Q&A: Are the Ten Commandments Repeated in the New Testament?

Are the Ten Commandments Repeated in the New Testament?

Question

Are the Ten Commandments repeated in the New Testament?

Answer

Christ summarized the Ten Commandments in Matthew 22:36-40. Jesus didn’t come to destroy the Law but to fulfill it (Matt. 5:17). Nine of the ten commandments (Exod. 20:1-17; Deut. 5:6-21) are directly stated in the New Testament and indirectly stated numerous other times. The only one that is not directly stated is the fourth commandment (keeping the Sabbath). Jesus himself repeats four of the ten in Mark 10:17-19 and the apostle Paul recites many as well (i.e. Rom. 13:9; 1 Tim. 1:8-10).

Here is a partial chart for the occurrence of commandments in the Old and New Testaments.

Commandment
Old
New
(1) Do not worship any other gods Exod. 20:2-3; Deut. 5:7 Matt. 4:10; 1 Cor. 8:4-6
(2) Do not make idols Exod. 20:4-6; Deut. 5:8-10 Acts 17:29-30; 1 John 5:21
(3) Do not use LORD’s name in vain Exod. 20:7; Deut. 5:11 Matt. 6:9; 1 Tim. 6:1
(4) Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy Exod. 20:8-11; Deut. 5:12-15
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(5) Honor your father and your mother Exod. 20:12; Deut. 5:16 Matt. 19:19; Eph. 6:1-2
(6) Do not murder Exod. 20:13; Deut. 5:17 Rom. 13:9; 1 Pet. 4:15
(7) Do not commit adultery Exod. 20:14; Deut. 5:18 Rom. 13:9; 1 Cor. 6:9-10
(8) Do not steal Exod. 20:15; Deut. 5:19 Matt. 19:18; Eph. 4:28
(9) Do not give false testimony Exod. 20:16; Deut. 5:20 Matt. 19:18; Rev. 21:8
(10) Do not covet Exod. 20:17; Deut. 5:21 Rom. 13:9; Col. 3:5

Why isn’t the Sabbath Day commandment repeated? I believe there are at least two reasons: (1) there was more than one purpose for the Sabbath, and (2) the changing of the Day.

More Than One Purpose for the Sabbath

While a day of rest was one purpose of the Sabbath (cf. Gen. 2:1-3), another one under the old covenant was for God’s people to remember his glorious act of salvation in the exodus from Egypt. Deuteronomy 5:15 states, “You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the Lord your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day.” This was a great redemption for Israel, but it also typified the greatest redemption in all of history — Christ for his people. In keeping with Christ’s resurrection from the dead on the first day of the week (his exodus from the grave), Sunday was then set aside by the church for worship mediation on God through his Word, song, Lord’s Supper, etc. (cf. Deut. 6:6-9; Mark 14:22-25).

Changing of the Day

The specifying of the seventh day as a day of the week in Deuteronomy 5:12-15 for Sabbath observance is not repeated under the new covenant. The new covenant has a new administrator, the Lord. And he rose from the dead on a Sunday, so this is his day (cf. Rev. 1:10).

With the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus from the dead (John 20:1-10), there was a magnificent change in redemptive history; on the first day of the week, Jesus was raised for the justification of his people (Rom. 4:23-25). So, while God rested on the seventh day after his work of creation (cf. Gen. 1:1-2:3), it is on the first day of the week that Christ rose from the dead after his finished work of providing re-creation for his people (2 Cor. 5:17; cf. Isa. 43:18, 19; Ezek. 36:26; John 3:3; Rom. 6:4 Gal. 6:15).

In addition, first-day Sabbaths were not unheard of under the old covenant (Lev. 23:7, 15-21). In a matter of speaking, the changing of the Sabbath day is similar to water baptism replacing circumcision that was foreseen in the old covenant (1 Cor. 10:1-2; cf. Col. 2:11-12).

Sunday is now the Lord’s day of worship and rest for his church. “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it” (Psa. 118:24).

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Answer by Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr.

Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr., D.D., M.Div. is the Theological Editor at Third Millennium Ministries (Thirdmill).