The Ten Commandments:  Scripture vs. Catholicism

by Ron Halbrook | Kentucky, USA

In the Bible the 10 Commandments are recorded in Exodus 20:1-17 as follows:

I. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
II. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image.
III. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.
IV. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
V. Honor thy father and thy mother.
VI. Thou shalt not kill.
VII. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
VIII. Thou shalt not steal.
IX. Thou shalt not bear false witness.
X. Thou shalt not covet.

All 10 Commandments are recorded in the Catholic Bible, but following are the 10 Commandments as listed in The Catholic Concise Encyclopedia, compiled and edited by Robert C. Broderick, M.A. (St. Paul, MN: Catechetical Guild Educational Society) (Nihil obstat: John A. Goodwine, J.C.D., Censor Librorum) (Imprimatur: Francis Cardinal Spellman, Archbishop of New York), on page 100:

I. I am the Lord, your God, you shall not have false gods before Me.
II. You shall not take the Lord’s name in vain.
III. You shall keep holy the Sabbath day.
IV. Honor your parents.
V. Do not murder.
VI. Do not commit adultery.
VII. Do not steal.
VIII. Do not lie.
IX. Do not have adulterous desires.
X. Do not covet your neighbor’s goods.

Notice that the Catholic list entirely omits the second commandment forbidding images. In order to get 10, they must break the last one into two parts. That is also how they are listed on plaques posted in Catholic Churches and in Catholic textbooks and study materials.

Here is the full text of the 10th commandment in the Bible:

“Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbor’s.”

When this commandment forbad coveting, it gave examples of things a man might covet. This does not constitute two separate commandments.

We live under “the law of Christ” and not the law of Moses today (Gal. 6:2; 3:24-28).  The old covenant including the Sabbath law has vanished away, having been nailed to the cross (Heb. 8:13; Col. 2:14-17).  The other nine commandments including the prohibition against idols and images are included in the new covenant by the authority of Christ (Matt. 28:18-20; Rom. 13:8-10; 1 Jn. 5:21).

God preserved Old Testament history including the 10 Commandments to show how He created and preserved the nation of Israel from which our Savior would be born.  That nation and its covenant have fulfilled their purpose and passed away, but when we reference this history we should do so accurately.  The Catholic Church does not wish to post passages from Scripture condemning idols because it teaches people to bow, genuflect, and pray to all sorts of images, especially images of Mary.  Catholic chapels, churches, cathedrals, and basilicas are filled with these images and many Catholics put them in their homes, yards, and vehicles.  Both the Old and the New Testaments strictly forbid such idols. 

Revelation 22:18-19 warns we must not add anything to God’s Word nor take away anything from God’s Word.

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