The Ten Commandments



Do you know the ten commandments?

I bet most church folks would say that they know the ten commandments in the Old Testament. Whether they can live it daily is another matter. Whether you are a Christian or not, these commandments are still the best guide for social organization that we have. Whenever I think about the Ten Commandments two anecdotes spring to mind.


A very long time ago, when I was in second form (now Grade 8), our literature teacher was a very creative person. Literature classes could take us anywhere inside and outside the books being studied. I don’t recall why, but in one class, she asked out of the blue, how many commandments there were. Going down the line of students not one of us knew, for sure, and started guessing wildly  — up to 20, I think. She was not amused and I think the class got a detention.


I have often wondered why we froze and didn’t seem to know, considering that in those days, most of us would have been attending Sunday School regularly and would have been exposed to Exodus and the stories therein.


I can only suppose that we were flummoxed because the question came in a Literature class. If it had come in a Sunday School class, we would not have had a problem. Maybe.


The second anecdote comes from a church service, where the visiting evangelist challenged the congregation to recite the ten commandments. Most persons knew some, but couldn’t recall all of them and not in the correct order. There were a lot of shamed faces in church that day.


Of course, a few contented themselves by saying that in the New Testament , Matthew 22:37-39, Jesus brought it down to only two which, if followed, contain all the rest

37 And he said to him, Thou shalt love [the] Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy understanding.

38 This is [the] great and first commandment.

39 And [the] second is like it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.


Seem easy enough. If only we could follow these two injunctions

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