What Are The Bible Ten Commandments

The Ten Commandments, also known as the Decalogue, is the foundation of Judeo-Christian morality. This set of moral imperatives was first found in the Hebrew Bible, and has since been used to define right and wrong in many societies. Each commandment addresses a behaviour or attitude which we should keep away from in order to live harmoniously with our fellow human beings. Throughout the years, different religious and philosophical interpretations have developed concerning the Ten Commandments, though their basic message of mutual respect and non-violence remains the same.

Religious Significance

The Bible Ten Commandments were given by God to Moses on Mount Sinai, during the Exodus from Egypt. This shared law was intended to be the basis of how Israelites would live together in a covenantal relationship with God, forming a kind of meeting place between God and human beings. In modernity, the Ten Commandments still represent a direct link with God and serve as guidelines for practicing Jews and Christians on how to live with God, for Him, and in His grace.

Interpretations and Meaning

The interpretations of the Ten Commandments are various and can change depending on a person’s religious views. Orthodox Christianity integrates the Ten Commandments into their weekly liturgy and preaches living from the heart. Other denominations have adapted the laws in different ways, often summarizing the list into two sets of five, or even one singular commandment. Generally, the first commandment appeals to devotion to God, and the other nine address how to act in relation to one another and honor commitments.

Current Context

The Ten Commandments, as expressed in the Western tradition, still remain relevant in the present day, with many countries including the commandments as part of their legal structure. In the United States, for example, the Ten Commandments is seen as forming the basis of the country’s ethos, with many legal battles surrounding the issue of incorporating the Decalogue into public institutions or buildings. Although controversial, the general message of ‘treat thy neighbour as thyself’ embedded in the Ten Commandments is still an important cultural foundation in many Western countries.

Moral Development

The underlying ethic found in the Ten Commandments describes the imperative to act according to God’s will, as expressed through another person’s well-being. Ethicists consider the Ten Commandments to be the foundation of moral maturity and many ethical systems are rooted in the Decalogue. Through guiding us in important matters of morality, the Ten Commandments encourage us to strive for a life of righteous living, showing love and mercy to our neighbours, and valuing family and relationships.

Humanistic Perspectives

Not all interpretations of the Ten Commandments are rooted in religious beliefs. Humanistic perspectives of the Decalogue suggest that ethical behaviour should be based on human life and human rights, rather than what is prescribed by a deity. According to humanists, compassionate and kind behaviour does not require a belief in God, and in fact should be the basis of all moral decisions and actions. Regardless of interpretation, the Ten Commandments remain an important guide on how to live and interact with others.

The Importance of Education

Many experts agree that imparting knowledge of the Ten Commandments should start in childhood and continue into adulthood. This way, individuals will understand the importance of living a moral life, set a baseline of ethical behaviour, and raise their children similarly. Introducing the Ten Commandments to children as early as possible can help them understand the importance of such values and provide them with the tools and knowledge to lead a fulfilled life. This can be accomplished through three main methods: responsible parenting, civic responsibility, and religious education.

Responsible Parenting

Parenting plays a major role in teaching children moral values and principles. The key factors in responsible parenting include, unconditional love and friendship, protecting children from all harm, and setting appropriate boundaries. Parents should maintain close contact with their children to ensure that they are growing into healthy individuals. Additionally, parents can provide children with life skills such as problem-solving, decision-making, and interpersonal understanding. These skills can help children to lead lives that are guided by the Ten Commandments and remain in line with the values of their family and society.

Civic Responsibility

Civic responsibility is the obligation each person has to contribute and act ethically within their community. Schools and community leaders play an important role in educating people on how to be responsible citizens, and the Ten Commandments can be an excellent example of how one should live. Through activities such as community service, constructive dialogue and activities with religious or non-religious organizations, children can learn the importance of civic responsibility, religious respect, and ethical behaviour.

Religious Education

Religious education, including teaching the Bible Ten Commandments, tends to be a prominent part of many societies’ upbringing. Understanding the Ten Commandments help children learn to accept others, even though they may have beliefs that are different from their own. Furthermore, religious education can provide children with a life framework which will guide their actions and decisions. Depending on the religion, such education may teach children to internalize various spiritual principles, such as loving your neighbour as you love yourself, being honest, showing respect and mercy, and learning to forgive.

Politics and Law

Politics and law affect the implementation of moral values in any society. Governments and courts have used the Ten Commandments as the basis for developing legislation, or guidelines on behaviour. For example, The Eighth Commandment, which addresses theft, is the basis for the concept of private property and is written into many modern laws. Additionally, the Ninth Commandment states that one should not give false witness against their neighbour, which forms part of the legal doctrine relating to perjury.


Ultimately, the Bible Ten Commandments remain a cornerstone of many societies’ ethical codes. Their simple structure, general principles and ethical implications provide us with an excellent framework for moral behaviour. Regardless of religious belief or background, adhering to the Ten Commandments can lead to constructive behaviour, greater understanding of those different from us, and more harmonious societies.

Marcos Reyna is a Christian author and speaker. He is dedicated to helping create disciples of Christ through spreading the power of the gospel to others. He has written several books and articles on a variety of theological topics, including matters of faith, worship, biblical studies, practical ethics, and social justice. A trained theologian and devotee of spiritual writing, Marcos has a mission to spread Christian love everywhere. He lives with his family in Nashville, TN where he spends his days encouraging others to seek Christ's grace in all things.

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