The Ten Commandments: A summary of What Believers should Know

The ten (10) commandments are also known as The decalogue. It is a set of biblical rules and principles that play a fundamental role in guiding and ensuring morals and good conduct in Christianity and other religions like Judaism.

The ten commandments are in two different parts of the Bible. They are Exodus 20:2-17 and Deuteronomy 5:6-21 though they both have the same meaning.


Christians consider the ten commandments as divine laws because it was handed down to us by God Himself and its not just some set of arbitrary laws from nowhere.

The commandments given to Moses on Mount Sinai were written down on two tablets of stone. It was divided into two parts. The first part contains the laws towards God and the second, towards our fellow man. The commandments are the same but have a different numbering system according to different religions or groups.

While the Catholics and Judaists group the first and second commandments as one but divides the last commandment into two, the protestants divide the first commandment into two but group the ninth and tenth commandments as one.

The ten commandments in their short forms.

S/N Ten commandments according to Catholics, and Judaists Ten commandments according to Protestants
1 I am the Lord your God, you shall have no other gods before me I am the Lord your God, you shall have no other gods before me
2 You shall not call the name of your God in vain You shall not make yourself an idol or a graven image.
3 Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy You shall not call the name if your God in vain
4 Honor your father and your mother Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy
5 You shall not kill Honor your father and your mother.
6. You shall not steal You shall not kill
7 You shall not commit adultery You shall not steal
8 You shall not bear false witness against your neighbors You shall not commit adultery
9 You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
10 You shall not covet your neighbor’s goods. You shall not covet



Downlisted are The ten commandments as it is in the book of Exodus 20 and their explanations.

“I  am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before me.” Exodus 20:2-3

The first commandment forbids us to serve other gods but the one true God. It also forbids us to serve many gods. God is the Creator, and all He asks of us is to revere and worship Him.

He is a God who does not share his glory with any other gods. And as long as you worship Him, He will keep delivering you from bondages and all your fears.

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Do not allow anything but God to take the lead in your life. If you do, that which you put first may begin to pose as a god you serve. Many put the quest for money before everything and money eventually becomes their god.  God forbids that. The first commandment says you should put God first.

“You shall not make for yourself a carved image_any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them not serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love me and keep my commandments.” Exodus 20:4-6

In other words, it says, ” Do not commit idolatry.” The second commandment is similar to the first as they both forbid idolatry. It forbid a man from making idols and bowing to them as their God. 

 Most people think worshiping an idol ends in making a statue out of clay or wood and bowing to it. Others think it is when you worship a tree or river or any living or non-living thing.

The aforementioned may be inclusive, but it is not all. When you’re addicted to something, it becomes your idol. Many Christians love money so much that they can do anything for it, money becomes their idol, and they begin to worship it. To some, their idol includes; drugs, sin, food, violence, and so on. The second commandment warns that you stay away from idols of all kinds.

“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain. for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain”. Exodus 20:7

The third commandment is the simplest but most neglected of the ten. In this commandment, God orders us to respect His holy name. But unfortunately, people violate it every day! 

You should only call the Lord’s name when you’re in a bad situation, or while praising Him, or when praying to Him, and so on, not whenever it pleases you. You should love God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength.

You should also respect His name with great passion and vigor. Shouting His name all around without reverence will make him count you guilty. Show God the utmost respect.

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord your God. In it, you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within the gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and hallowed it”. Exodus 20:8-11

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The Sabbath is the holy day of the Lord. It is a day God has blessed and ordained in commemoration of his hard work and creativity during creation. He has asked us to do no work. Many Christians disobey this commandment.  They work all days, not resting on Sunday or Saturday as your description of the seventh day maybe.

We should respect the sabbath day and keep it holy regardless of the conditions. Christians go to church on this day( Sunday) in obedience to the commandment. Praising and worshipping the Lord is a way of keeping the day of the Lord holy other than going to work.

“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you”. Exodus 20:12

God hates disobedience. Our first parents, Adam and Eve, disobeyed God and God punished them severely. In this commandment, He has ordered us to obey our parents so that His promise to us may be fulfilled.

This is the only commandment with a promise attached. Children owe their parents respect and helpfulness. When children turn adults, they owe their parents love and care too.

  “you shall not kill.” Exodus 20:13

Murder is the act of killing an innocent person, but killing means taking life away. God said we should not kill. Though society frowns at murder but most times support killing to defend oneself or executing an offender.

The commandment of God forbids killing. It is against the law of God to take the life of a fellow man. The act of murder is punishable by both man and God.

“You shall not commit adultery.”    Exodus 20:14

Adultery is the act of voluntary sexual intercourse between someone who is married and the other person who is not his or her spouse. In other words, having a sexual relationship outside marriage. Adultery tears the bonds of your marriage. This Seventh Commandment requires us to guard our hearts against evil thoughts, and our eyes from lustful looks because adultery can begin in the heart long before any action occurs. Adultery is a sin against God, against man (spouse), and your body. It should be avoided.

“You shall not steal.” Exodus 20:15

Stealing means taking another person’s property without permission or legal right and with the intention of not returning it. The eighth Commandment encourages contentment and being responsible.

You should be contented with what you have and avoid taking what belongs to others either by force as in armed robbery or lobbying as in kidnapping.

Cheating in business, depriving workers of their just wages, mismanagement, embezzlement, fraud, tax evasion, and vandalism are all considered extensions of violations of this Commandment. Looking at the level of corruption and fund mismanagement we see in society today, we discover that the world still needs this commandment more than ever.

“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor” Exodus 20:16 

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This commandment can be simply rephrased as ” you shall not tell lies.” Love God as yourself and love your neighbors too. Do not betray or speak untrue comments about them. Lying is destructive. You don’t only kill by stabbing or shooting or by fighting, harsh words have sent so many to their grave. The devil is the father of all liars, he inputs these words in us so that we hurt others. In the ninth commandment, God reminds us how important it is to speak the truth and avoid bearing false witnesses.

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.” Exodus 20: 17

To covet means to desire, to want something strongly which belongs to another.  Coveting is a sign of greed and God discourages the act. Stick to what belongs to you and let it satisfy you.

Do not wish to have another man’s wife or his properties, instead work hard to get yours. Greediness, jealousy, and envy are all dangerous vices that push you to carry-out out worse actions that might lead to regrets. Instead of starring all day at the achievements of another man, aim at building your empire. That is what the last commandment says.


We have fully neglected the commandments of God. The world is so dirty and unorganized because we no longer obey. Most Christians don’t even remember that there’s such thing as ‘The Lord’s commandments. \

The Bible reminds us in Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” We must trend with caution because all our actions are being recorded. Disobedience to God causes pain, conflict, loss, confusion, disasters,  just as it is in the world today.

Most times, we get punished for our sins immediately; Other times, it seems God is so silent. God is omniscient, He knows all things and His judgments are all correct. We just need to obey his commands and make amends while we live because there’s not forgiveness after death.


God gave us His commandments as a guide. He didn’t give us laws that will kill us. The Scripture says in 2peter 3:9″ The Lord does not delay the promise, as some esteem slowness, but is patient toward you, not willing for any to perish, but all to come to repentance.” We should work hard to obey God’s laws and be righteous before him to gain his blessings.

As we obey the ten commandments, we should cap it all with the greatest commandment which Jesus gave in the new testament. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew:22:36-40.

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