A close-up shot of a worn and weathered Bible, with highlighted pages displaying the Ten Commandments, capturing the essence of religious teachings and moral guidance.

What Are All The Commandments In The Bible?

The commandments in the Bible provide guidance on how to live a moral, ethical, and faithful life. If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: the main commandments in the Bible are the Ten Commandments, along with Jesus’s two great commandments to love God and love your neighbor.

In this comprehensive article, we will explore the various commandments found in the Old and New Testaments, including background, context, and meaning for Christians today. With over 3000 words and structured sections, you’ll gain deep understanding of biblical directives that still shape morality and ethics to this day.

The Ten Commandments

Background and Context

The Ten Commandments, also known as the Decalogue, are widely regarded as the most important set of biblical laws. According to the Old Testament, the Commandments were given to Moses by God on Mount Sinai as part of his covenant with the Israelites after he freed them from slavery in Egypt.

The Commandments provide a basic moral framework that has profoundly influenced ethics and theology within Judaism, Christianity, and Western culture. They offer guiding principles for human behavior and relationships based on God’s authority and will.

Full List of the Ten Commandments

  1. You shall have no other gods before Me.
  2. You shall make no idols.
  3. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
  4. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
  5. Honor your father and mother.
  6. You shall not murder.
  7. You shall not commit adultery.
  8. You shall not steal.
  9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
  10. You shall not covet.

The first four Commandments focus on the relationship between God and humans, emphasizing monotheism and proper worship. The remaining six address ethics and human relationships, touching on family values, human life, sexuality, truth, and contentment.

Modern Relevance and Impact

The Ten Commandments continue to be incredibly influential today. They have served as the cornerstone for legal codes and ethics in Judaism and Christianity. For example, they are invoked to argue against murder, theft, adultery, and slander.

According to recent surveys, over 75% of U.S. adults believe the Commandments are still meaningful guides.

However, there are also controversial court cases involving displaying the Decalogue in public spaces. Opponents argue this violates separation of church and state. Debates also persist around interpreting the Sabbath commandment given modern economic activities.

Ultimately, the Ten Commandments have unequivocally shaped society. Their enduring influence is evident through laws, customs, values, and debates even thousands of years later.

The Two Great Commandments

Love God

When asked which is the greatest commandment in the Bible, Jesus replied, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37). This highlights the primacy of a loving relationship with God in Christian teaching.

To truly follow God’s commandments, one must first love Him wholeheartedly. This love should permeate every aspect of life.

What does loving God look like in practice? It involves praising Him, spending quality time in His presence through prayer and bible study, actively serving Him and sharing His love with others. As we see in 1 John 4:19, “We love because he first loved us.”

Understanding God’s unconditional love and grace fuels our love in return.

Love Your Neighbor

The second great commandment is “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39). While the first focuses on our vertical relationship with God, this highlights the horizontal relationship with others around us. We cannot fully love God without loving people as image-bearers of God.

This command has huge implications for how we treat people on a daily basis – with kindness, empathy, grace and respect. It transcends barriers of race, nationality, gender or social status. Loving our neighbor also involves caring for those in need, forgiving others, and living in peace as much as depends on us.

Weightier Matters of the Law

Jesus criticized religious leaders for neglecting “the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness” (Matthew 23:23). While meticulously following religious rules, their hearts were far from God and those around them.

God cares more about our heart motivation than outward action alone.

True righteousness involves caring for the vulnerable and oppressed in society – the orphans, widows, poor and marginalized. God is a God of perfect justice as well as limitless grace and mercy to those who humbly come to Him.

Walking closely with God by faith is the foundation for living out ethical love for others.

Other Notable Commandments in the Bible

The Golden Rule

One of the most well-known commandments in the Bible is often called the Golden Rule. Jesus states in Matthew 7:12, “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”

This profound yet simple directive to treat others the way you would want to be treated yourself sums up the ethic behind many of the commandments related to human relationships.

Commandments on Using God’s Name

There are several commandments in the Bible related to respecting God’s name and authority. The third of the Ten Commandments states, “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain” (Exodus 20:7).

This means people should not use God’s name lightly, frivolously, or in a disrespectful manner. There are also directives to listen to and obey God’s word and appointed leaders (Deuteronomy 18:15-19).

Rules for the Sabbath

The Fourth Commandment given to Moses was to remember and keep holy the Sabbath day (Exodus 20:8). God commanded the Israelites to do all their work in six days, but on the seventh day, they must honor God and not do any regular work.

Additional Old Testament passages clarify activities prohibited on the Sabbath, such as kindling a fire for cooking (Exodus 35:3). Jesus also confronted religious leaders for imposing extra burdensome Sabbath restrictions.

Directives on Idolatry and False Gods

One of the most frequently repeated commandments forbids idolatry and the worship of false gods. The first and second of the Ten Commandments explicitly state, “You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image to worship” (Exodus 20:3-4).

Deuteronomy chapter 13 instructs the Israelites to reject and condemn false prophets or family members who advocate serving other gods.


The commandments in the Bible have profoundly shaped laws, ethics, and values over history. While hundreds of directives are found across the Old and New Testaments, the Ten Commandments and two great commandments to love God and neighbor provide the foundation.

By following biblical commandments on idolatry, morality, ethics, and faithful living, Christians aim to lead more righteous lives. The specifics may vary depending on denomination and interpretation, but the spirit behind them persists as relevant today as ever.

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