Tag Archives: Ten Commandments

Bible Term: Ten Commandments

The Ten Commandments are listed in Exodus 20:3-23 and Deuteronomy 5:6–21. Interestingly, neither of these passages calls this list the Ten Commandments (although the phrase is used in Exodus 34:28, Deuteronomy 4:13, and Deuteronomy 10:4). The Ten Commandments are:

  1. Do not have any other gods.
  2. Do not worship idols.
  3. Do not use God’s name wrongly.
  4. Keep the Sabbath day holy.
  5. Honor your parents (there is a promise of blessing if we do)
  6. Do not murder
  7. Do not commit adultery
  8. Do not steal
  9. Do not lie (give false testimony)
  10. Do not covet

When asked which command was the greatest, Jesus said we should love God fully; the second greatest is to love others as much as ourselves. He concluded by saying everything else hinges on these two principles of loving God and loving others.

What Does it Mean to Give False Testimony?

One of the 10 commandments is “Thou shalt not bear false witness.”

Other translations of the Bible state this passage as “do not give false testimony” or more simply, “do not tell lies about others.”

We typically think of this as a command to not perjure ourselves, that is to not give false or misleading information in a courtroom while under oath. We would certainly never do that, so we can check this command off our list — right?

What about gossip, of spreading intimate or private rumors or facts about another person, of talking behind their back? Could that be another type of “false witness?”

Perhaps we need to more carefully consider God’s instruction to not bear false witness, by understanding it to mean “don’t gossip.”

[Exodus 20:16]

A Commanding Situation

The Ten Commandments are listed in Exodus 20:3-23 (and Deuteronomy 5:6-21).  Interestingly, neither of these passages calls this list the “Ten Commandments” (although the phrase is used elsewhere).  They are:

1) Do not have any other gods.
2) Do not worship idols (“other gods”)
3) Do not use God’s name wrongly.
4) Keep the Sabbath day holy.
5) Honor your parents (there is a promise of blessing if we do)
6) Do not murder
7) Do not commit adultery
8) Do not steal
9) Do not lie (give false testimony)
10) Do not covet

When Jesus was asked which commandment was the greatest, he said that we should love God fully; the second greatest is to love others as much as we love ourselves.  He concluded by saying that all the laws and commands hinge on these two principles of loving God and loving others.

So, we are to love God and love others.  It’s that simple.