What is the…

This is the name given by the Greek Church fathers to the ten commandments; “the 10 words,” as the original is more literally rendered (Exodus 20:3-17).

These commandments were at first written on 2 stone slabs (31:18), which were broken by Moses, who threw them down on the ground (32:19). They were written by God a 2nd time (34:1). God did not number these commandments.

Number of commandments

These commandments have been divided since the days of Origen, the Greek Church father, as they stand in the Confession of all the Reformed Churches, except the Lutheran.

The division adopted by Martin Luther, and which has ever since been received in the Lutheran Church, makes the first 2 commandments 1, and the 3rd the 2nd, and so on to the last, which is divided into 2. “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house” being ranked as 9th, and “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife,” etc., the 10th.

New Testament allusions

The decalogue is alluded to in the New Testament 5 times (Matt. 5:17-19; Mark 10:19; Luke 18:20; Rom. 7:7-8; 13:9; 1 Tim. 1:9-10).