Why Are the 10 Commandments Different in Various Bibles? (The Patrick Madrid Show)

A caller named John from Austin, Texas, brought up a rather common misconception about the Catholic Church’s version of the Ten Commandments. He was puzzled about why it seemed like the Church had “removed” the second commandment regarding graven images and split the commandment about coveting into two separate ones.

Patrick Madrid jumped right in to set the record straight. Here’s the divine truth bomb he dropped:

First off, no commandments were taken out. Patrick explained that the Ten Commandments are found in two places in the Bible: Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5, with Exodus providing a more detailed account. The issue at hand is not about deletion but about understanding the text’s structure and intention.

The crux of the controversy: The commandment against making graven images isn’t a standalone rule but part of the first commandment’s broader principle, which is against idolatry. The Catholic Church views “You shall have no other gods before me” and the warning against idol worship as facets of the same commandment. This approach emphasizes the sin of placing anything above God, whether it’s in the form of false gods or idolatrous images.

Splitting hairs or commandments? As for the commandments about coveting, Patrick highlighted a crucial distinction recognized by the Catholic Church. Coveting your neighbor’s spouse and coveting your neighbor’s goods are seen as different types of sins. The former deals with the dignity of human beings, while the latter concerns material possessions. Therefore, they’re treated as separate commandments to underline their unique moral implications.

Irony Alert: Patrick couldn’t resist pointing out a delicious irony. Many public displays of the Ten Commandments, which often follow the Protestant enumeration, are engraved in stone. Technically, these monuments themselves could be seen as “graven images,” stirring a playful contradiction with the very commandment they aim to display.

Seeking the Source: When John asked about the original Hebrew text, Patrick recommended using resources like the Blue Letter Bible website. This tool allows you to read into the scriptural nuances, giving access to the Hebrew text and its translations to better understand the commandments’ original context.

Jake Moore serves as a Digital Audio Content Producer for Relevant Radio®. He is a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, and is passionate about classic movies, Christian music, young adult ministry, and leading this generation to Christ through compelling media. You can listen to more of his podcasts at relevantradio.com and on the Relevant Radio® app.