Of the Ten Commandments the first three refer to Almighty God and the other seven to our neighbor. Thus all the Commandments may be reduced to the two of the love of God and of the love of our neighbor. The First Commandment says you shall worship only the true God; the Second says you shall respect His holy name; and the Third says you shall worship Him on a certain day. All these are contained therefore in this: Love God all you possibly can, for if you do you will keep the first three of the Commandments. The Fourth says: Honor your father—who in the sense of the Commandment can also be called your neighbor—that is, respect him, help him in his needs. The Fifth says do not kill him; namely, your neighbor. The others say do not rob him of his goods; do not tell lies about him; do not wish unjustly to possess his goods and do not covet his wife. Thus it is clear that the last seven are all contained in this: Love your neighbor, for if you do you will keep the last seven Commandments that refer to him.
313 Q. Which are the Commandments of God? A. The Commandments of God are these ten:
1. I am the Lord thy God, Who brought thee
out of the land of Egypt,
out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt not have strange gods before
Me. Thou shalt not make to thyself a graven thing, nor the likeness
of any thing that is in Heaven above, or in the earth beneath, nor
of those things that are in the waters under the earth. Thou shalt
not adore them, nor serve them.
2. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.
3. Remember thou keep holy the Sabbath Day.
4. Honor thy father and thy mother.
5. Thou shalt not kill.
6. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
7. Thou shalt not steal.
8. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
9. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife.
10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s goods.
314 Q. Who gave the Ten Commandments? A. God Himself gave the Ten Commandments to Moses on Mount Sinai, and Christ Our Lord confirmed them.
315 Q. What is the First Commandment? A. The First Commandment is: “I am the Lord thy God: thou shalt not have strange gods before Me.”
“Strange gods.” The Israelites were surrounded on all sides by pagan nations who worshipped idols and false gods, and sometimes by mingling with these people they fell into sin, and, forgetting the true God, worshipped their idols. Sometimes, too, they were at war with these pagan nations, and when defeated were led captive into pagan countries and there fell into the sin of worshipping false gods. It was against this sin that God cautioned His people in the First Commandment. From this sin of idolatry among the Israelites we have an example of the evil results of associating with persons not of the true