If you grew up in church, you probably learned them by heart in Sunday School. There are even little songs (here’s my favorite) and mnemonics to help you memorize them.
The Decalogue. The two tables of the Law. The Ten Commandments.
Sure, you can recite them forward and backward, and, if you can’t, you can probably name most of them even if you don’t get the order right. But have you ever slowed down and really studied them? What would all these “thou shalts” and “thou shalt nots” have meant to Moses and the people of Israel? How are they relevant to Christians today? And how do these ten laws demonstrate God’s goodness? We’ll be taking a look at these questions and others over the course of this study.
We never parachute into a book or passage we’re going to study without first setting the stage. God didn’t give the Ten Commandments in a vacuum. What was going on at the time? To whom were the Commandments given? When? Why? Who were the main characters in the story? It’s time to do some homework.
If you’ve never read the book of Exodus from beginning to end before (or if it’s been a while), take as long as you need and read the first eighteen chapters of the book word for word. If you’re already fairly well versed in the storyline of Exodus, skim back over the first eighteen chapters to refresh your memory. As you read or skim, bullet-point the major events and information.
- Who is this book about? Who are the main characters in the storyline?
- When did these events occur relative to other major biblical events?
- What was God’s “big picture” plan for the people of Israel during this time frame? What were the steps He took to carry out that plan?
- Where, geographically, did these events take place?
- Why was there a need for God to give codified laws to His people at this point in their history?
- How does this story point us to Christ?
Read and listen through these additional resources to help set a good foundation for our study of the Ten Commandments:
Why Exodus is the Best Book in the Bible at Entreating Favor
Do the Ten Commandments apply to Christians today? at Grace to You
What are the Ten Commandments? What is the Decalogue? at Got Questions
The Preeminence of God’s Moral Law by Phil Johnson