Understanding the Structure of God’s Commandments

Here are the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:3-17):

  1. You shall have no other gods before Me.
  2. You shall not make for yourself an idol…
  3. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain…
  4. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy…
  5. Honor your father and your mother…
  6. You shall not murder.
  7. You shall not commit adultery.
  8. You shall not steal.
  9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
  10. You shall not covet…

When Jesus was asked “What commandment is the foremost of all?” He did not pick one of them.  Rather, He answered with two commandments.  Here they are, paraphrased from Matthew 22:34-40 and Mark 12:28-34.

  1. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.
  2. Love your neighbor as yourself.

As you can see, Jesus’ first commandment is a summary of #1 through #4 of the Ten Commandments.  And Jesus’ second commandment is a summary of #5 through #10 of the Ten Commandments.  The first part of the Ten Commandments is about love for God; the second is about love for man.  Therefore, love is the common denominator.

God’s commandments do not conflict with one another; they all fit together into a cohesive code of love.

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