Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"
Several versions of the Ten Commandments have been published. In our ever present hurry to condense, we humans have devised one version that entirely omits the second commandment (forbidding "to bow down to graven images") but splitting the tenth to make up the coveted "ten." Protestants vigorously oppose this version.
Another truncated version of the Ten Commandments omits most of the fourth, leaving humanity helplessly adrift in identifying the Lord's day (or Sabbath day).
But there is another version that has suffered a more sophisticated, and therefore more clever mutilation: it faithfully reproduces the "ten" but omits the Preamble. But the Preamble is expressly declared in the original to be part of "all these words" that "God spake" (Ex. 20:1). Leave out the fluff, is the idea; let's get to the real stuff--the "obedience" that God requires under pain of consignment to hell.
But … leave out the Preamble and what you have is an Old Covenant code of law. The "I am the Lord" is the Lawgiver, but the idea of His already being a Savior is muffled. Face it, the Old Covenant is immensely popular, both outside the church and inside; Old Covenant ideas are what we humans naturally gravitate to. They have been our obsession for 6000 years. There's an almost irresistible gravitation of thought toward the idea expressed as "obedience." The deception is fantastically clever because obedience is indeed required; but the deception lies in the idea that hard work and painful self-denial will produce it.
This particular truncated version is the favorite used for children to memorize. They are imbued with Old Covenant ideas from their kindergarten years. Read the Preamble; grasp what it says. More tomorrow.
--Robert J. Wieland
From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: April 24, 2006.
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