The Ten (10 Commandments Bible Study)

The Ten: Lesson 12


Previous Lessons: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11

Exodus 20:17

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.”

Ephesians 5:3,5

But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints…For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.

James 4:1-3

What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.

Luke 12:13-21

Someone in the crowd said to [Jesus], “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” 14 But he said to him, “Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?” 15 And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” 16 And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, 17 and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ 18 And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods.19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’ 20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ 21 So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”

Hebrews 13:5

Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Colossians 3:5, 12-15

Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.

1 Timothy 6:6-11

But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. 11 But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness.

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Questions to Consider:

1. Read through all of today’s passages. What does it mean to covet? How are coveting, jealousy, and greed related? Compare the tenth Commandment to the other nine. In what way is the sin of coveting different from the sins in the other Commandments? Is coveting observable? What specific things does the tenth Commandment tell us not to covet (Exodus 20:17)?

2. How is coveting at the root of murder, theft, adultery, and lying? The Ephesians and Colossians passages say that coveting is idolatry. Why? Can you think of any other sins coveting could lead to? How could recognizing coveting and putting it to death help prevent it from snowballing into more sin?

3. Think about coveting, a secret sin of the heart, in the immediate context of the tenth Commandment (God is setting apart Israel as His own special people and establishing them as a nation). How would obedience to this Commandment have been conducive to keeping law and order in civil society?

4. Do you think the nations surrounding Israel who worshiped pagan gods had laws against coveting? Why or why not? If any of them did, what would be the difference between a false god making and enforcing a law against a secret sin of the heart and God making and enforcing such a law? How would a law against a secret sin have pointed Israel’s pagan neighbors to the one true God who sees and judges the hidden secrets of the heart? How would this have been a testimony to God’s power and omniscience?

5. According to the Ephesians and James passages, is coveting characteristic of Christians or lost people? What does James say are some of the results of coveting? How might having a covetous heart affect our prayer life? (James 4:3) What does Ephesians 5:5 say is the consequence of unrepentant coveting?

6. What role did coveting play in the parable Jesus told in the Luke passage? Explain Luke 12:15 in your own words.

7. Examine the Hebrews, Colossians and 1 Timothy passages and compare them with the tenth Commandment in Exodus 20:17. Is the Old Testament instruction about coveting singular (one part) or binary (two parts)? The New Testament instruction? What are the “thou shalt not” and the “thou shalt” instructions about coveting in these New Testament passages? Instead of coveting, we are to be c_____. (Hebrews 13:5) Why, according to Hebrews 13:5, are Christians to be content? How does it demonstrate to others that Christ is sufficient when we are content instead of covetous? Read Colossians 3:15. How can thankfulness counteract coveting?


When we covet, we are essentially saying to God, “What You have so lovingly and graciously provided for me isn’t good enough. I deserve better.” Coveting brings with it the sin of ingratitude toward God. Spend some time in prayer asking God to bring to mind any areas of your life in which you’re coveting, and ask Him to forgive you.

Make a list of the things, people, and life circumstances God has blessed you with and keep it handy (maybe in your notes app in your phone?). This week if you find yourself coveting something, someone, or a certain circumstance, drop what you’re doing, go back to that list and offer a prayer of thanksgiving to God for what He has already provided for you. Ask Him to make your heart content.

The Ten (10 Commandments Bible Study)

The Ten: Lesson 11


Previous Lessons: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

Exodus 20:16

“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

Exodus 23:1

“You shall not spread a false report. You shall not join hands with a wicked man to be a malicious witness.

Proverbs 6:16-19, 19:22

There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: 17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,18 a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, 19 a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.

Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are his delight.

Revelation 21:8

But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”

Numbers 23:19

God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?

John 8:44-46, 14:6

You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me. 46 Which one of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me?

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Proverbs 30:5

Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.

John 17:17

Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.

2 Timothy 2:15

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.

Psalm 101:7

No one who practices deceit shall dwell in my [David’s] house; no one who utters lies shall continue before my [David’s] eyes.

Colossians 3:9-10

Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.

Ephesians 4:15

Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Questions to Consider:

1. Examine the two Exodus verses. What does the ninth Commandment mean by “bear false witness against your neighbor“? Is bearing false witness limited to an adjudicative scenario? What are some other ways to bear false witness against someone?

2. Is lying that does not involve a neighbor bearing false witness? (Ex: “I ate two cookies,” when you really ate three or “This car you’re considering buying has never been in an accident,” when it really has.) Is God OK with these kinds of lies since they aren’t specifically prohibited in the ninth Commandment? Why or why not?

3. Going back to the immediate context of the ninth Commandment, (God is setting apart Israel as His own special people and establishing them as a nation), why would it have been important to civil and criminal law and order for Israelites not to bear false witness in court cases? How would this standard of truthfulness in legal matters have set Israel apart from the pagan nations surrounding them and have been a witness to those pagan nations of the one true God?

4. Study the Proverbs 6 and Revelation verses. How does God view lying? What are the two types of lying mentioned in verses 17 and 19? Consider the following words and phrases. How are each of these a form of lying: concealing facts, slander, libel, gossip, breaking promises, failure to tell the whole truth, deception, white lies, cheating, spinning or slanting the facts, embellishing, exaggerating? According to Revelation 21:8, what is the punishment for liars? Which liars?

5. Consider what the Numbers 23 and John 8 passages say about the nature of God and the nature of Satan. Whose nature is truth? Whose is lies? What are some ways God exemplifies truth and Satan exemplifies lies? Whose nature are God’s people to emulate? Why? Are we representing God well to others when we lie, break promises, or fail to be people of our word?

6. Examine Proverbs 30:5, John 17:17, and 2 Timothy 2:15. Why is the Bible called “the word of truth”? Has anyone ever been able to prove any part of God’s word to be untrue? Why is it crucial to mankind’s relationship with God that the Bible be true? How is truth foundational to trust? How does it malign God’s truthful nature when we don’t trust Him? Why is it important that Christians handle God’s word correctly and truthfully?

7. How would you restate the ninth Commandment as a positive (a “Thou shalt ____.” statement rather than “Thou shalt not ____.”)? What are some ways the Psalm, Colossians, and Ephesians verses indicate that God’s people should walk in truth? Can you think of other passages that exhort Christians to be truthful?


Are there any areas of your life in which you’ve failed to speak and live truthfully? Repent to God and to anyone you have deceived, lied about, or been dishonest with and tell the truth.

Ironically, sometimes the hardest truths to tell are God’s truths. Is there someone you’ve failed to share the truth of the gospel with? Have you been dishonest with others, yourself, or God about a sin in your life? Have you “softened” the gospel or any of God’s teachings about sin and difficult issues when speaking to others because you’re trying to be nice or keep the peace? Have you overlooked an issue that needs to be addressed with God’s truth because you’re afraid? Are there any parts of the Bible you refuse to submit to because you think they’re wrong? Ask God to reveal to you any situations in your life that need a healthy dose of biblical truth, and pray that He will give you courage and wisdom to “speak the truth in love.”

The Ten (10 Commandments Bible Study)

The Ten: Lesson 10


Previous Lessons: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

Exodus 20:15

“You shall not steal.

Leviticus 6:1-7

The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “If anyone sins and commits a breach of faith against the Lord by deceiving his neighbor in a matter of deposit or security, or through robbery, or if he has oppressed his neighbor or has found something lost and lied about it, swearing falsely—in any of all the things that people do and sin thereby— if he has sinned and has realized his guilt and will restore what he took by robbery or what he got by oppression or the deposit that was committed to him or the lost thing that he found or anything about which he has sworn falsely, he shall restore it in full and shall add a fifth to it, and give it to him to whom it belongs on the day he realizes his guilt. And he shall bring to the priest as his compensation to the Lord a ram without blemish out of the flock, or its equivalent, for a guilt offering.And the priest shall make atonement for him before the Lord, and he shall be forgiven for any of the things that one may do and thereby become guilty.”

Isaiah 61:8a

For I the Lord love justice; I hate robbery and wrong;

Luke 19:1-10

He entered Jericho and was passing through. And behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich. And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small in stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.” So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully. And when they saw it, they all grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

1 Corinthians 6:10-11

nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

Ezekiel 18:16

[He] does not oppress anyone, exacts no pledge, commits no robbery, but gives his bread to the hungry and covers the naked with a garment,

Ephesians 4:28

Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Questions to Consider:

1. Going back to the immediate context of the eighth Commandment, (God is setting apart Israel as His own special people and establishing them as a nation), why would it have been important, on a societal level, that Joe Israelite refrain from stealing? How would respecting their neighbor’s rights of private ownership of property have pointed the pagan nations surrounding Israel to the one true God? How can being a law abiding citizen today be a step toward witnessing to lost people?

2. According to verses 2,5-7 of Leviticus 6, whom has a thief sinned against? Are the consequences in this passage for a repentant or unrepentant thief? (4) How was a thief to repent to his victim? (5) How was a thief to repent to God? (6-7) Were the Old Testament consequences for stealing the same as the consequences for stealing where you live? How are they alike or different? Are the OT consequences more punitive or more focused on restitution? Why do you think this was?

3. What attribute of God does Isaiah 61:8a tell us that stealing is an affront to? In what ways is stealing unjust? The Bible tells us that God is jealous for His name and reputation and that we are ambassadors for, and representatives of, Him. Are we representing God well if we steal? How does it mar God’s reputation in the eyes of others if a Christian steals?

4. Study the story of Zacchaeus in Luke 19. Tax collectors in Jesus’ time were despised for various reasons, one of which was that they would often lie to people about the actual amount owed, charge them much more, and pocket the difference, which certainly qualifies as thievery. What impact did the gospel have on Zacchaeus’ thievery? Was he repentant or unrepentant? Compare verse 8 with verse 5 of the Leviticus 6 passage. How does Zacchaeus’ amount of restitution compare with what was required of him by the law? How does Zacchaeus’ story demonstrate to us that truly being regenerated by Christ moves us from merely fulfilling the letter of the law to “going the extra mile” in obedience and servanthood?

5. What does 1 Corinthians 6:10 tell us is the penalty for unrepentant sinners such as thieves? What does verse 11 tell us about the forgiveness available for all repentant sinners? What do the words “washed,” “sanctified,” and “justified” mean in this verse? What is the difference between the people mentioned in verse 10 and those referred to in verse 11?

6. Examine the Ezekiel and Ephesians passages. In light of these verses, how would you restate the eighth Commandment as a positive (a “Thou shalt ____.” statement rather than “Thou shalt not ____.”)? What actions does God give as examples of the opposite of stealing in these two verses? What are some ways Christians can live out the opposite of stealing?


Stealing isn’t just absconding with a tangible item that belongs to someone else. Have you ever cheated on your taxes? Stolen someone’s spouse through adultery? Stolen someone’s virginity? Pirated music or movies? Fudged your hours at work? Failed to tip appropriately or pay a worker as promised? Taken credit for someone else’s work?

Ask God to reveal to you any way you may have stolen something from someone, then follow the principles in the Leviticus and Luke passages. Repent to God and, if possible, to the person you stole from. Is there any way you can make generous restitution?

If you haven’t stolen anything, go back to the Ezekiel and Ephesians passages and think of one concrete way you can live out the opposite of stealing this week.

The Ten (10 Commandments Bible Study)

The Ten: Lesson 9


Previous Lessons: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Exodus 20:14

“You shall not commit adultery.

Genesis 2:24-25

Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. 25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.

Matthew 19:4-6

He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”

Hebrews 13:4

Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.

Ezekiel 23:37

For they have committed adultery, and blood is on their hands. With their idols they have committed adultery, and they have even offered up to them for food the children whom they had borne to me.

Hosea 1:2

When the Lord first spoke through Hosea, the Lord said to Hosea, “Go, take to yourself a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom, for the land commits great whoredom by forsaking the Lord.”

James 4:4

You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

Matthew 5:27-30

You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.

1 Corinthians 6:9-11, 15-19

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! 16 Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, “The two will become one flesh.” 17 But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. 18 Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. 19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Questions to Consider:

1. What does the phrase “commit adultery” mean? What, specifically, does the seventh Commandment prohibit? Exodus 20:14 prohibits one certain sexual sin but doesn’t mention others. Does this mean other sexual sins such as fornication, bestiality, or homosexuality are allowable? Why or why not? What does this teach us about understanding an isolated Bible verse in light of the totality of Scripture?

2. Continuing to remember that the context of the Ten Commandments is God establishing Israel as a nation and setting her apart as His own special people, why would God give Israel the command not to commit adultery? Since God established Israel as a tribal society (things like land inheritance, leadership, and the pedigree of the Messiah were tied to tribe) how would adultery and resulting illegitimate children have impacted the structure of Israelite law, culture, and society? How would a culture of faithfulness to one’s spouse have differentiated Israel from the surrounding pagan nations? How would purity in marriage have been a reflection of God’s purity to the pagan nations?

3. How would you restate the “thou shalt not” of the seventh Commandment as a positive (“Thou shalt _______.)? What are some practical things we can do to guard ourselves and our marriages against adultery? What are some ways the church can help couples, and singles, prevent adultery?

4. Examine the Genesis, Matthew 19, and Hebrews passages. At what point in history did God first emphasize faithfulness in marriage? What did Jesus and the author of Hebrews have to say about keeping marriage pure?

5. What is adultery a metaphor for in the Old Testament according to the Ezekiel and Hosea verses? Who is represented by the husband? The adulterous wife? How is idolatry a form of spiritual adultery? Ephesians 5:22-33 shows us that marriage is a picture Christ’s (the bridegroom) relationship to the church (the bride). According to James 4:4, how might the church (or an individual Christian) commit adultery against Christ?

6. In the Matthew 5 passage, how does Jesus go beyond the mere prohibition of external behavior and zero in on the heart? Why does Jesus focus on the attitude of our heart above external behavior? What do verses 29-30 teach us about taking practical steps to remove things from our lives that tempt us to sin?

7. How is the “lustful intent” Jesus speaks of in Matthew 5:28 at the root of all of the sexual sins in 1 Corinthians 6:9? How is lust a form of coveting and sexual immorality a form of stealing? How is sexual immorality a sin against your own body, while other sins are outside of your body? (18) What is the good news of verse 11? Take a moment to pray and thank God for washing you clean from your sin. How are verses 19-20 a follow up to verse 11? Why, according to 19-20, should we flee sexual immorality (18) and live lives of purity?


Married or single, we all need to glorify God in our bodies and be on our guard against lust, the root of all sexual sin.

This week, pray and ask God to help you identify:

1. Any ways or situations in which you’re tempted to lust. Are there any “eyes” you need to gouge out or “hands” you need to cut off? For example- romance novels you need to get rid of? Men you need to avoid spending time with? Repent of past sin and thank God for His forgiveness.

2. Ways you can proactively glorify God in your body. Maybe you need to dress more modestly or speak more words of encouragement. How can you actively bring God glory by the way you use your body?

The Ten (10 Commandments Bible Study)

The Ten: Lesson 8


Previous Lessons: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

Exodus 20:13

“You shall not murder.

Genesis 9:5-6

And for your lifeblood I will require a reckoning: from every beast I will require it and from man. From his fellow man I will require a reckoning for the life of man.

“Whoever sheds the blood of man,
    by man shall his blood be shed,
for God made man in his own image.

Exodus 21:14

But if a man willfully attacks another to kill him by cunning, you shall take him from my altar, that he may die.

Matthew 5:21-22

“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.

1 John 3:11-16

For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.12 We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous. 13 Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. 15 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. 16 By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.

Romans 13:8-10

Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

Romans 5:6-8

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Questions to Consider:

1. While nearly all reliable English translations use the word “murder” in Exodus 20:13, the King James Version (also a reliable translation) uses the word “kill.” Think about the various meanings of the words “murder” and “kill”. Which word fits better with the context and the idea God is trying to get across to us here? Is God prohibiting the slaughtering of animals for food? Stepping on a bug? Capital punishment? Killing during war? What, precisely, does the sixth Commandment prohibit?

2. What do the Genesis and Exodus passages say was the punishment for murder? What does this tell you about whether or not the sixth Commandment prohibits capital punishment? What does the last line of Genesis 9:6 (“for…”) tell us is the reason God commands capital punishment for murder?

3. Returning again to the context of the Ten Commandments passage (God was setting Israel apart as His own special people and establishing them as a nation.), how would the command not to murder, and the penalty for doing so, have helped set the framework for law and order in Israelite society? How would it have honored God for the Israelites to obey this Commandment? How would Israel’s obedience to this Commandment (and punishing those who broke it) have pointed the surrounding pagan nations to the one true God?

4. What is the context of the Genesis passage? Did this event occur before or after God gave the Ten Commandments? Before God gave the Ten Commandments, did people know murder was wrong? How? How does this show us that God’s moral law transcends time, place, and culture?

5. The Exodus and Genesis passages address the external behavior of murder. Jesus takes it a step further in the Matthew passage. What does Jesus say about hatred and abuse as the root of murder? Where does the external sin of murder actually start? Is it OK with God for Christians to harbor hatred, resentment, or bitterness toward someone as long as we don’t actually harm her? Is there someone you know that you’re murdering in your heart?

6. Restate “Thou shalt not murder” as a positive statement (“Thou shalt ______.”) Examine the 1 John and Romans 13 passages. John often teaches by contrasting two opposite ideas. What is the opposite of murder according to his passage and the Romans 13 passage? What does 1 John 3:14-15 say about loving the brethren vs. hating/murdering the brethren as indicators of salvation? Can someone who has hated and murdered Christians ever be saved?

7. Examine 1 John 3:16 and Romans 5:6-8. How did Jesus exemplify love and self-sacrifice- the opposite of murder? What are some ways we can follow in His footsteps and not just refrain from the act of murder, or hating someone in our hearts, but proactively do the opposite of murder?

8. How do the commands to love and not to murder apply to the modern day issues of abortion and euthanasia?


Usually the reason we murder someone in our hearts (harbor hatred or bitterness) is because that person has hurt us in some way. 1 Peter 3:9 says:

Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.

Is there someone in your life who has reviled you or done evil to you? Ask God to forgive you for murdering her in your heart and to help you forgive her. Then, think of a way to bless her. Could you pray for her? Send her a card? Bake some cookies? It’s God’s job to mete out justice, it’s our job to forgive and bless.