Decalogue Study by Douglas Jacoby

The lessons on the 10 Commandments are also cumulative. To learn the most, try to listen to them in order. The Decalogue podcasts are shorter than the Psalms lessons, so occasionally you might want to combine days.

Introduction and definitions

  • Decalogue: The ten words
  • Torah: Law or Instruction (from the Hebrew yarah, meaning to guide). This may refer to the first five books of the Bible, or the law(s) found in them.
  • Pentateuch: The five rolls. The term refers to the first five books of the O.T., Genesis-Deuteronomy.
  • Two greatest commandments: Love God with all your heart (Deuteronomy 6:5) and Love your neighbor as yourself (Leviticus 19:18). Neither is in the 10 commandments, and yet it has been noted that the first four commandments pertain to love for God, the last six to love for neighbor.
  • The two tablets (Exodus 31:18, 32:15) are two identical copies of the commandments. This is known from covenant customs in this part of the world (2nd millennium BC)
  • The 10 commandments were delivered the first time at Sinai (Horeb) near the beginning of the desert wanderings. It comes out in a new version near the end of this period (see Deuteronomy 5). Moreover, another “ten commandments” may be found in Exodus 34.


  • First commandment
  • Exodus 20:1-3: And God spoke all these words: “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me.”


  • LORD = YHWH (Yahweh). YHWH is the Tetragrammaton (Greek for four-letter [thing]). For more on this, refer to the podcast on The Name of God. YHWH appears about 6800 times in the O.T.
  • Lord = Adonai
  • Our Christian lives are rooted in who God is.
  • We obey God not in order to be saved, but because we have already been redeemed.
  • Obedience is not slavery (although it is a kind of yoke — Matthew 11:28-30; see 1 John 5:3 and Deuteronomy 30:11-20); slavery is being in the world (and of it).

Thought questions

  • Through listening to this lesson, is there anything I learned that was completely new?
  • Do I obey out of fear or duty, or out of appreciation for my salvation?
  • Is there anything more important to me than God?
  • Do others know this to be true of me (family, friends, neighbors…)?


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