The Ten Commandments

The following are the Ten Commandments as found in Luther's Small Catechism, including Luther's comments for each commandment.

The First Commandment
You shall have no other gods.

What does this mean?
We should fear, love and trust in God above all things.


The Second Commandment
You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God.

What does this mean?
We should fear and love God so that we do not curse, swear, use satanic arts, lie, or deceive by His name, but call upon it in every trouble, pray, praise, and give thanks.


The Third Commandment
Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.

What does this mean?
We should fear and love God so that we do not despise preaching and His Word, but hold it sacred and gladly hear and learn it.


The Fourth Commandment
Honor your father and your mother.

What does this mean?
We should fear and love God so that we do not despise or anger our parents and other authorities, but honor them, serve and obey them, love and cherish them.



The Fifth Commandment
You shall not murder.

What does this mean?
We should fear and love God so that we do not hurt or harm our neighbor in his body, but help and support him in every physical need.


The Sixth Commandment
You shall not commit adultery.

What does this mean?
We should fear and love God so that we lead a sexually pure and decent life in what we say and do, and husband and wife love and honor each other.


The Seventh Commandment
You shall not steal.

What does this mean?
We should fear and love God so that we do not take our neighbor's money or possessions, or get them in any dishonest way, but help him to improve and protect his possessions and income.


The Eighth Commandment
You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

What does this mean?
We should fear and love God so that we do not tell lies about our neighbor, betray him, slander him, or hurt his reputation, but defend him, speak well of him, and explain everything in the kindest possible way.


The Ninth Commandment
You shall not covet your neighbor's house.

What does this mean?
We should fear and love God so that we do not scheme to get our neighbor's inheritance or house, or get it in a way which only appears right, but help and be of service to him in keeping it.

The Tenth Commandment
You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his manservant, or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.

What does this mean?
We should fear and love God so that we do not entice or force away our neighbor's wife, workers, or animals, or turn them against him, but urge them to stay and do their duty.


The Close of the Commandments

What does God say about all of these commandments?
He says, "I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate Me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love Me and keep My commandments" (Exodus 20:5-6).

What does this mean?
God threatens to punish all who break these commandments. Therefore, we should fear His wrath and not do anything against them. But He promises grace and every blessing to all who keep these commandments.Therefore, we should also love and trust in Him and gladly do what He commands.

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