Counting the Ten Commandments

Were you aware that different groups enumerate the ten commandments differently?

Knowing about alternative interpretations helps me ask questions of my own interpretations that I haven’t yet thought of.

The major crux interpretum I’m aware of in this passage regards the enumeration of what Protestants (except Lutherans) call the first two commandments. If “you shall have no other gods before me” and “you shall not make for yourself a graven image” are one commandment, then it is acceptable to make images of God—just not of false gods.

Interestingly, many Protestants who view these as separate commandments still explain them as meaning the same thing: “don’t have any other gods.” But if they are two commandments, then they must mean “don’t have any other gods” and “don’t worship the true God using images.”

Click on the image below for a helpful chart displaying the basic enumerations of the “10 words” from Logos’ new Bible Study Magazine.

Counting the Ten Commandments -- at BibleStudyMagazine.com

Note: I would object only to naming the first column in the chart “Hebrew Bible,” as if that interpretation is encoded somehow into the Hebrew text. I believe it should instead read, “Jewish tradition.” I checked BHS, and I think I’m right!