The name given by the Greek fathers to the ten commandments; "the ten words," as the original is more literally rendered.1 These commandments were at first written on two stone slabs,2 which were broken by Moses throwing them down on the ground.3 They were written by God a second time.4 The Decalogue is alluded to in the New Testament five times.5

These commandments have been divided since the days of Origen the Greek father, as they stand in the Confession of all the Reformed Churches except the Lutheran. The division adopted by Luther, and which has ever since been received in the Lutheran Church, makes the first two commandments one, and the third the second, and so on to the last, which is divided into two. "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house" being ranked as ninth, and "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife," etc., the tenth.



  1. Ex. 20:3-17.
  2. 31:18.
  3. 32:19.
  4. 34:1.
  5. Matt. 5:17, 18, 19; Mark 10:19; Luke 18:20; Rom. 7:7, 8; 13:9; 1 Tim. 1:9, 10.


  • Easton, M.G. (1897). Easton's Bible Dictionary. New York: Harper & Brothers.

This article incorporates text from Easton’s Bible Dictionary (1897) by M.G. Easton, which is in the public domain.