Different Ten Commandments?

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Why does the Catholic Church have a different version (albeit slightly different) of the 10 Commandments from the Protestant Church?

-- Anonymous, June 22, 1998


Hmmm... isn't it that the Protestants have a different version from ours? :)

I stand to be corrected by someone who knows what they're talking about, but I believe it is because Catholics number the Commandments as including the prohibition on graven images and worship of idols as part of the commandment to love the Lord, our God.

-- Anonymous, June 22, 1998

different ten commandments

Actually, Paul, I believe the answer is that Catholics and Lutherans take the decalogue from Deuteronomy 5 and most Protestants that come out of a Reformed tradition (i.e. Calvinist origins) take the decalogue from Exodus 20. They are the same commandments, but breakdown of verses tends to make Catholics and Lutherans combine what the reformed traditon sees as 1 and 2; those from the reformed tradition tend to combine what the Catholics and Lutherans see as 9 and 10. So it is the same material, and the same number. I believe the rabinnic tradition follows the Exodus numbering. Of course, chapters and verses in the bible didn't get fixed until the 13th century A.D. and there is a lot of variation in biblical texts. Of course Catholics and Lutherans--who both tend to more use of images--might want to soften the prohibition of what Calvinists see as the second commandment. Reformed Christians, on the other hand, might want to use their second commandment to beat us Catholics over the head with. The use of "graven"images has often been a source of controversy in the history of the Church, but our Catholic heritage has always defended it by making it clear that we do not worship the image, but only venerate the person whom the image represents. I understand, however, that the Eastern Church has a different tradition and considers the icon to be far more a presence than a representation. I don't know about this, I've only heard some stuff on it. Patrick

-- Anonymous, June 22, 1998

A good explanation of the different numberings can be found at


-- Anonymous, July 08, 1998

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