It is interesting to understand that when God first took the people of Israel out of Egypt, He was separating a people to Himself by making a covenant with them through the giving of the Torah, the first five books of the Bible. One of the most significant parts of this process is the fact that God gave Moses the Ten Commandments (Ten Words). So He declared to you His covenant which He commanded you to perform, that is, the Ten Commandments; and He wrote them on two tablets of stone (Deuteronomy 4:13).
The Ten Commandments can be summarized like this:
1. I am your only God – Exodus 20:2-3
2. Do not make or worship idols – Exodus 20:4-6
3. Do not use the name of God in vain, honor this relationship – Exodus 20:7
4. Keep the Sabbath, trust in Him – Exodus 20:8-11
5. Honor your father and mother – Exodus 20:12
6. Do not murder,
7. Do not commit adultery,
8. Do not steal,
9. Do not bear false witness,
10. Do not covet what is not yours – Exodus 20:13-17
Later, the rabbis organized a list of 613 commandments from the scriptures that detail the application of the original ones.
What is important to notice, is that the first four relate to our relationship with God, and the other six relate to our relationships with our neighbors, family, and all the people in our lives. The commandments are not limited to a list of Do’s and Don’ts, but a list of things that affect our relationships and the expression of our love, for God and for those in our lives.
When Jesus Christ came, and during the Second Temple period, many were looking for a revival by following the commandments as a Law, but forgetting that the Ten Commandments were actually based on our love relationship with God and our neighbors. Many of the arguments between Jesus and the religious leaders of His time were related to the attempt to follow the law without the heart of love and compassion for the people involved.
At one point, a Pharisee asked Jesus what the most important commandment was. And He said to him, “ ‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ “This is the great and foremost commandment. “The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ “On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 22:37–40). In other words, He was saying, if you love God and love your neighbors, you are fulfilling all the commandments from the Scriptures. To love is the fulfillment of all the commandments. Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God (1 John 4:7).