Ask the Pastor: The Ten Commandments

The differing enumerations of the Ten Commandments among various religious traditions is not generally regarded as a doctrinal matter dividing the churches. The Oxford Companion to the Bible (Oxford, 1993) is correct when it states: “The contents of the Ten Commandments are…the same for all of the religious communities despite the difference in their enumeration.” The Lutheran Cyclopedia notes in its article on the “Decalogue” that the Bible neither numbers the commandments nor determines their respective position. The Jews make Exodus 20:2 the 1st Commandment, Exodus 20:3-6 the Second and Exodus 20:17 the Tenth. Eastern Orthodox and the Reformed churches make Exodus 20:2-3 the First, Exodus 20:4-6 the Second and Exodus 20:17 the Tenth. Lutheran and Roman Catholic churches regard Exodus 20:4 as part of the First. Then we draw the Second from Exodus 20:7, the Third from Exodus 20:8-11, and make Exodus 20:17a the 9th and Exodus 20:17b the Tenth. The Jews divide the Bible into two tables each with five commandments each. Lutherans and Roman Catholics assign the first three commandments and the remaining seven commandments to the two tables. Eastern Orthodox and Reformed assign four to the first table and six to the second.

Categories Self-Study, Uncategorized | Tags: , , | Posted on May 13, 2012

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