What Do the 10 Commandments Really Teach Us?

The Ten Commandments are the basis for our worldview, giving us guidance and direction on how we live according to Scripture and the teachings of the Old and New Testament; however, many Christians today still need to understand the implications and profundity of these simple commandments. At Christian conferences of 2023, you can learn more in-depth about the 10 commandments.

We’ll go through each commandment in detail to discover the deeper meaning behind these texts.

“You Shall Have No Other Gods before Me”

The first of the Ten Commandments deals with idolatry. God reminds His people in the prior verse that He was the one who brought them out of Egypt, something the people of Israel would soon forget after their deliverance.

In fact, as Moses was receiving the Ten Commandments, the people of Israel were breaking God’s law already by worshiping a golden calf, causing Moses to break the tablets on which God had inscribed His law.

It’s easy today to look back on the ancient Israelites as foolish and selfish for wanting to worship something other than God, especially when they had such close fellowship with Him. After all, He’d just performed numerous miracles to lead them out of Egypt.

Our idols today are not so different from the golden calf. It’s a not-so-subtle reminder that the gods of pride and anxiety are still high and mighty in our lives—something God calls us to lay before Him.

“You Shall Not Have Idols”

The entire commandment outlines the constitution of an idol, something with a physical form that takes the place of God. God describes himself as ‘jealous,’ vowing that He will visit iniquity on the bloodlines of those who hate Him and mercy to those who love Him.

Nowadays, our physical idols are not in temples that we go to worship, but they have permeated our homes. Our TVs, phones, and other smart devices often serve as a detriment to our well-being, platforms that we use to hurt rather than to help. The root cause of this sin is pride, and it is again something God calls us to surrender.

“You Shall Not Take the Name of the Lord Your God in Vain”

God commands us to honor His name. In fact, Jewish belief holds that one cannot say the name of God, written as the tetragrammaton “YWHW,” at all. While many Bible-believing Christians find following the ‘letter of the law’ about not taking God’s name in vain easy to follow, it can be very easy to express those same angry emotions through other outlets, whether through passive-aggressive dialogue or internally. Both are harmful and sinful in God’s eyes.

“Remember the Sabbath Day”

The Sabbath Day, Saturday on our modern calendar, is a holy day. Under the new covenant, the work restrictions no longer bind us on this day, but it’s still an essential part of our faith to honor the Sabbath.

Generally, the Lord prompts his sheep to gather with his people through the body of Christ. Doing so strengthens faith, builds community, and silences the voice of the enemy. Apart, Christians cannot stand, which is why remembering the Sabbath is an integral part of the Christian life.

“Honor Your Father and Mother”

The Bible calls us to honor our parents, which isn’t always easy. Given how broken the world and, by extension, our families are, showing unconditional love and respect isn’t easy.

Doing so doesn’t mean you have to approve of their actions or decisions, but it becomes much easier to show respect and love to your parents despite their imperfections when you remember the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. His unconditional love is a reminder to all of us to honor our fathers and mothers and love them as Christ loves His church.

“You Shall Not Murder”

Regardless of what moral system they adhere to, the majority of people hold that murder is wrong. Jesus made a startling comparison, equating murder to resentful anger. Bitterness is one of our favorite modern-day sins because it is comforting and allows us to revert to our human nature. Jesus calls us to surrender our bitterness and forgive in the same way He forgave us.

“You Shall Not Commit Adultery”

Adultery is ingrained in today’s culture, but lust, something that Jesus warned against, is celebrated. Over-sexualization is rampant in the media, and it provides ample opportunity for God’s people to sin against him.

To combat Satan’s hold on the world, we must be accountable to God and, if necessary, another believer for our lust and surrender it to Him.

“You Shall Not Steal”

This commandment is simple on its face, but it ties strongly into the second most important commandment in Christianity: to love your neighbor as yourself.

Doing so means valuing others’ life, safety, and property. There is no such thing as petty theft; every act of stealing is an affront to God’s character.

“You Shall Not Bear False Witness”

Lying is a favorite sin because, in many cases, it’s much easier to lie than to tell the truth. Doing so holds us back from walking with God and makes us bound to our sinful ways.

One only needs to refer to the story of Adam and Eve to understand the devastating consequences of deception. It’s important as Christians to be honest, intentional, and straightforward. A lie of omission or obfuscation is still a lie.

“You Shall Not Covet”

Covetousness in Biblical times was very dependent on material wealth. In those days, property, livestock, and possessions were highly coveted. Nowadays, covetousness looks more like lusting after wealth, power, or fame. Social media is unhelpful, feeding our fantasies of a more prosperous, happier life. God calls us to live humbly before Him, putting Him first. To covet is to idolize something else before God and make Him second in our lives. In response, we must set aside the things we covet and love Him first.

The Bottom Line

The Ten Commandments are more than just a list of the things we cannot do. They are things that hurt us and separate us from God. It’s a reflection of our sinful nature to engage in these activities and turn away from God. Visit, buildmomentum.org to learn more. Understanding the deeper meaning behind each of these commandments changes how we live our lives and can help us draw near to God.

Dominik Sherman

Dominik Sherman, an authority in home organization, earned his degree in Interior Design from the University of Washington. With over 15 years of experience in space optimization and minimalist design, Dominik joined our platform in 2020, offering innovative and practical home organization solutions. Before this, he ran a successful home organizing consultancy, helping clients transform their living spaces. Dominik is also an avid gardener, finding peace and inspiration in the harmony of nature and organized spaces.

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