The Ten Commandments:
The Ten Commandments, or the Tablets of the Law, are the commands God gave to the people of Israel through Moses after leading them out of Egypt. Recorded in Exodus 20:1-17 and Deuteronomy 5:6-21, in essence, the Ten Commandments are a summary of the hundreds of laws found in the Old Testament. These commands are considered the basis for moral, spiritual, and ethical conduct by Jews and Christians alike.
In the original language, the Ten Commandments are called the "Decalogue" or "Ten Words." These ten words were spoken by God, the lawgiver, and were not the result of human lawmaking. They were written on two tablets of stone. Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible explains:
"This does not mean that five commandments were written on each tablet; rather, all 10 were written on each tablet, the first tablet belonging to God the lawgiver, the second tablet belonging to Israel the recipient."
Today's society embraces cultural relativism, which is an idea that rejects absolute truth. For Christians and Jews, God gave us the absolute truth in the inspired Word of God. Through the Ten Commandments, God offered basic rules of behaviour for living upright and spiritual lives. These commands outline the absolutes of morality that God intended for his people.
The commandments apply to two areas: the first fore pertain to our relationship with God, the last six deal with our relationships with other people.
Translations of the Ten Commandments can vary widely, with some forms sounding antiquated and stilted to modern ears. Here is a modern paraphrase of the Ten Commandments, including brief explanations.