Summary: A look again at the 10 commandments - (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request – email:

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The book of Deuteronomy is a series of farewell sermons from Moses to the Israelites:

• In these sermons he urges the people to love God, obey his laws;

• And follow the leadership of Joshua.

• The Jews call this book the “haddeborim”, which means "the words."

• Based on the opening words in chapter 1 verse 1.

• Ancient writings written on scrolls were not given names;

• But they were called after the first words you would read on the parchment.

• We get our English name Deuteronomy from two Greek words;

• ‘Deutero’ which means ‘Second’ and ‘nomos’ which means ‘law’

• This title comes from the Septuagint a Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament;

• In this edition, books of the Old Testament were given the names that we commonly use.

• Now although Deuteronomy means ‘Second Law’;

• Please note that this book is not a second Law;

• There is only one ‘Law’ that God gave to Moses on Mount Sinai;

• You can find it in Exodus chapter 20.

• Deuteronomy is a restatement and expansion of that Law;

• As recoded in the book of Exodus some 40 years earlier.

• The first two versions of the Ten Commandments;

• Can be found in Exodus chapter 20 and Exodus chapter 34.

• In Deuteronomy chapter 5 we find a third version of the Ten Commandments,

• But this is a restatement and expansion of that Law.

Question: Why does the Law need to be repeated?

• Remember when we are talking about the ‘Law’;

• We are not just talking about the ten commandments;

• There are 613 laws of Moses in total and many of them are repeated here.

Answer: Two main reasons:

• FIRST: The people –

• Deuteronomy was written forty years after the book of Exodus.

• During those forty years a whole generation died.

• This generation consisted of all the adults who came out of Egypt as slaves;

• These adults all crossed the Red Sea, and these adults all camped at Sinai;

• And heard the commandments the first time.

• Apart from Moses, Joshua and Caleb;

• That generation was now dead!

• The new generation who would receive this ‘second law’;

• Were only babies when their predecessors crossed the Red Sea,

• And camped at Sinai and heard the law.

• This new generation had no memories of when their families came out of slavery;

• They had no recollections of Moses reading the law.

• So it required Moses to read and explain the law a second time.


• At my own fellowship - Duncan Road Church;

• We have made the effort to teach our new converts;

• And also the new generations coming through into membership;

• The principles of how we operate as a Church and what makes us different;

• Or rather what are the key distinctions between ourselves and other denominations.

• i.e. Why do we have Elders and not a Vicar or a Pastor.

• i.e. Why are we autonomous and not part of a denomination.

• i.e. Why do we partake in the ‘Breaking of Bread’ on a regular basis.

• i.e. Why do we believe in and practice every member ministry;

• What the old timers called, ‘The priesthood of all believers’.

• We want each generation of Christians to discover for themselves our D.N.A.;

• The ‘why’ and ‘what’ we believe and practice as a Church.

• We don’t want them to think we do these things out of just tradition or habit;

• We do them, we practice them because we believe it is biblical to do them!

• And each generation must discover these truths for themselves;

• Otherwise they may well be neglected or lost.

SECOND – The circumstances –

• The difference between the first and second giving of the law is striking.

• The first time Israel had just been delivered from slavery in Egypt.

• They hardly knew God at all, and Moses was their new leader.

• Now they have had forty years of experience following God under Moses' direction.

• Now they are a unified nation and just a bunch of dishevelled slaves.

• Now they are experienced in combat, a fighting force to be reckoned with.

• Before they were escaping Egypt, but now they are ready to enter in to the promised land

• i.e. That is why in chapter 1 verses 1-5;

• Time and place are carefully specified.

Note: The chapter divides into three parts:

• The covenant in Horeb. (vs 1-5)

• The ten commandments repeated. (vs 6-22)

• The request of the people that the law might be delivered through Moses. (vs 23-33)

• Now for the sake of time we are going to focus in on that second section;

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