The Tenth Commandment : Don’t covet

The Tenth Commandment : Don’t covet

You shall not covet. (Exodus 20:17) I remember, as an adolescent, struggling with this commandement. The other nine focus on actions – things we should or shouldn’t do – but the tenth commandment targets our thoughts and desires. I thought this was surely unreasonable. After all, sometimes random thoughts and desires just seem to come unbidden to the mind and, as long as I didn’t act on anything unsavoury or unkind, what...

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The Ninth Commandment : Don’t lie

The Ninth Commandment : Don’t lie

You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour. (Exodus 20:16 ESV) How would you react if someone called you a liar? I expect most of us would take great offense. And yet, scholars note that ‘the thing that separates human beings from other animals isn’t the ability to reason or use tools, but rather it’s telling lies and human capacity for self-deception.’ In fact, they contend that ‘lying is a...

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The Eighth Commandment : Don’t steal

The Eighth Commandment : Don’t steal

You shall not steal. (Exodus 20:15 ESV) Even though the 8th Commandment is short and succinct, it addresses an insidious and pervasive sin that comes in many forms. There are countless things we can steal and numerous ways in which we can do so. I think most people would agree that we shouldn’t steal but sadly, theft is endemic to the human race. We don’t like to acknowledge that we steal and so we use an array of alternative...

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The Seventh Commandment: Don’t commit adultery

The Seventh Commandment: Don’t commit adultery

You shall not commit adultery. (Exodus 20:14 ESV) Like the sixth commandment (You shall not murder), the seventh commandment is equally, short, unequivocal and seemingly quite straightforward. And, just like the sixth, it’s altogether more far-reaching than we might imagine. While there’s no such concept as ‘small sin’ versus ‘large sin’, adultery has the particular characteristic of involving deceit and a desire for someone who is, in...

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The Sixth Commandment : Don’t murder

The Sixth Commandment : Don’t murder

You shall not murder. (Exodus 20:13 ESV) At first sight, this commandment seems to be both straight forward and self-evident but, with a little study, it reveals itself to be more complex and far-reaching than we might imagine. One area of confusion arises from the fact that the KJV renders it as: Thou shalt not kill. However, the Hebrew word ‘ratzákh’ is more correctly translated as ‘murder’ and also covers death...

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