Q's on the 10 Commandments

Dear friends in Christ,

Two questions on the Commandments:

[1] Are the 10 Commandments the list of 10 possible sins?

[2]Why are the 10 Commandments of Catholicism different than the Protestant list?

God Bless you,

As to why the numberings are different, this article should help.

One thing I like about the Augustinian numbering is the resulting symmetry that does not exist in other numberings. Specifically: not committing adultery and not stealing are numbered separately by all. But only the Augustinian numbering separately prohibits in thought (#9, #10) what earlier commandments (#6, #7) prohibit in deed.

Also, according to ancient tradition, numbers have significance (for example, three is the number of perfect completion for the Jews, and for Christians the number three symbolized the perfection of the Godhead—the Most Holy Trinity. Similarly, seven signifies spiritual perfection and fullness or completion – God rested on the seventh day, seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, etc.) In the Augustinian numbering, there are three commandments which cover our relationship with Him, and seven commandments which cover our relationships with our fellow humans. In the other numberings these are four and six, respectively (which strikes me as odd).

The 10 commandments are just short versions of the entire law which there are 630 and some odd number. There are two different list of the Ten Commandments in the Torah we use one the Protestants use the other

That is a good resource. The article also mentions another difference: separating the commands not to covet your neighbor’s property and wife.

613, to be precise. And not really. The Decalogue is the most basic set of commandments that everyone follows. Mosiac Law, on the other hand, is the 613 commandments you’re talking about (which in turn contains the Decalogue).

And no, it’s not as simple as Catholics (and Lutherans) follow one set, and (non-Lutheran) Protestants follow the other. Catholics number ours according to Deuteronomy, whereas Lutherans follow Exodus. We have the same 10, though. It’s just that we number 9 and 10 in different orders. The difference between Catholics and (most) Protestants is how we group the 14 imperative statements in the Decalogue. As the linked article describes, there are 14 statements in the passages, but we are told they are grouped into 10 commandments. With no indication of how. And THAT’S where the differences occur.

The two main differences are:

  1. Are “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife” and “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house” one or two commandments? Catholics and Lutherans say two. Orthodox, Protestants, and Jews say one.
  2. Are “Thou shalt have no gods before me” and “Thou shalt not commit idolatry” one or two commandments? Catholics, Lutherans and Jews say one. Orthodox and Protestants say two.

(If you notice, Judaism says one to both questions. They separate “I am the Lord your God who brought you out of Israel” into it’s own commandment)

:frowning: If humans obey just half of those commandments then this world would be a paradise…

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