THE 10 COMMANDMENTS
This excerpt from the Westminster Catechism is intended to help us better understand the duties required and the actions forbidden by The 10 Commandments. Thank You Jesus for Amazing Grace and Forgiveness! Buckle your seatbelt.
Q. 103. Which is the first commandment?
A. The first commandment is, Thou shall have no other gods before me.445
Q. 104. What are the duties required in the first commandment?
A. The duties required in the first commandment are, the knowing and acknowledging of God to be the only true God, and our God;446 and to worship and glorify him accordingly,447 by thinking,448 meditating,449 remembering,450 highly esteeming,451 honouring,452 adoring,453 choosing,454 loving,455 desiring,456 fearing of him;457 believing him;458 trusting459 hoping,460 delighting,461 rejoicing in him;462 being zealous for him;463 calling upon him, giving all praise and thanks,464 and yielding all obedience and submission to him with the whole man;465 being careful in all things to please him,466 and sorrowful when in anything he is offended;467 and walking humbly with him.468
Q. 105. What are the sins forbidden in the first commandment?
A. The sins forbidden in the first commandment are, atheism, in denying or not having a God;469 idolatry, in having or worshipping more gods than one, or any with or instead of the true God;470 the not having and avouching him for God, and our God;471 the omission or neglect of anything due to him, required in this commandment;472 ignorance,473 forgetfulness,474 misapprehensions,475 false opinions,476 unworthy and wicked thoughts of him;477 bold and curious searching into his secrets;478 all profaneness,479 hatred of God;480 self-love,481 self-seeking,482 and all other inordinate and immoderate setting of our mind, will, or affections upon other things, and taking them off from him in whole or in part;483 vain credulity,484 unbelief,485 heresy,486 misbelief,487 distrust,488 despair,489 incorrigibleness,490 and insensibleness under judgments,491 hardness of heart,492 pride,493 presumption,494 carnal security,495 tempting of God;496 using unlawful means,497 and trusting in lawful means;498 carnal delights and joys;499 corrupt, blind, and indiscreet zeal;500 lukewarmness,501 and deadness in the things of God;502 estranging ourselves, and apostatizing from God;503 praying, or giving any religious worship, to saints, angels, or any other creatures;504 all compacts and consulting with the devil,505 and hearkening to his suggestions;506 making men the lords of our faith and conscience;507 slighting and despising God and his commands;508 resisting and grieving of his Spirit,509 discontent and impatience at his dispensations, charging him foolishly for the evils he inflicts on us;510 and ascribing the praise of any good we either are, have or can do, to fortune,511 idols,512 ourselves,513 or any other creature.514
Q. 106. What are we specially taught by these words before me in the first commandment?
A. These words before me or before my face, in the first commandment, teach us, that God, who seeth all things, taketh special notice of, and is much displeased with, the sin of having any other God: that so it may be an argument to dissuade from it, and to aggravate it as a most impudent provocation:515 as also to persuade us to do as in his sight, whatever we do in his service.516
Q. 107. Which is the second commandment?
A. The second commandment is, Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; and showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.517
Q. 108. What are the duties required in the second commandment?
A. The duties required in the second commandment are, the receiving, observing, and keeping pure and entire, all such religious worship and ordinances as God hath instituted in his Word;518 particularly prayer and thanksgiving in the name of Christ;519 the reading, preaching, and hearing of the Word;520 the administration and receiving of the sacraments;521 church government and discipline;522 the ministry and maintainance thereof;523 religious fasting;524 swearing by the name of God;525 and vowing unto him;526 as also the disapproving, detesting, opposing all false worship;527 and, according to each one’s place and calling, removing it, and all monuments of idolatry.528
Q. 109. What are the sins forbidden in the second commandment?
A. The sins forbidden in the second commandment are, all devising,529 counselling,530 commanding,531 using,532 and anywise approving, any religious worship not instituted by God himself;533 tolerating a false religion; the making any representation of God, of all or of any of the three persons, either inwardly in our mind, or outwardly in any kind of image or likeness of any creature whatsoever;534 all worshipping of it,535 or God in it or by it;536 the making of any representation of feigned deities,537 and all worship of them, or service belonging to them,538 all superstitious devices,539 corrupting the worship of God,540 adding to it, or taking from it,541 whether invented and taken up of ourselves,542 or received by tradition from others,543 though under the title of antiquity,544 custom,545 devotion,546 good intent, or any other pretence whatsoever;547 simony;548 sacrilege;549 all neglect,550 contempt,551 hindering,552 and opposing the worship and ordinances which God hath appointed.553.
Q. 110. What are the reasons annexed to the second commandment, the more to enforce it?
A. The reasons annexed to the second commandment, the more to enforce it, contained in these words, For I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; and showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments;554 are, besides God’s sovereignty over us, and propriety in us,555 his fervent zeal for his own worship,556 and his revengeful indignation against all false worship, as being a spiritual whoredom;557 accounting the breakers of this commandment such as hate him, and threatening to punish them unto divers generations;558 and esteeming the observers of it such as love him and keep his commandments, and promising mercy to them unto many generations.559.
Q. 111. Which is the third commandment?
A. The third commandment is, Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain: for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.560
Q. 112. What is required in the third commandment?
A. The third commandment requires, That the name of God, his titles, attributes,561 ordinances,562 the Word,563 sacraments,564 prayer,565 oaths,566 vows,567 lots,568 his works,569 and whatsoever else there is whereby he makes himself known, be holily and reverently used in thought,570 meditation,571 word,572 and writing;573 by an holy profession,574 and answerable conversation,575 to the glory of God,576 and the good of ourselves,577 and others.578.
Q. 113. What are the sins forbidden in the third commandment?
A. The sins forbidden in the third commandment are, the not using of God’s name as is required;579 and the abuse of it in an ignorant,580 vain,581 irreverent, profane,582 superstitious583 or wicked mentioning or otherwise using his titles, attributes,584 ordinances,585 or works,586 by blasphemy,587 perjury;588 all sinful cursings,589 oaths,590 vows,591 and lots;592 violating of our oaths and vows, if lawful593 and fulfilling them, if of things unlawful;594 murmuring and quarrelling at,595 curious prying into,596 and misapplying of God’s decrees597 and providences;598 misinterpreting,599 misapplying,600 or any way perverting the Word, or any part of it;601 to profane jests,602 curious or unprofitable questions, vain janglings, or the maintaining of false doctrines;603 abusing it, the creatures, or anything contained under the name of God, to charms,604 or sinful lusts and practices;605 the maligning,606 scorning,607 reviling,608 or any wise opposing of God’s truth, grace, and ways;609 making profession of religion in hypocrisy, or for sinister ends;610 being ashamed of it,611 or a shame to it, by unconformable,612 unwise,613 unfruitful,614 and offensive walking,615 or backsliding from it.616.
Q. 114. What reasons are annexed to the third commandment?
A. The reasons annexed to the third commandment, in these words, The Lord thy God, and, For the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain,617 are, because he is the Lord and our God, therefore his name is not to be profaned, or any way abused by us;618 especially because he will be so far from acquitting and sparing the transgressors of this commandment, as that he will not suffer them to escape his righteous judgment;619 albeit many such escape the censures and punishments of men.620
Q. 115. Which is the fourth commandment?
A. The fourth commandment is, Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work; but the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy man-servant, nor thy maid-servant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested in the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath-day and hallowed it.621.
Q. 116. What is required in the fourth commandment?
A. The fourth commandment requireth of all men the sanctifying or keeping holy to God such set times as he hath appointed in his Word, expressly one whole day in seven; which was the seventh from the beginning of the world to the resurrection of Christ, and the first day of the week ever since, and so to continue to the end of the world; which is the Christian sabbath,622 and in the New Testament called The Lord’s day.623
Q. 117. How is the sabbath or the Lord’s day to be sanctified?
A. The sabbath or Lord’s day is to be sanctified by an holy resting all the day,624 not only from such works as are at all times sinful, but even from such worldly employments and recreations as are on other days lawful;625 and making it our delight to spend the whole time (except so much of it as is to be taken up in works of necessity and mercy626) in the public and private exercises of God’s worship:627 and, to that end, we are to prepare our hearts, and with such foresight, diligence, and moderation, to dispose and seasonably dispatch our worldly business, that we may be the more free and fit for the duties of that day.628
Q. 118. Why is the charge of keeping the sabbath more specially directed to governors of families, and other superiors?
A. The charge of keeping the sabbath is more specially directed to governors of families, and other superiors, because they are bound not only to keep it themselves, but to see that it be observed by all those that are under their charge; and because they are prone ofttimes to hinder them by employments of their own.629
Q. 119. What are the sins forbidden in the fourth commandment?
A. The sins forbidden in the fourth commandment are, all omissions of the duties required,630 all careless, negligent, and unprofitable performing of them, and being weary of them;631 all profaning the day by idleness, and doing that which is in itself sinful;632 and by all needless works, words, and thoughts, about our worldly employments and recreations.633
Q. 120. What are the reasons annexed to the fourth commandment, the more to enforce it?
A. The reasons annexed to the fourth commandment, the more to enforce it, are taken from the equity of it, God allowing us six days of seven for our own affairs, and reserving but one for himself in these words, Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:634 from God’s challenging a special propriety in that day, The seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God:635 from the example of God, who in six days made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: and from that blessing which God put upon that day, not only in sanctifying it to be a day for his service, but in ordaining it to be a means of blessing to us in our sanctifying it; Wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.636
Q. 121. Why is the word Remember set in the beginning of the fourth commandment?
A. The word Remember is set in the beginning of the fourth commandment,637 partly, because of the great benefit of remembering it, we being thereby helped in our preparation to keep it,638 and, in keeping it, better to keep all the rest of the commandments,639 and to continue a thankful remembrance of the two great benefits of creation and redemption, which contain a short abridgment of religion;640 and partly, because we are very ready to forget it,641 for that there is less light of nature for it,642 and yet it restraineth our natural liberty in things at other times lawful;643 that it cometh but once in seven days, and many worldly businesses come between, and too often take off our minds from thinking of it, either to prepare for it, or to sanctify it;644 and that Satan with his instruments labours much to blot out the glory, and even the memory of it, to bring in all irreligion and impiety.645
Q. 122. What is the sum of the six commandments which contain our duty to man?
A. The sum of the six commandments which contain our duty to man, is, to love our neighbour as ourselves,646 and to do to others what we would have them to do to us.647
Q. 123. Which is the fifth commandment?
A. The fifth commandment is, Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.648
Q. 124. Who are meant by father and mother in the fifth commandment?
A. By father and mother, in the fifth commandment, are meant, not only natural parents,649 but all superiors in age650 and gifts;651 and especially such as, by God’s ordinance, are over us in place of authority, whether in family,652 church,653 or commonwealth.654
Q. 125. Why are superiors styled father and mother?
A. Superiors are styled father and mother, both to teach them in all duties toward their inferiors, like natural parents, to express love and tenderness to them, according to their several relations;655 and to work inferiors to a greater willingness and cheerfulness in performing their duties to their superiors, as to their parents.656
Q. 126. What is the general scope of the fifth commandment?
A. The general scope of the fifth commandment is, the performance of those duties which we mutually owe in our several relations, as inferiors, superiors, or equals.657
Q. 127. What is the honour that inferiors owe to their superiors?
A. The honour which inferiors owe to their superiors is, all due reverence in heart,658 word, 659 and behaviour;660 prayer and thanksgiving for them;661 imitation of their virtues and graces;662 willing obedience to their lawful commands and counsels;663 due submission to their corrections;664 fidelity to,665 defence,666 and maintenance of their persons and authority, according to their several ranks, and the nature of their places;667 bearing with their infirmities, and covering them in love,668 that so they may be an honour to them and to their government.669
Q. 128. What are the sins of inferiors against their superiors?
A. The sins of inferiors against their superiors are, all neglect of the duties required toward them;670 envying at,671 contempt of,672 and rebellion673 against, their persons674 and places,675 in their lawful counsels,676 commands, and corrections;677 cursing, mocking678 and all such refractory and scandalous carriage, as proves a shame and dishonour to them and their government.679
Q. 129. What is required of superiors towards their inferiors?
A. It is required of superiors, according to that power they receive from God, and that relation wherein they stand, to love,680 pray for,681 and bless their inferiors;682 to instruct,683 counsel, and admonish them;684 countenancing,685 commending,686 and rewarding such as do well;687 and discountenancing,688 reproving, and chastising such as do ill;689 protecting,690 and providing for them all things necessary for soul691 and body:692 and by grave, wise, holy, and exemplary carriage, to procure glory to God,693 honour to themselves,694 and so to preserve that authority which God hath put upon them.695
Q. 130. What are the sins of superiors?
A. The sins of superiors are, besides the neglect of the duties required of them,696 and inordinate seeking of themselves,697 their own glory,698 ease, profit, or pleasure;699 commanding things unlawful,700 or not in the power of inferiors to perform;701 counseling,702 encouraging,703 or favouring them in that which is evil;704 dissuading, discouraging, or discountenancing them in that which is good;705 correcting them unduly;706 careless exposing, or leaving them to wrong, temptation, and danger;707 provoking them to wrath;708 or any way dishonouring themselves, or lessening their authority, by an unjust, indiscreet, rigorous, or remiss behaviour.709
Q. 131. What are the duties of equals?
A. The duties of equals are, to regard the dignity and worth of each other,710 in giving honour to go one before another;711 and to rejoice in each others’ gifts and advancement, as their own.712
Q. 132. What are the sins of equals?
A. The sins of equals are, besides the neglect of the duties required,713 the undervaluing of the worth,714 envying the gifts,715 grieving at the advancement of prosperity one of another;716 and usurping pre-eminence one over another.717
Q. 133. What is the reason annexed to the fifth commandment, the more to enforce it?A. The reason annexed to the fifth commandment, in these words, That thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee,718 is an express promise of long life and prosperity, as far as it shall serve for God’s glory and their own good, to all such as keep this commandment.719
Q. 134. Which is the sixth commandment?
A. The sixth commandment is, Thou shalt not kill.720
Q. 135. What are the duties required in the sixth commandment?
A. The duties required in the sixth commandment are all careful studies, and lawful endeavors, to preserve the life of ourselves721 and others722 by resisting all thoughts and purposes,723 subduing all passions,724 and avoiding all occasions,725 temptations,726 and practices, which tend to the unjust taking away the life of any;727 by just defense thereof against violence,728 patient bearing of the hand of God,729 quietness of mind,730 cheerfulness of spirit;731 a sober use of meat,732 drink,733 physic,734 sleep,735 labour,736 and recreations;737 by charitable thoughts,738 love,739 compassion,740 meekness, gentleness, kindness;741 peaceable,742 mild and courteous speeches and behaviour;743 forbearance, readiness to be reconciled, patient bearing and forgiving of injuries, and requiting good for evil;744 comforting and succouring the distressed and protecting and defending the innocent.745
Q. 136. What are the sins forbidden in the sixth commandment?
A. The sins forbidden in the sixth commandment are, all taking away the life of ourselves,746 or of others,747 except in case of public justice,748 lawful war,749 or necessary defense;750 the neglecting or withdrawing the lawful and necessary means of preservation of life;751 sinful anger,752 hatred,753 envy,754 desire of revenge;755 all excessive passions,756 distracting cares;757 immoderate use of meat, drink,758 labor,759 and recreations;760 provoking words,761 oppression,762 quarreling,763 striking, wounding,764 and whatsoever else tends to the destruction of the life of any.765
Q. 137. Which is the seventh commandment?
A. The seventh commandment is, Thou shalt not commit adultery.766
Q. 138. What are the duties required in the seventh commandment?
A. The duties required in the seventh commandment are, chastity in body, mind, affections,767 words,768 and behavior;769 and the preservation of it in ourselves and others;770 watchfulness over the eyes and all the senses;771 temperance,772 keeping of chaste company,773 modesty in apparel;774 marriage by those that have not the gift of continency,775 conjugal love,776 and cohabitation;777 diligent labor in our callings;778 shunning all occasions of uncleanness, and resisting temptations thereunto.779
Q. 139. What are the sins forbidden in the seventh commandment?
A. The sins forbidden in the seventh commandment, besides the neglect of the duties required,780 are, adultery, fornication,781 rape, incest,782 sodomy, and all unnatural lusts;783 all unclean imaginations, thoughts, purposes, and affections;784 all corrupt or filthy communications, or listening thereunto;785 wanton looks,786 impudent or light behaviour, immodest apparel;787 prohibiting of lawful,788 and dispensing with unlawful marriages;789 allowing, tolerating, keeping of stews, and resorting to them;790 entangling vows of single life,791 undue delay of marriage,792 having more wives or husbands than one at the same time;793 unjust divorce,794 or desertion;795 idleness, gluttony, drunkenness,796 unchaste company;797 lascivious songs, books, pictures, dancings, stage plays;798 and all other provocations to, or acts of uncleanness, either in ourselves or others.799
Q. 140. Which is the eighth commandment?
A. The eighth commandment is, Thou shalt not steal.800
Q. 141. What are the duties required in the eighth commandment?
A. The duties required in the eighth commandment are, truth, faithfulness, and justice in contracts and commerce between man and man;801 rendering to everyone his due; restitution of goods unlawfully detained from the right owners thereof;802 giving and lending freely, according to our abilities, and the necessities of others;803 moderation of our judgments, wills, and affections concerning worldly goods;804 a provident care and study to get,805 keep, use, and dispose these things which are necessary and convenient for the sustentation of our nature, and suitable to our condition;806 a lawful calling,807 and diligence in it;808 frugality;809 avoiding unnecessary lawsuits,810. and suretiship, or other like engagements;811 and an endeavor, by all just and lawful means, to procure, preserve, and further the wealth and outward estate of others, as well as our own.812
Q. 142. What are the sins forbidden in the eighth commandment?
A. The sins forbidden in the eighth commandment, besides the neglect of the duties required,813 are, theft,814 robbery,815 man-stealing,816 and receiving any thing that is stolen;817 fraudulent dealing,818 false weights and measures,819 removing landmarks,820 injustice and unfaithfulness in contracts between man and man,821 or in matters of trust;822 oppression,823 extortion,824 usury,825 bribery,826 vexatious lawsuits,827 unjust inclosures and depopulations;828 ingrossing commodities to enhance the price;829 unlawful callings,830 and all other unjust or sinful ways of taking or withholding from our neighbour what belongs to him, or of enriching ourselves;831 covetousness;832 inordinate prizing and affecting worldly goods;833 distrustful and distracting cares and studies in getting, keeping, and using them;834 envying at the prosperity of others;835 as likewise idleness,836 prodigality, wasteful gaming; and all other ways whereby we do unduly prejudice our own outward estate,837 and defrauding ourselves of the due use and comfort of that estate which God hath given us.838
Q. 143. Which is the ninth commandment?
A. The ninth commandment is, Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.839
Q. 144. What are the duties required in the ninth commandment?
A. The duties required in the ninth commandment are, the preserving and promoting of truth between man and man,840 and the good name of our neighbour, as well as our own;841 appearing and standing for the truth;842 and from the heart,843 sincerely,844 freely,845 clearly,846 and fully,847 speaking the truth, and only the truth, in matters of judgment and justice,848 and in all other things whatsoever;849 a charitable esteem of our neighbours;850 loving, desiring, and rejoicing in their good name;851 sorrowing for,852 and covering of their infirmities;853 freely acknowledging of their gifts and graces,854 defending their innocency;855 a ready receiving of a good report,856 and unwillingness to admit of an evil report,857 concerning them; discouraging tale-bearers,858 flatterers,859 and slanderers;860 love and care of our own good name, and defending it when need requireth;861 keeping of lawful promises;862 studying and practicing of whatsoever things are true, honest, lovely, and of good report.863
Q. 145. What are the sins forbidden in the ninth commandment?
A. The sins forbidden in the ninth commandment are, all prejudicing the truth, and the good name of our neighbours, as well as our own,864 especially in public judicature;865 giving false evidence,866 suborning false witnesses,867 wittingly appearing and pleading for an evil cause, outfacing and overbearing the truth;868 passing unjust sentence,869 calling evil good, and good evil; rewarding the wicked according to the work of the righteous, and the righteous according to the work of the wicked;870 forgery,871 concealing the truth, undue silence in a just cause,872 and holding our peace when iniquity calleth for either a reproof from ourselves,873 or complaint to others;874 speaking the truth unseasonably,875 or maliciously to a wrong end,876 or perverting it to a wrong meaning,877 or in doubtful and equivocal expressions, to the prejudice of truth or justice;878 speaking untruth,879 lying,880 slandering,881 backbiting,882 detracting, tale bearing,883 whispering,884 scoffing,885 reviling,886 rash,887 harsh,888 and partial censuring;889 misconstructing intentions, words, and actions;890 flattering,891 vain-glorious boasting;892 thinking or speaking too highly or too meanly of ourselves or others;893 denying the gifts and graces of God;894 aggravating smaller faults;895 hiding, excusing, or extenuating of sins, when called to a free confession;896 unnecessary discovering of infirmities;897 raising false rumors,898 receiving and countenancing evil reports,899 and stopping our ears against just defense;900 evil suspicion;901 envying or grieving at the deserved credit of any,902 endeavoring or desiring to impair it,903 rejoicing in their disgrace and infamy;904 scornful contempt,905 fond admiration;906 breach of lawful promises;907 neglecting such things as are of good report,908 and practicing, or not avoiding ourselves, or not hindering what we can in others, such things as procure an ill name.909
Q. 146. Which is the tenth commandment?
A. The tenth commandment is, Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shall not covet they neighbour’s wife, nor his man-servant, nor his maid-servant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.910
Q. 147. What are the duties required in the tenth commandment?
A. The duties required in the tenth commandment are, such a full contentment with our own condition,911 and such a charitable frame of the whole soul toward our neighbour, as that all our inward motions and affections touching him, tend unto, and further all that good which is his.912
Q. 148. What are the sins forbidden in the tenth commandment?
A. The sins forbidden in the tenth commandment are, discontentment with our own estate;913 envying914 and grieving at the good of our neighbour,915 together with all inordinate motions and affections to anything that is his.916