments (Courtesy of Wikipedia)
What Are the Ten Commandments?
The Ten Commandments are ten fundamental laws given by God to Moses on Mount Sinai. The Ten Commandments were given to the Israelites after they had left Egypt (The Exodus), and before 40 years of wandering in the desert in an effort to reach the Promised Land.