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Comparison of Ten Commandments

Comparison of Ten Commandments

Different versions of the Ten Commandments exist, and it is found that three main differences are found, particularly the Jewish, Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Protestant (Coogan, 29). Historically, the commandments in each tradition are abbreviated in order to avoid confusion, and to aid with memorization, and this has led to an even bigger difference in what should be put in the commandments and what should be left out


            In the Jewish faith, the division of the commandments are not completely certain. Essentially, there are 13 sentences that are accepted in the Jewish version of the Ten Commandments, while there are 17 in the Christian Orthodox version. However, it is difficult to ascertain with complete certainty of the Ten Commandments. While there are 13 mitzvot’s (commandments) that are present in the text, it is through their allocation of those Ten Commandments that can be done in a multitude of ways (Finkelman, 22). This creates different traditions within the Jewish faith when it comes to the Ten Commandments.

The Jewish division of the Ten Commandments, such as the ancient philosophers, and also the Jewish Publication Society’s translation of the Bible, which is the Greek Church Fathers, and many of the Protestant Churches (besides the Lutherans), think of the Ten Commandments as being “I am the Lord Your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me” (versus 2 and 3). This means that God’s existence as well as God’s relation to Israel are the prohibition of worshipping any other gods.

            In the Jewish faith, there are dual structures that are in the Ten Commandments. The first four commandments deal with the human relationships to God. The sixth to tenth commandments relate to humanity’s relationship to humanity. The fifth commandment honors the parents, and forms the bridge between the two.

Greek Orthodox

            The Greek Orthodox believe the Ten Commandments, which are also known as the Decalogue, are made up by the ethical code through which the human race is guided. On one hand they think that to believe in the true God and they believe on the other hand to sustain a godly society in order to attain and apply God’s will on earth. The Ten Commandments has embodied them as a basic moral code that is the discipline towards God and to man. Moses is the central force in the Old Testament, and he is also known as a leader and statesman. He delivered the Ten Commandments to the people (Finkelman, 43). Greek Orthodox discusses Moses often as the central figure in the Ten Commandments, while the Roman Catholics believe St. Augustine is the central figure.

Roman Catholic

            The Roman Catholic’s Ten Commandments  should be understood in relation to the law of love. In particular, this would be the love of God and the love of the neighbor. This summarizes all the Catholic morality. The Catholic Ten Commandments are the minimum that love would require. In the Christian life, it requires there to be much more than simply following the Ten Commandments (Gedix and Hendrix, 12). The Catholic tradition holds that St. Augustine is the central figure in the Ten Commandments. It is St. Augustine who used the division of the Commandments.


            The Biblically accurate version of the Ten Commandments is the one that is used by the Protestants. This one is found on public monuments and inside courtrooms. The protestant version of the Ten Commandments were given by God to Moses (Smith, 24). The Protestants have two versions. The first is in Exodus, and the second is Deuteronomy, which adds the detail of Moses saying that God delivered two tables of stone that were written with God’s finger.


            While the four versions of the Ten Commandments have many similarities, they also have their differences. In all faiths, they believe in the use of the Ten Commandments as moral guidelines. The greatest obligations in all is to worship God. Murder in all four does the greatest injury to a person. The greatest damage to a family is adultery. The commandments are written by the finger of God in all beliefs, but they all have unique styles.

Works Cited

Coogan, Michael. The Ten Commandments: A Short History of an Ancient Text, Yale

University Press (Ignition), 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central,

Finkelman, Paul. The Ten Commandments on the Courthouse Lawn and Elsewhere.

Fordham Law Review. 2005. Retrieved on November 22 from

Gedicks, Frederick Mark, and Hendrix, Roger. (2007). Uncivil Religion; Judeo-

Christianity and the Ten Commandments. West Verginia Law Review. Retrieved on November 19 from

Smith, Lesley. The Ten Commandments: Interpreting the Bible in the Medieval World.

Brill, 2014. EBSCOhost,  live&scope=site

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Hanna has won numerous writing awards. She specializes in academic writing, copywriting, business plans and resumes. After graduating from the Comosun College's journalism program, she went on to work at community newspapers throughout Atlantic Canada, before embarking on her freelancing journey.

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