“Though shalt not kill.” (Exodus 20:13 ASV)
“You shall not murder.” (Deuteronomy 5:17 TNIV)
At MoSt Church this coming Easter Sunday morning, Apr. 24, most of our adult Bible classes will study the sixth of the Ten Commandments (“you shall not murder”). Following are sixteen questions to help you think about this commandment as you prepare to engage in class discussion this coming Sunday.
1. How do you define your worth? How do you define the worth of others?
2. Since we are all made in God’s image, what are the implications of such thinking for how we treat others, all others?
3. “The Hebrew word ‘to kill’ does mean ‘murder’ in certain contexts (cf. 1 Kings 21:19), but it can also refer to unintentional killing (Deut. 4:41-42), as well as to execution of a duly convicted killer (Num. 35:30). … Murder is too limited a term to encapsulate the concern of this commandment.” (Stanley Hauerwas & William Willimon, The Truth About God: The Ten Commandments in Christian Life, p.80) How does this knowledge affect your understanding of the application of the sixth commandment?
4. How do you square this commandment not to kill/murder with other portions of the Law regarding the exercise of capital punishment, making war, etc? Are these thoughts contradictory or what?
5. Someone once quipped: “I love humanity; its just people I can’t stand.” Give some examples of how we live so.
6. Would you say your sensitivity and emotional reaction to hearing the news of a murder today is: (a) less sensitive, (b) more sensitive, or (c) about the same as it was twenty years ago? Explain.
7. What sort of things cloud our vision and so, obscure our seeing the life of every person as something sacred?
8. Brainstorm some examples of things we commonly encounter or experience that demonstrates basic disrespect for the sanctity of human life.
9. How does Jesus extend, and intensify the scope of this commandment in Matthew 5:21-26?
10. Paul the apostle once write: “The commandments, You shouldn’t commit adultery, you shouldn’t murder, you shouldn’t steal, you shouldn’t desire what others have, and any other commandments, are all summed up in one word: You should love your neighbor as yourself.” (Rom. 13:9) The apostle John said: “Everyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him” (1 John 3:15). How do these statements expand your understanding of what is being conveyed in the sixth commandment?
11. How does the sixth commandment fit with the text of last Sunday morning’s sermon (Matthew 5:38-48; particularly vs.39,44) and Jesus’ call for us to be a completely non-violent people, a people incapable of retaliation?
12. How does this commandment inform and affect your understanding of Christ’s crucifixion and the events leading up to it?
13. In light of the sixth commandment and Jesus’ commentary on it, is it God’s will for his people to be pacifists?
14. How do we apply the spirit and teaching of the sixth commandment to the following: Abortion? Capital punishment? Poverty? Personal self-defense? War?
15. As someone seeking to do God’s will at all times and in all situations, and given your understanding of his will expressed through Moses in the sixth commandment and Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount, what could/should/would you do if a violent person attempted to harm a loved one?
16. If you were to start strictly applying the spirit and teaching of the sixth commandment to how you treat yourself, not just others, what sort of habits and ways in your life would need to change?