Devotion: J U N E 2

How To Interpret The Ten Commandments

Scripture: Exodus 20:2

In the next few days, we’ll take a close look at each of the Ten Commandments. But before delving into each one, let me make a few general observations that should help you better understand all of them. First, each commandment contains both a negative action and a positive action for us to obey. For example, when a commandment forbids murder, it inherently commands us to sustain life. When it forbids adultery, it commands purity. When it forbids theft, it commands honesty. As we dwell on each commandment in the next few days, think of both sides to each one, and brainstorm ways to incorporate the positive action in your life.

Second, when a commandment condemns one offense, this offense represents and includes all similar offenses. For example, when a commandment forbids adultery, it also forbids all other forms of unlawful sex—fornication (sexual intercourse between unmarried people), incest, sodomy or homosexual offenses, and beastiality. When reading about each commandment, spend a moment or two thinking of how each commandment extends to other actions. Commit yourself to being obedient in these implicit areas as well as in the explicitly commanded one.

Third, whatever a commandment forbids is forbidden in actions, words, and thoughts. The commandments reach into the secret places of our hearts. They don’t allow us to call ourselves righteous when we cover up evil motives with charming behavior. For example, Jesus said, “Whoever is angry with his brother without cause shall be in danger of the judgment.” So consider ways you can obey each commandment not only in deed but in word and thought, then commit yourself to maintaining high standards in all three areas.

As you meditate on the Ten Commandments in the coming days, keep all these things in mind. As you do, you’ll discover how to better express your love to God. And the more you obey Him, the more He will show Himself and His will to you.

"“God gave us the Ten Commandments, not the Ten Suggestions.”"
Ted Koppel (Paraphrased)