rock solid: reflecting on the Ten Commandments

This coming Sunday morning at MoSt Church, most of our English-speaking adult Bible classes (9:00 a.m.) will conclude their study of the Rock Solid: The Ten Commandments with something of a summary of their study of the Ten Commandments. Make good use of the following questions to assist you in your preparation for class.

1. List the Ten Commandments in order. Which ones are easiest for you to remember and which ones are the most difficult?

2. There are over six hundred commands in the OT Law so why do you suppose there are “Ten” Commandments? Why not nine or a dozen? What might be the significance of there being “ten?”

3. The exodus, God’s deliverance of Israel from their bondage in Egypt, preceded God’s giving of the Law to Israel at Mount Sinai (Ex. 20:2; Deut. 5:6). Exodus preceded Sinai; grace always comes before law. Why is law without grace unable to produce people of real character?

4. The first four commandments deal directly with our relationship with God and the last six commandments pertain particularly to our relationship with other people. There are a few statements of explanation or justification, as well as motivation, in the giving of the first four commandments, but with the exception of the case of the fifth commandment, there are no such statements connected with the last six commandments. Why do you suppose this is the case and what difference does it make?

5. All of the Ten Commandments are woven together and are critical to a healthy life together as people of God. Imagine a community where one of the commandments is missing completely (e.g. – all of the commandments are kept except the principle of Sabbath). How might that gap in ethics come to affect the other values in place?

6. By means of the Ten Commandments, God deliberately planted his values in his people, Israel. What is wrong with allowing people to “discover their own values?”

7. Augustine once wrote: “We do not walk to God with the feet of the body, nor would wings, if we had them, carry us there. But we go to God by the affections of our soul.” How would you say the practice of the Ten Commandments shapes the affections of our soul for God? That is to say, how is it that a person who practices the Ten Commandments is opening themselves up to a better understanding and deeper relationship with God?

8. While the Ten Commandments are obeyed by individuals, they were given to a community, Israel. How is living in community with others who share these same values critical to the development and reinforcement of the Ten Commandments? In other words, why do we need each other in order to live out the Ten Commandments?

9. What are some ways you might be able to work God’s ten teachings in the Ten Commandments into your everyday conversations with your friends?

10. What is the best thing you have personally gleaned from this study of the Ten Commandments?

this went thru my mind

Action: That’s what should arise from our adoption of Christ’s values. But how far do we go with that? Peter Rollins’ post I Believe in Child Labour, Sweatshops and Torture will make you think … and perhaps even act.

Apocrypha: You’ve known for years that some Christian groups “have extra books in their Bible.” You’ve wondered about that, but have never bothered to read about such to know what’s up with that. Bobby Valentine’s post entitled The Apocrypha: Reading Between the Testaments is your chance to learn.

Archaeology: Imagine excavating an ancient building and discovering that it was a museum. A place very old housing things even older. If that sounds interesting to you, then you’d enjoy Alasdair’s Wilkins’ post entitled The Story Behind the World’s Oldest Museum, Built by a Babylonian Princess 2,500 years Ago.

Bible: * First, did you notice the Snapshot in the Tuesday, May 24 print edition of USA Today? The question posed by a LifeWay Research survey to 1,004 adult Americans back in March of this year was quite simple: “How often do you read the Bible?” The results? “At least once a month” – 53%. “Rarely” – 22%. “Never” – 24%. “Don’t know” – 1%. Now, when 47% of Americans at best “rarely” read their Bible, I have to wonder: (a) why does anyone at all think the United States is “a Christian nation” and (b) if the results would have been vastly different if the same question had been posed only to “church going” folks? Or do I really want to know? * Second: N.T. Wright on Bible translation. Need I say more? Good stuff. Need a sample? “When people ask me which version of the Bible they should use, I have for many years told them that I don’t much mind as long as they always have at least two open on the desk. … The finest translations are still, basically, a matter of trying to play a Beethoven symphony on a mouth-organ.” Read Lost and Found in Translation: From 1611 to 2011.

Civil religion: It’s Memorial Day weekend and the 4th of July will be here before we know it. All of which puts to the fore the subject of civil religion. A number of fine, thoughtful posts on the subject appeared this week and Avoiding Civil Religion (Four Conversations) has links to several of them. Definitely required reading, especially the series by Dan Martin.

Disasters: * Storms and tornadoes of late have ravished a number of states recently, Alabama, Missouri, Oklahoma, and more. It affects us all, even in ways we may not recognize. And that’s what Kurt Willems’ fine post The Natural Disaster of Empathy Overload is about. * How do you talk with your children about such tragedies? Dale Hudson’s series entitled Talking to Children About Disaster should be a part of your reading. Here are links to part one and part two of that series.

Gospel: Tim Woodroof is starting a series entitled Packing the Gospel and I eagerly anticipate reading what he has to say.

Hell: No matter your take on things, I dare say you will never see the Bible’s teaching on hell as you did before once you read Edward Fudge‘s book The Fire That Consumes. The third edition of this marvelous, deep study has just been released. If you’re interested, ask me about how you can purchase an inscribed copy.

Judging: I preached on such just this past Sunday morning and Trey Morgan’s post entitled Guilty of Being Too Merciful serves as a good adjunct to that sermon. More than once I’ve had the very same experience as described in this article. Well said, brother.

Marriage: Married Couples Are No Longer a Majority says the headlines. The thinking of many Millenials is only a part, but still a part, of the reason why.

Reading: Read this list of the top twenty most well-read cities in the United States and notice where they fall on the map. Not much in the South and not at all in Texas. Hmmm. And here’s some good advice for people like me: Advice for Slow Readers.

Social networking: This CNN report entitled 10 fascinating Facebook facts and what they say about us and Toni Birdsong’s post entitled 10 Things We Wish Pastors Would “Get” About Social Media should be read together.

World religions: The subject of other religions will be our focus one night in our upcoming Wednesday night Summer Series at MoSt Church (The Reason for God). If you’d like to get a jump on that subject, you’d do well to note Ed Stetzer’s interview of Irving Hexham on Understanding World Religions.