The Ten Commandments Frequently Asked Questions
Question: How many times are the Ten Commandments listed? Where are they listed?
The Ten Commandments are listed in their completeness two times in the Old Testament in Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5:1-22. They are partially listed in the New Testament as well in Matthew 19:17-19; 22:34-40; Luke 10:25-28; Romans 13:8-10.
Question: What is the Decalogue?
The Decalogue is another name given for the Ten Commandments by the Greeks. It is literally rendered “The Ten Words”. The Decalogue is specifically the Ten Commandments written on stone tablets and given to Moses for the people of Israel.
Question: Where were the Ten Commandments kept?
The Ten Commandments were first spoken by God to Moses for the people of Israel (Exodus 20). Later, God commanded Moses to meet with Him on Mount Sinai where God would write the Ten Commandments on two stone tablets (Exodus 24:12-18). These two tablets were broken by Moses when he came down from Mount Sinai and discovered Israel worshipping the golden calf (Exodus 32:15-20). In Deuteronomy 10:1 God had Moses carve out two more stone tablets and God again writes upon them the Ten Commandments. These stone tablets were placed in the ark of the covenant as directed by God (Exodus 25:16; 40:20). Throughout Israel’s wandering in the wilderness the Ten Commandments were kept in the Tabernacle in the holiest place inside the ark of the covenant underneath the mercy seat. Later, when the temple was built the Ten Commandments were kept in the ark of the covenant beneath the wings of the cherubim in the most holy place of the temple (II Chronicles 5:6-10).
Question: Are Christians today still under the Ten Commandment laws?
The Ten Commandments were specifically written to Israel as a covenant with God. It was a covenant that pointed to the promised Messiah (Jesus Christ) who would fulfill the requirements of the covenant and thus, institute a new covenant of salvation in Jesus Christ. Christians today are not bound to keep the Ten Commandments in the same way Israel was. They kept them as a demonstration of faith in the promise that was to come (Jesus Christ). When Jesus instituted a new covenant for all people, the old covenant law was made obsolete. It is the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus which sets us free from the law of sin and death.
“For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Romans 8:2-4, KJV).
A more thorough explanation is given in the Law & Grace section.
Question: Should Christians today observe the Sabbath Day Commandment?
Christians today (in the era of grace) are not obligated to keep the Sabbath Day commandment as given to Moses for the people of Israel. The Sabbath Day was specifically the “sign of the covenant” for Israel and as such is distinctly different from the other nine. Nor are we commanded to keep a Christian Sabbath day (Sunday). For detailed explanation of the Sabbath Day please go to “The Sabbath Day”