Were God’s 10 Commandments abolished in the New Testament? Or does the New Testament continue to teach and uphold all 10 Commandments?
Most people acknowledge that Christians should obey most of the 10 Commandments, including those that prohibit worshipping other gods, murder, stealing, adultery and lying—just to name a few of the instructions spoken by God to the ancient Israelites from Mount Sinai. It is only the Fourth Commandment to keep the seventh-day Sabbath (Exodus 20:8-11) that some claim is not repeated in the New Testament and therefore is no longer required of Christians.
Are all of the 10 Commandments upheld in the New Testament? To answer this question, consider what Christ taught concerning the commandments and the following chart showing the repetition of the commandments in the New Testament.
What Christ taught concerning the 10 Commandments in the New Testament
Christ consistently upheld the 10 Commandments as given in the Old Testament. In His Sermon on the Mount, He very pointedly stated: “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill” (Matthew 5:17).
Although some mistakenly think that “fulfill” in this passage means to complete and therefore abolish, what Jesus said afterwards shows this could not be the case. Continuing, Jesus said: “For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven” (verses 18-19).
Realizing that Jesus consistently upheld all of the commandments, including observing the seventh-day Sabbath (Matthew 19:17-19; Luke 4:16), some wrongly suggest that it was the apostle Paul, with Jesus’ personal approval, who introduced grace and the abolishment of the law.
The 10 Commandments given by God in the Old Testament continue to be God’s expectations of Christians today.The truth is that Jesus did not change His mind about the importance of keeping all of the 10 Commandments. As Hebrews 13:8 states: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”
Toward the end of the first century—some 60 years after His death and resurrection—Jesus revealed end-time instructions through John in the book of Revelation. In this book He identifies faithful members of His Church as those “who keep the commandments of God” (Revelation 12:17). Some of the final words of the Bible and this revelation of Jesus Christ likewise state: “Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city” (Revelation 22:14).
The 10 Commandments given by God in the Old Testament continue to be God’s expectations of Christians today.
The 10 Commandments in the Old and New Testaments
The following chart identifies references to the 10 Commandments in both the Old and New Testaments.
For further study, read the articles in this section: “The 10 Commandments and God's Way of Life.”