The 10 Commandments Explained - Silvia Vecchini - ebook

The 10 Commandments Explained ebook

Vecchini Silvia



Bring children ages 8–12 into a deeper understanding of the Ten Commandments. This guide explores each of the commandments and shows children the purpose of the commandments. Each chapter explores a commandment’s deeper meanings. Prayers, reflections, a notebook section and quotes from various saints and theologians give more depth to the commandments.The 10 Commandments Explained examines the commandments and gives children a more thorough understanding of what they entail, which offers them a deeper understanding of their faith and God.

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The 10 Commandments Explained

By Silvia VecchiniIllustrated by Antonio Vincenti


1st Commandment

I am the Lord your God; you shall not have other gods besides me.

2nd Commandment

You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.

3rd Commandment

Remember to keep holy the Lord’s day.

4th Commandment

Honor your father and your mother.

5th Commandment

You shall not kill.

6th Commandment

You shall not commit adultery.

7th Commandment

You shall not steal.

8th Commandment

You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

9th Commandment

You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife.

10th Commandment

You shall not covet your neighbor’s goods.

A New Commandment

The Ten Commandments

The Ten Commandments... in positive terms!

1st CommandmentI am the Lord your God; you shall not have other gods besides me.

Who is God? God is the one who makes himself found when I search for him. When I call him, God answers. He remains near to me at all times. My steps are directed toward you, O Lord. Teach me how to be truly free. Take your rightful place, God, at the center of my life.

The first place

God knows that we can be happy only if we are free. That is why he chose to create us as free persons with the ability to make our own choices. Unfortunately, we often forget that freedom is God’s precious gift to us, one that we must guard and protect. Our freedom is fragile, just as we are fragile. At times, we put our liberty in danger by looking for happiness in things that don’t last.

The Bible describes God as a “jealous” and “passionate” God. That is, God’s “heart” beats with love for us, and he wants our hearts to beat for him.

God gives us the first commandment because he loves us and wants us to be free. The first commandment reminds us that a heart that puts God in first place is a heart that is truly free. When we recognize the importance of something, we can give it the proper significance. Then we will know how to make wise choices.


Before even giving Moses the Tablets of the Law, the Ten Commandments, God presents himself to the Hebrew people and says, “I am the Lord, your God, who has brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery” (Ex 20:2).

The God who speaks in the Ten Commandments has listened to the cries of his people enslaved in Egypt. He has seen their suffering and has sent Moses in order to set them free.

God does not give us a law we cannot understand, nor does he demand what is unfair. God wants us to livefreely. He says to us, “Listen! I have come to liberate you; I will show you how to no longer be slaves!” Before pronouncing the Ten Commandments, God wants us to remember that he is a God who frees us to do what is good, saves us from sin and death, and loves us. Those who have confidence in this truth can begin to walk the way of the Commandments.

You will NOT have other gods.... What does that mean?

The first commandment forbids superstition, magic, witchcraft, Satanism, and other things that could take the place of God in our hearts.

But what are idols? The word “idol” comes from the Greek language and means “image,” “figure,” or “representation.” An idol is not what it appears to be; it is a deception!

It is important for each one of us to reflect on any “idols” in our lives and on their influence over us. Money, power, our appearance, having certain kinds of clothes or material goods, winning at all costs in sports, not missing a single episode of a certain TV program, playing video games every day—so many things can take God’s place in our heart. Sometimes we even start to believe that it would be impossible to live without theses things.

Jesus and the 1st Commandment

One day a scribe questioned Jesus about this commandment. He asked, “What is the first of all the commandments?” Jesus responded, “The first is: Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one Lord; you will love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength” (Mk 12:28–30).

Another time, Jesus wanted to help us understand how important it is to reserve the first place in our lives for God, especially when it comes to money. Jesus first told a story as an example and then said, “No one can serve two masters, because he will hate the one and love the other, or love the one and hate the other. You cannot serve God and riches” (Lk 16:13).

The prophets taught the Israelites to be careful not to have “divided” hearts. At times, we too divide our hearts between God and something else. We may pretend that we have given our whole hearts to God, when we really have only given him part!

When we place God at the center of our whole heart, we give our lives deep roots. In that way, we are able to grow like strong trees do, and resist the storms that come our way.

If we entrust our happiness to any idol, we become “slaves” without even realizing it. God teaches us to open our eyes and distance ourselves from idols so that we can be free! Recognizing that God is our only Lord places us on the right path.

The Old Testament words help us understand the first commandment even more deeply. In fact, we can also translate the commandment this way: “You will not have other gods near me.” We do not usually replace God with an idol, such as saying, “I don’t have room for God, only for sports!” But we often do put something else “next to” God, almost as if it were his equal! God asks us to remember that the first place in our hearts is reserved only for him. All the rest comes after him. Put in their proper place of importance, other things can be part of our lives in a way that is good for us.


What do you consider an idol that should be avoided, or something you’ve allowed to influence your choices too much? Write them down here.

Have you ever experienced the freedom that comes from turning away from “idols”? If so, when?