In the Beginning

Underlying Principles of the Ten Commandments

The Ten Commandments are sometimes viewed as God’s basic standard for determining acceptable con­duct. The commands seem clear. However, the principles that support them provide deeper insights into their importance.

Underlying Principles of the Ten Commandments

Commandment 1 — No Other Gods Before Me, describes the importance of recognizing only Jehovah. Israel often sought other gods, and judges guided them back to Jehovah. Examples from the kings of Israel are shared with the ultimate example seen in Jesus.

Commandment 2 — No Graven Images, describes why images were so detestable to God. This command stipulates how not to worship God. Jesus raised the standard when he said to worship God “in spirit and in truth.”

Commandment 3 — Do Not Take the Name of God in Vain, reveals the sanctity of the name Jehovah. Everything associated with Him is sacred. This command also prohibits swearing falsely or making misleading oaths.

Commandment 4 — Remember the Sabbath, describes Israel’s Sabbath day of rest and worship. The Apostle Paul builds on this when he describes the spiritual rest that results when we trust God. A spiritual Sabbath is observed every time we rest in faith.

Commandment 5 — Honor Thy Father and Thy Mother, includes a promise of long life. Honoring parents encourages healthy family relationships. Parents guiding their children can be extended to the ecclesia with older, seasoned brethren guiding the younger ones.

Commandment 6 — Thou Shalt Not Kill, expresses that life is sacred. Jesus raised the standard, saying that even anger can be tantamount to murder. Sin begins in the heart and must be confronted in a Christian’s warfare.

Commandment 7 — Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery, also has a deeper principle at its core. Spiritual and emotional unity in marriage creates the bond that not only prevents such outward conduct but creates an environment of love and trust. This extends to fellow believers in Christ.

Commandments 8, 9, 10 — Thou Shalt Not Steal, Bear False Witness or Covet, have underlying principles of generosity, respect and love. In the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus explained what it means to be one’s neighbor. The importance of truth underlies each of these last commandments.

May this issue be an encouragement to reach deeper into God’s word and seek the sometimes hidden principles being conveyed.

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