NOTE: Before you begin this study -- know that --- At the end of this lesson is a new PDF version which has been updated in appearance and content. Feel free, therefore, to ignore this original version and scroll down to the bottom of this study and view, read, and or print the PDF version.
C 1999 "Yes Lord" Ministries (Bible Studies Net)
There is much talk and discussion today about the 10 Commandments. It seems that everyone has some "opinion" about them, opinions as to whether they should be posted on the walls of school classrooms -- opinions as to whether they are "valid" for life today -- opinions about their Author -- and on and on and on.
But, for many, perhaps most, people, these are only opinions and they are not even based on a knowledge of WHAT the Ten Commandments say. Indeed, most people have not read them in years, if ever, and, don't have a clue as to what the 10 Commandments really command.
So, What are the 10 Commandments? Can you name them? Do you know where they are found in the Bible? Do you know their purpose? No? Then you have come to the right place. For the purpose of this Bible Study is to find out these things, to read these commandments, and to see if they are applicable for today or if they should be relegated to the waste basket of time.
And, as we read these commandments and do this Bible study, we will be "interacting" by doing assignments. So, grab a pen or pencil and let's begin.
And, the first thing we want to know is "where are the 10 Commandments found in the Bible."
Well, actually, the 10 Commandments are found in two, count them, TWO places in the Bible:
So, without further "ado", let's begin our discovery of what it is that everyone is talking about and debating.
Your first assignment, then, should you choose to accept it, is to read -- yes, READ, the 10 Commandments! (Now, don't panic if you don't have a Bible, because I am including the actual text of the 10 Commandments for you in this Bible Study. However, if you prefer to use your own Bible or another translation, you certainly may.)
Ok, let's begin. First, we will read the 10 Commandments as recorded in Exodus 20. Read the verses (printed out below for you in the NIV version), and, as you come to each commandment, put the number of the commandment in the left hand margin, using a RED pencil or pen (or a color of your choice). Also, underline or highlight the words which summarize the commandment. I will do the first two for you as an example.
You have now read the 10 Commandments of God!
You now know what it is that people are wanting to remove from our society !
But, why? Why do people want to remove these and not obey them?
In the space below, write your answer:
In fact, if we obeyed these 10 Commandments and let them guide our actions, most of us would have to change a lot of the things that we do and the ways we respond to people and events of daily living. Right? Right!
Well, God said it! In Exodus 20, He spoke these words, which are also sometimes referred to as the DECALOGUE (from dec = 10 and logos = words). And since God spoke these words, He obviously wants us to know them and to obey them.
So, look again at the verses you just read and marked. Then, in the
space provided below, write the summary statement that you underlined for
each of the 10 Commandments. In this way, we will be making an
"easy to remember" list of the 10 Commandments, the Decalogue, the 10 "words"
or statements of God. (I will do the first one for you as an example.
You will notice I used the direct quote first; then, in the parentheses,
put it in "my words." You won't need to reword all of these commandments,
but sometimes you will find this helpful.)
Wow! Quite a list isn't it! In fact, you might want to put this list on a note card and carry it with you for the next few days while you think about these Commandments. Try reading these over and over in spare moments (while stuck in traffic, waiting for a bus, standing in a line, etc.) and see if you can memorize them. You will never regret it. And, if you think you can't memorize, then just read them over and over for several days anyway. You are going to be surprised to see that you can memorize, even when you aren't trying to.
Ok, you either made your "card" or you didn't or you have decided to make one after you have finished this study. Whatever, let's continue on as there is still more to learn about these Words, the Decalogue, the 10 Commandments of God.
So, now, let's look at the other place in the Old Testament of the Bible where these 10 Commandments are recorded. You will recall that "other" place is in _____________________ (hint: look near the top of page one of this lesson).
Yes, you are correct. There are 2 places where the Decalogue is given, specifically, in Exodus 20 and in Deuteronomy 5. Let's now read the Deuteronomy 5 passage. I will print it out for you as before. And, as before, as you read these verses, number the Commandment in the Left hand margin of the page and underline or highlight the summary statement of the commandment (again, use RED or the color you used before.)
Hmmmm. These are powerful rules for living and really wise and good advice in addition to being God's laws. And you will notice that (Deuteronomy 5 verse 22) these are the ______________________ of the ____________ .1. Moses summoned all Israel and said:
Yes, you are correct! These are NOT SUGGESTIONS!
In fact, if you look at these 10 commandments, you will notice that they can be subdivided into 2 main categories or divisions. What are these divisions? Read them again (either the Exodus or the Deuteronomy passage or both) and when you see the "break" or division, draw a line between them. Then, in the space below, write which commandments are in each division and describe or name the division.
Hmmmm. Interesting. Did you see it? If you did, you probably filled in the chart by saying that the Commandments in the first section were commandments 1,2,3, and 4 and that they relate to man's relationship to God. In Category 2, are commandments 5 through 10, and these deal with man's relationship to other people. If you didn't see it, look at those verses again, and when you see it (and you will, once you think about it), fill in the chart.
Some people also further describe these 2 categories by explaining that the 1st category deals with our upward (vertical) relationship of man to God; and the 2nd category describes the horizontal relationship of man to man.
Wow! Profound! And, you probably also realized, as you thought about these relationships, that a person has to FIRST have a proper relationship with God before he can begin to relate properly with his family, friends, neighbors, etc. Interesting and so true.
And, by the way, since we are "on the subject," how is YOUR
relationship with God? Think about it: Ask yourself,
Hmmmm. Sobering thoughts when you put them on a personal level!
And, of course, on the personal level is the way that God intends for us to relate to His Word. We are not to just read the Bible and smile and walk away with "head knowledge." Yes, to know and to even be able to recite the 10 Commandments might get us a good grade on a test or make us "look smart" in front of others. But, that is NOT why God gave us His Commandments. Rather, He gave them to us so that we would know HOW to live, to know what we should do in order to truly enjoy and live life to its fullest!
But, more about that and about our personal relationship with God later.
First, let's continue looking at these vertical (upward) Commandments.
Specifically, in our relationship with Him, God wants us to: (write
your answers in the space below, based on what the first 4 Commandments
have taught as stated in the Deuteronomy 5 passage)
Recognize and acknowledge that He is the (Deut 5:6) __________________________________
Have (5: 7) __________ other gods before Him
Not make an (5:8) ______________ in the form of _______________________
Not (5: 9) _________________ to any idol or _______________ anything other than Him (God)
because God is a (5:9) _____________________ God.
God does not want us to curse or blaspheme Him by (5:11) _____________________ His Name.
And if anyone does misuse the name of the LORD God,
And, God desires that we all have a day of rest every week. He does Not want us to work work work all the time. He desires that we observe the (5:12) ________________ day by (5:12) _____________________ and by not doing any (5:14) ________________ .
No work! No running errands? No cutting the grass? etc. In this world? Are you kidding? No, God is not kidding. As a matter of fact, God is very serious about this! And, if we would pay attention to what He is saying and if we would take one day a week and spend that day worshiping our Holy God and fellowshiping with Him and reading His Word (the Bible), we would be amazed at the difference this will make in our lives. Remember, this is NOT a Suggestion. This is a COMMAND.
Well, I guess you would say that I have "gone to meddling" again. But, you read it. You saw it. These are God's Commands and we would be wise to obey Him.
But, we must continue on, as this short Bible Study is, as usual, expanding.
And, in case you are wondering, my answers to those "fill in the blank" questions were: Lord my God, NO, idol, anything, bow down to, worship, jealous, misusing (some translations say "take His name in vain"), not, guiltless, Sabbath, keeping it Holy, work.
Anyway, continuing on -- let's now look at the 2nd category, the 6 horizontal (man to man) relationships.
So, again looking at the Deuteronomy 5 listing of the 10 Commandments, answer the following questions by filling in the blanks:
The 5th Commandment and the First interpersonal (horizontal) relationship anyone ever has is the relationship as a child with his or her (5:16) ______________________ . And God commands that we (5:16) ________________ our father and mother!
Yes! Honor our parents, even if they are "stupid" or "uncaring" or whatever other adjective you might want to give to your parents. God says to HONOR them!
In fact, jumping ahead a few verses in Exodus, we learn how important
and serious this command is to God. For, He elaborates further on this
command by giving the penalty for those who do NOT honor their parents.
Read the following two scriptures and underline or put a RED circle around
what the punishment is for not "honoring" your parents:
Exodus 21:17 Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.
WOW ! Did you see that !!!! God is really serious about this!
Now, stop and think for a minute about this. Ask yourself, "Self,
why is the penalty for not honoring our parents so severe? Why is a person
to be put to death for dishonoring his parents? W hat is it that
God is trying to teach or prevent?" After you have reflected
on this, write your conclusion in the space provided here:
Yes, you are absolutely correct, if you answered something to the effect that God has given parents the responsibility for raising and nurturing their children and if the children rebel against the parents (by cursing, disobedience, attacking the parent, etc.), it is the same as rebellion against God, Himself, since God has delegated this authority to the parents. Rebellion can never be allowed as it will lead to anarchy and chaos. (Just look at what is happening in the society of America today as the children are "giving the orders" and doing what they want and are disobedient to their parents ! This is the result of not honoring the parents and this result is not good.) I am sure you went into more detail in your thinking and answering than this brief explanation. But, this will let you know if you were on the "right track."
But, we must continue on.
The 6th Commandment is (5:17) _________________________________________
. And, believe it or not, the penalty for breaking this commandment
is also death! There are several scriptures which support this. One
is Exodus 21:12. Read it!
We don't have time to go into this in any detail, but you are surely aware that is another major topic of "debate" in the world today and another area where people have many "opinions" but are not fully aware of the "facts." Indeed an entire Bible Study could be done on this and on each of the 10 Commandments. Believe it or not, we are only hitting the main points in this Bible Study. But, God has given His commands on this subject (of murder), so we will not debate it now. Perhaps in another study. But, for now, just know that the penalty of death for breaking this commandment is required by God.
But, again, continuing on ---
And by the way, what is adultery, according to God? In a nutshell, it is having sex (any sex) outside the bonds of marriage!
And, what do you expect is God's required penalty for breaking this
commandment? You guessed it! It is ... gasp... DEATH!!! Read
this scripture, and as you read it, when you see the penalty (death), circle
it in RED.
11. "If a man sleeps with his father's wife, he has dishonored his father. Both the man and the woman must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.
12. "If a man sleeps with his daughter-in-law, both of them must be put to death. What they have done is a perversion; their blood will be on their own heads.
13. "If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.
14. "If a man marries both a woman and her mother, it is wicked. Both he and they must be burned in the fire, so that no wickedness will be among you.
15. "If a man has sexual relations with an animal, he must be put to death, and you must kill the animal.
16. "If a woman approaches an animal to have sexual relations with it, kill both the woman and the animal. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.
WOW! God is really serious about these commands! They obviously are not meant to be "suggestions." They are not to be taken lightly. And they certainly are NOT to be ignored or put on a shelf or taken down off the walls of our classrooms, courtrooms, living rooms, or bedrooms. They are to be read, known, understood, and OBEYED!!!!!
But, we must continue on, if we dare, and see what the next command
is. So, let's look at the 8th Commandment, which is: (5:19) _________________________________
However, if you just can't wait and really want to know more about God's penalties for breaking these and other laws, you can begin by reading Exodus Chapters 21-22. (I will not print them here for the sake of space so you will have to use your Bible for this assignment.) And, there are many more scriptures, but these 2 Chapters will give you a pretty good understanding of God's requirements for disregarding and breaking His Laws.
But, again, continuing on.
And finally and, last, but not least, we come to one of the most difficult Commandments to "keep," the 10th Commandment, which is: (5:21) ______________________________ .
Yes, the 10th Commandment in a "nutshell" is do not covet another's possessions! And God is rather detailed here in listing things that we should not covet.
"Covet"? What is "covet," you ask.
Well, you know in your heart what it is, but sometimes these "old-timey" words are not in our daily vocabulary so we think we are not doing something when we are.
So, I will tell you. The definition of COVET, according to my ancient 1938 version of Webster's dictionary is: ... to desire; to long for, especially something belonging to another person. And a synonym (means same thing) for covet is "envy."
Of course, the obvious question that God would want you to consider, as you read and reflect upon this and the other 9 Commandments is -- "have you broken this commandment?"
So, ask yourself. Do I covet? Do I want something that is not mine. Am I desiring another person's house, car, job, beauty, friends, or whatever ... you know what it is that you are "coveting".
But, what does God say? He says to NOT covet! Why?
What is "wrong" with "coveting"? Think about this and then write
your answer in the space below:
Yes, you are absolutely correct. God does not want us to covet because He wants us to be satisfied with what He has given us. We are to not be looking elsewhere for our fulfillment. God is really all that we need, believe it or not (and the "world" today believes it not). And since God is all that we need, then, if we look to Him for our needs (instead of coveting what others have), He will see to it that we have what we need when we need it. Therefore, He does not want us to be desiring or longing for something that belongs to another person. Rather, He wants us to be happy and satisfied and grateful with what we have. Looking longingly at another's possessions or things is a slap in the face of God. We are actually saying to Him that He has not given us enough. We, like little selfish children are demanding more. Hmmmm. Could this be a form of "dishonoring" our Parent, God? Just a thought.
Anyway, you get the idea.
The 10 Commandments, as we said before, are COMMANDMENTS and are NOT SUGGESTIONS! God intends for us to (Deuteronomy 5:1) _____________ them and be sure to ___________________ them.
Yes, we are to learn them and to follow them! And to "follow" them means to ... gasp....O B E Y them!
Oh NO! ... Oh YES!
God gave us His Commandments, these guidelines for successful living, for several reasons. And, we don't have time to go into all the details of the "reasons" or even all of the "reasons" now. But, in summary form, there are 2 very important reasons that we can look at briefly as we begin to bring this study to a close.
Can you think of what some of these reasons might be? Why did
God give us these 10 Commandments? Think about this and then answer
in the space below:
Yes, good thinking. And I assume that you realized that one reason for the 10 Commandments is that God knows that if we live our lives obeying these Commandments, we will have happy, peaceful, joyful, and fruitful lives. We will have the proper types of relationships with Him as our God and with our families, friends, fellow workers, and even total strangers. And, if there were no other reason that that, that would be enough.
But there is another "reason", which you may or may not have thought
of. And, it is given to us in Romans 7:7. Read this verse:
So, based on Romans 7:7, one of the "purposes" or "reasons" for the 10 Commandments (the Law) is to TEACH us what sin is. It (the Law) is, as some versions of the Bible correctly say, our "tutor" (teacher) because it teaches us about sin, shows us what is right and wrong, and enables us to understand God's Holiness and what is required to be Holy.
But, you ask, "Why is it important that a person (you, me, anyone) be "Holy"? ... and what does sin have to do with "holiness"?
Well, to be Holy (Righteous, sinless) is to be SINLESS. And, unless a person is HOLY (sinless, righteous), he or she (you, I, anyone) can not fellowship with God or dwell with Him in His eternal kingdom. To do that, a person must be HOLY.
So, God gave us His 10 Commandments to not only show us the way that a HOLY person lives but also to show us the penalty that must be paid if the Commandments are broken. If even ONE commandment is broken (disobeyed), then the person who broke the commandment is a SINNER. Therefore, that person is NOT Holy. And, when a person is NOT Holy he is Unrighteous, he is a sinner. And, as a sinner, a person can NOT fellowship with God or be with Him in His eternal Kingdom (heaven). Instead, that person MUST spend eternity in HELL! (And, yes, there IS a hell!)
Look again at the 10 Commandments.
Have you EVER at ANY time in your ENTIRE life EVER broken even ONE of
these Commandments? Circle your answer.
Yes, certainly, of course you have broken one (and probably many or most, if not all) of these commandments! We all have; some more than others, we have all broken several of these and several times. So, what does this mean?
Well, as we said before.....God is really serious about these commands! They obviously are not meant to be "suggestions." They are not to be taken lightly. And they certainly are NOT to be ignored or put on a shelf or taken down off the walls of our classrooms, courtrooms, living rooms, or bedrooms. They are to be read, known, understood, and OBEYED!!!!!
And, just because a person does NOT know a law does not mean he will not have to pay the penalty for breaking it. Ignorance will not be a valid excuse when you stand before the God and King of the Universe on the Great Judgment Day. We may think we are "getting away with something" now. But a day of reckoning is coming.
So, if you or I break any of these 10 commandments, and we have all circled YES (the "yes we have broken one or more of these commandments"); therefore we need to know that there is a punishment which will ultimately have to be paid ! And, the punishment is DEATH! Eternal Death and eternal separation from God and eternity in HELL, away from God and away from the wonderful things He really intended for us to experience.
So... what is a person to do ???
Well, there is Good News .... We can be FORGIVEN of our sins and be restored to fellowship with God and be considered sinless (holy, righteous) once again, just as if we had never sinned at all, and we will not have to spend eternity in Hell, but rather will live with Him forever in Heaven in His glorious eternal kingdom!
WOW! How can I do that, you ask! How can I be forgiven for my sins?
Glad you asked!
And this is what you "do"; this is how you can be "saved" (forgiven of your sins and be righteous - holy).
First, you must realize that you are a sinner (and it is obvious you have realized that, since you just finished reading and studying the 10 Commandments and are aware that you have broken many of them many times. Yes, you are definitely a sinner.) So, confess to God that you are a sinner. Tell Him. Say: "God, I am a sinner. I have broken your commandments. I have not obeyed you. I have ....(and then name your sins to God. He, of course, knows what they are, but He needs to hear you agree with Him that these are sins and that you are sorry and that you want to stop sinning and start obeying Him. So tell Him this.)
Then, know that there is a way to be forgiven of all of your sins.
And that "way" has been provided by God Himself.. Jesus Christ
is God's ONLY provision for sin (your sin, my sin, anyone's sin).
He died in our place !!! He has already paid the death penalty
for us -- for you, for me, for anyone who will accept His offer of His
substitute death. He died in your place to pay your penalty for your
sins! Imagine that! Awesome! Wow! Thank you, Jesus!!!
You must personally and individually accept Jesus' free gift of His substitutionary sacrifice (of paying your death penalty for you). If you do not personally accept His gift of allowing your sins to be forgiven by letting His death pay your death penalty, you can not be "saved" (forgiven, made righteous, made holy).
And, you can not get this gift UNLESS you confess your sins, ask for forgiveness, ask God to save you, and agree to let God now be the God of your life. Then, Give your life to Him and trust in Jesus' death to provide your salvation.
No one can do this for you. You must personally accept this gift
of salvation and you must personally submit your life to the Godship and
Lordship of God. If you do this, God will forgive you and place you in
His eternal family.
Lord, Jesus, I am so sorry that I have broken Your commandments and sinned. I don't want to be a sinner and be apart from You. I want to be with You forever. I confess to You that I am a sinner. And I ask for Your forgiveness. I willingly accept Your free gift of salvation which was provided to me at the cost of Your life which You gave in place of mine... when You died on the cross to pay for my sins. Oh, Thank You, Jesus, for doing this for me. And, now I want You to be my God. I want You to be the Lord and Master of my life. I want You to tell me what to do. I want You to be my boss. I relinquish the reigns of my life and turn them over to You. I trust You to direct my paths and to guide me. And, I want to spend all my life now and in eternity fellowshiping with You and living with You and serving You in whatever ways You decide and so that You will receive all the glory and honor. Thank You, Jesus. And, thank You for putting Your Spirit (the Holy Spirit) within me now, to help me and to enable me to live as You desire me to live.
Thank you! In Jesus name, I pray. Amen.
If you prayed that prayer and meant it, then, friend, you are now a Christian. You are a born again child of God. You have been forgiven, redeemed from sin, and restored to fellowship with God. You are righteous and holy in God's sight. You can now fellowship with God. His Spirit is living within you to teach you about God and to help you live the life that God intended for you to live. .... and there is so much more that you now are and will be... and as you grow in your Christian walk and life, and spend time with God and in His Word (the Bible) and in fellowship with other believers, you will discover more and more about this awesome life upon which you have embarked. You are a different person! Tell your friends, share this information about your new life with them and tell them how to have this new life also. Read and Study the Bible. Pray (talk with God) about everything. God really does want to fellowship with you. That is why He DIED for you! What love! So, get acquainted with God, your Savior, Lord, Master, God, and Friend!
Well, I could go on and on.... but this was (and is) a Bible Study on the 10 Commandments... but whenever I begin to think about the Salvation that God Jesus provided to redeem us from the death that the breaking of the commandments required, I just get really excited and happy..... (and yes, 'wordy').
So, let's wind up this study -- rejoicing in the Lord, our Savior, as we read the 10 Commandments one more time.... but this time knowing that these are not 'onerous' and 'restrictive' laws and rules and regulations that should be thrown into the waste heap or garbage can .... but rather... knowing that they are just as important and valid today as they were almost 4000 years ago when they were first given. --And, knowing that their purpose is not to keep us from enjoying life but rather, that in keeping them, we will be living a life that is pleasing to God and which will bring us peace, contentment, and fulfillment far beyond anything we ever imagined. --And, knowing that we are not keeping them now because we have to... but... because we WANT to... because we know that keeping these laws pleases God, our Savior, Lord, and Master ... and because we know that this is the way He lives and the way He desires those in His Kingdom to live.
So... in summary..... and with new understanding..... once again... write here "our Father's" Commandments:
And, now, go in the peace and love of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ and with the indwelling Holy Spirit and live a life that follows the commandments of God and brings Glory and Honor to His Holy Name.
And I will be looking forward to meeting you one day in that Holy City, the New Jerusalem, where we will live eternally with our God!
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