Lesson Resources and Background for Teaching the Ten Commandments in Sunday School.

Post your lesson resources and background for teaching the Ten Commandments in Sunday School.

The Ten Commandments, Exodus 20, Tablets, Mount Sinai, Wilderness, etc.

This thread is a collection of various Ten Commandment teaching resources people have posted here over the years that don't belong buried in any one particular workshop and are NOT workshop specific activities or lesson ideas.

  • Background docs
  • Issues that have been raised/discussed 

(such as how to teach the commandment about adultery to children)

  • Resources
  • Good discussion questions for any workshop

...and the like.

Original Post

Originally posted by member "Barbara in Portland"
it was titled

Teaching the Ten Commandments in Kid-Friendly Language

Forum reviewers really liked it.

This is a background sheet written by the pastor, Jim Fletcher, of State Street Church, United Church of Christ, in Portland Maine. It was prepared for a Design Team meeting we had for our 10 C. rotation.

Resource for Teaching the Decalogue
(The Ten Commandments)


  1. Glue-Used to hold Israel together (like our constitution)
  2. Reminder-Used to remind Israel of their covenant with God
  3. Descriptor-Used to describe or explain God's ways
  4. Gift-A gift given to Israel to remind them that God is a gift-giving (gracious) God.
  5. Warning-Used to warn Israel not to take on the ways of the world around them. (Just because everone else is doing it doesn't mean you have to do it.)

Historical Context:

In their present literary form, the writing dates from around 630 BC, however, there is absoulutely no historical evidence to say that they do not date from the time of Moses.

The Ten Commandments for Kids

Exodus 20:

First-No other gods
This commandment does not deny the existence of other gods. It simply is a call to absolute loyalty to the One God.

Second-No human-made image of God.
This commandment is given to prevent the temptation to try to manipulate God for human's own purposes. God's ONLY image in the world has two feet and walks upright. In other words, God does not choose to live in the mountanis, but in humans and in human history.

Third-Don't say 'God' lightly
In the ancient world, to have a person's (god's) name was to possess that person's (god's) power. Therefore, humans can NEVER have God's name or use it lightly. God MUST remain in mystery.

Fourth-Take some time out!
There is both spiritual and physical reason for taking a rest on a regular (seven-day) cycle. There is a need to spend time 'smelling the roses.'(after being slaves in Egypt, this commandment give the people control over their lives, even servants and slaves deserve time to worship and renew their spirits.)

Fifth-Honor your mom and dad
This commandment was given to make sure that inheritances passed in an orderly way. (It also helped set up the family unit as the pre-eminant unit of society, to whom our allegiances lie, as opposed to the state, ie Egypt.)
It also speaks of God as Eternal Parent who,like earthly parents, must be honored.

Sixth-Don't kill people-ever!
This commandment makes no difference between state-santioned killing (capital punishment) and murder. Both are wrong BECAUSE God dwells in humans through God's covenant. To kill another human is to kill a covenant partner with God.

Seventh-Don't commit adultery
Again, God relates to humans through covenants. When covenants (promises) are broken, God's heart is broken. Honor your spouse the in the same way God nonors you.

Eighth- Don't take things, honor, and hope away from people
This commandment has a much deeper meaning than 'make sure you count the silver after shifty guests leave.' It means 'don't harm people or invade their space.' Don't steal what belongs to them because this also belongs to God. To steal from others is to steal from God.

Ninth-Let you word be a true reflection of yourselves!
Be a person of your word! If you are rich, don't hire false witnesses to get yourself off. Let justice be equal BECAUSE God's justice is equal for all.

Tenth-Don't think Others are better than you
Believe that who you are and what you have is enough. Be greateful for God's gift of life to you. Don't be consumed by envy BECAUSE it takes away from being consumed by the spirit of God!

Teaching the commandment against adultery to children:

The following member suggestions were consolidated here from a previous thread:

In Berryman and Stewart's book "Young Children and Worship" (a book every Christian Educator should read) They refer to the adultry commandment as "Don't break your marriage".(page 110) It seems a faithful way to express the intent of the commandment, and children are able to think of ways that this could happen. They learn to value commitment and good relatiohsip, and know that (like other valuable things) if we are not careful we can break them!

Turning the negative "THOU SHALT NOT" into positive "THOU SHALL" commandments sometimes makes it easier to explain to young children. The term "allowed to" can also help. See examples:

"Thou Shall Only Have Sex with Your Spouse"
"You are only allowed to have sex with your spouse."

Another commandment seems to address the same issue, and may be easier for children to understand: "You Shall Not Covet another man's wife."
Or... "You Shall Be Faithful to your spouse, and not break up another couple's marriage."

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