From the JAR – The 10 Commandments (Do not Covet)

Exodus 20:17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbor’s.

10 Basic Rules for Life


  • To covet is to wish to have the possessions of others
  • It goes beyond simply admiring someone else’s possessions or thinking, I’d like to have one of those
  • Coveting includes envy resenting the fact that others have what you don’t
  • God knows however, that possessions never make anyone happy for long
  • Since only God can supply all our needs, true contentment is found only in him
  • When you begin to feel covetous, try to determine if a more basic need is standing behind your envy.  For example, you may covet someone’s success, not because you want to take it away from him, but because you would like to feel as appreciated by others as he is.  If this is the case, pray that God will help you deal with your resentment and meet your basic needs *1
  • Jesus says that the good life has nothing to do with being wealthy, so beware of covetousness (greedy desire for what we don’t have)
  • This is the exact opposite of what society usually says
  • Advertisers spend millions of dollars to entice us to think that if we buy more and more of their products, we will be happier, more in tune, more comfortable
  • How do you respond to the constant pressure to buy?
  • Learn to tune out expensive enticements and concentrate on the truly good life–living in a relationship with God and doing his work *2
  • Despite almost overwhelming evidence to the contrary, most people still believe that money brings happiness
  • Rich people craving greater riches can be caught in an endless cycle that only ends in ruin and destruction
  • How can you keep away from the love of money?
  • Paul gives us some guidelines:
    • realize that one day riches will all be gone (1 Tim. 6:7, 17)
    • be content with what you have (1 Tim. 6:8)
    • monitor what you are willing to do to get more money (1 Tim. 6:9, 10)
    • love people more than money (1 Tim. 6:11)
    • love God’s work more than money (1 Tim. 6:11)
    • freely share what you have with others 1 Tim. 6:18)
  • This is the key to spiritual growth and personal fulfilment
  • We should honor God and center our lives on him (godliness, see Matthew 6:33)
  • And we should be content with what God is doing in our lives (contentment, see Philippians 4:11-13) *3
  • Having too much money can be dangerous, but so can having too little
  • Being poor can, in fact, be hazardous to spiritual as well as physical health
  • On the other hand, being rich is not the answer
  • As Jesus pointed out, rich people have trouble getting into God’s Kingdom (Matthew 19:23, 24)
  • Like Paul, we can learn how to be abassed or how to abound (Philppians 4:12), but our lives are more likely to be effective if we have neither too much nor too little money *4

Ref. Verses:

Luke 12:15

Rom. 7:7 – 14; 13:8 – 10

Eph. 5:3 – 7

1 Tim. 6:6-10

Heb. 13:5

Proverbs 30:7-9

*1 Notes from Life Application Study Bible notes on Exodus 20:17, pg.143

*2 Notes from Life Application Study Bible notes on Luke 12:15, pg. 1751

*3 Notes from Life Application Study Bible notes on 1 Timothy 6:6-10

*4 Notes from Life Application Study Bible notes on Proverbs 30:7-9, pg. 1124


From the Jar – The 10 Commandments (testify falsely)

Exo 20:16 ISV* “You are not to testify falsely against your neighbor.

  • Bearing false witness means giving false evidence in court
  • God knew that Israel could not survive unless its system of justice was incorruptible
  • We should be honest in our private dealings as well as in our public statements
  • In either situation, we “bear false witness” by leaving something out of a story, telling a half-truth, twisting the facts, or inventing a falsehood
  • God warns us against deception
  • Even though deception is a way of life for many people God’s people will not give in to it *1

False testimony, perjury

Verse 2.20.16

  • Thou shalt not bear false witness, Not only false oaths, to deprive a man of his life or of his right, are here prohibited, but all whispering, tale-bearing, slander, and calumny in a word, whatever is deposed as a truth, which is false in fact, and tends to injure another in his goods, person, or character, is against the spirit and letter of this law.
  • Suppressing the truth when known, by which a person may be defrauded of his property or his good name, or lie under injuries or disabilities which a discovery of the truth would have prevented, is also a crime against this law.
  • He who bears a false testimony against or belies even the devil himself, comes under the curse of this law, because his testimony is false.
  • By the term neighbour any human being is intended, whether he rank among our enemies or friends.  *2

Ref. Verses

Mat 12:34-37/ISV
v 34 You children of serpents! How can you say anything good when you are evil? The mouth speaks about what overflows from the heart.
v 35 A good person brings good things out of a good treasure house, and an evil person brings evil things out of an evil treasure house.
v 36 I tell you, on Judgment Day people will give an account for every thoughtless word they have uttered,
v 37 because by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”

More Notes:

  • Jesus reminds us that what we say reveals what is in our hearts
  • What kinds of words come from your mouth?
  • That is an indication of what your heart is really like
  • You can’t solve your heart problem, however, just by cleaning up your speech
  • You must allow the Holy Spirit to fill you with new attitudes and motives, then your speech will be cleansed at its source *3

More Ref. verses:
Exo 23:6;
Exo 23:7
Lev 19:11
Lev 19:16
Deu 19:15-21
1Sa 22:8-19
1Ki 21:10-13 (refs7)

Psa 15:3
Psa 101:5-7
Pro 10:18
Pro 11:13
Mat 26:59
Mat 26:60
Act 6:13
Eph 4:31 (refs8)

1Ti 1:10
2Ti 3:3
Jas 4:11 (refs3)

Notes from Life Application Study Bible notes on Ex. 20:16
*2 Notes from Clark’s concordance
*3 Notes from Life Application Study Bible notes on Matt. 12:34-37

From the Jar-The 10 Commandments (Thou Shalt not Steal)

Exodus 20:15 You are not to steal



Against stealing and dishonesty.

All rapine and theft are forbidden by this precept;

  • as well national and commercial wrongs as petty larceny,
  • highway robberies,
  • and private stealing: even the taking advantage of a seller’s or buyer’s ignorance,
  • to give the one _less_ and make the other pay _more_ for a commodity than its worth,
    is a breach of this sacred law.

All withholding of rights and doing of wrongs are against the spirit of it.

But the word is principally applicable to:

  • clandestine stealing
  • though it may undoubtedly include all political injustice and private wrongs.

And consequently:

  • all kidnapping,
  • crimping
  • and slave-dealing

are prohibited here, whether practised by individuals or by the state.

Crimes are not lessened in their demerit by the number or political importance of those who commit them.

A state that enacts bad laws is as criminal before God as the individual who breaks good ones.

It has been supposed that under the eighth commandment, injuries done to character, the depriving a man of his reputation or good name, are included, hence those words of one of our poets:

Good name in man or woman

Is the immediate jewel of their souls.
Who steals my purse steals trash,-

But he that filches from me my good name,

Robs me of that which not enriches him,
And makes me poor indeed.

Thoughts from Clark’s notes on Exodus 20:15

Ref. Verses on Verse 15

Exo 21:16
Lev 6:1-7
Lev 19:11
Lev 19:13
Lev 19:35-37
Deu 24:7
Deu 25:13-16
Job 20:19-22

Pro 1:13-15
Pro 11:1
Amo 3:10]
Amo 8:4-6
Mic 6:10
Mic 6:11
Mic 7:3
Zec 5:3
Zec 5:4
1Th 4:6

From The Jar – The 10 Commandments (Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery)

Exo 20:14 KJV Thou shalt not commit adultery.

Adultery, as defined by our laws, is of two kinds; double, when between two married persons; single, when one of the parties is married, the other single.

One principal part of the criminality of adultery consists in its injustice.

1. It robs a man of his right by taking from him the affection of his wife.

2. It does him a wrong by fathering on him and obliging him to maintain as his own a spurious offspring-a child which is not his.

  • The act itself, and every thing leading to the act, is prohibited by this commandment; for our Lord says, Even he who looks on a woman to lust after her, has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
  • And not only adultery (the unlawful commerce between two married persons) is forbidden here, but also fornication and all kinds of mental and sensual uncleanness.
  • All impure books, songs, paintings, c., which tend to inflame and debauch the mind, are against this law, as well as another species of impurity, for the account of which the reader is referred to See Clarke on Gen 38:30.
  • That fornication was included under this command we may gather from St. Matthew, Mt 15:19, where our Saviour expresses the sense of the different commandments by a word for each, and mentions them in the order in which they stand; but when he comes to the seventh he uses two words,
  • μοιχειαιπορνειαι, to express its meaning, and then goes on to the eighth, c. thus evidently showing that fornication was understood to be comprehended under the command, “Thou shalt not commit adultery.”
  • As to the word adultery, adulterium, it has probably been derived from the words ad alterius torum, to another’s bed; for it is going to the bed of another man that constitutes the act and the crime.
  • Adultery often means idolatry in the worship of God *1

Ref. Verses:

Lev. 20:10

Matthew 5:28

Notes on Matthew 5:27-28

  • Jesus said that the desire to have sex with someone other than your spouse is mental adultery and thus sin
  • Jesus emphasized that if the act is wrong, then so is the intention
  • To be faithful to your spouse with your body but not your mind is to break the trust so vital to a strong marriage
  • Jesus is not condemning natural interest in the opposite sex of even healthy sexual desire, but the deliberate and repeated filling of one’s mind with fantasies that would be evil if acted out
  • Some think, if lustful thoughts are sin, why shouldn’t a person go ahead and do the lustful actions too?

Acting out sinful desires is harmful in several ways 

1. causes people to excuse sin rather than eliminate it

2. it destroys marriages

3. it is deliberate rebellion against God’s Word

4. it always hurts someone else in addition to the sinner

  • Sinful desire is not as dangerous as sinful action,, and that is why it should not be acted out
  • Nevertheless, sinful desire is just as damaging to righteousness
  • Left unchecked wrong desires result in wrong actions and turn people away from God *2

1. Clark’s notes on Ex. 20:14

2. Thoughts from Life Application Study Bible, notes on Matt. 5:27:28