Explanation of the Ten Commandments for Children

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The Ten Commandments were the instructions that God told Moses for him to share with the people. These were the rules that God wanted everyone to live by. The Ten Commandments can be found in the Bible in Chapter 20 of Exodus. These commandments may be hard for children to understand, but there is a more simple way to read them. People who practice Jewish, Augustine-Luther and Orthodox-Reformed Christianity number the commandments differently. For example, "You shall not kill" is generally the sixth commandment for Protestants, but for those of Augustine-Luther it is number five.

1 The First Commandment

The first commandment says "I am the LORD your God, which have brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before me." This means that God should be put before all others.

2 The 2nd Commandment

The second commandment says "You shall not make unto you any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: You shall not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments." This means that no one, other than God himself, should be worshiped.

3 The Third Commandment

The third commandment says "You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain." This means that God's name should only be used with respect.

4 The Fourth Commandment

The fourth commandment says "Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shall you labor, and do all your work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD your God: in it you shall not do any work, you, nor your son, nor your daughter, your manservant, nor your maidservant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger that is within your gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it." This means that the day of God--Sunday, the Sabbath day--should always be remembered and observed.

5 The Fifth Commandment

The fifth commandment says "Honor your father and your mother: that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God giveth you." This is God telling his people that they should always respect their parents.

6 The Sixth Commandment

The sixth commandment says "You shall not kill." Interpretations of this one cover a range. Some people believe it prohibits the killing of any creature; some say it forbids only murder.

7 The Seventh Commandment

The seventh commandment says "You shall not commit adultery." This means that people should be faithful in marriage. Cheating is against the will of the Lord.

8 The Eighth Commandment

The eighth commandment says "You shall not steal." This is another easy one. Do not steal; stealing is wrong.

9 The Ninth Commandment

The ninth commandment says "you shall not bear false witness against your neighbor." This means that people should not lie.

10 The Tenth Commandment

The tenth commandment says "You shall not covet your neighbor's house, you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is your neighbor's." The commandment is saying that people should not be envious of other people.