What is the sum of the Ten Commandments?


To love God with all my heart, and my neighbor as myself.

“Sum” is a word we normally use when we're doing math. It means to add things together. For example, the sum of 2 + 2 is 4. So what would happen if you took all of God's Ten Commandments and added them up like a math problem? What would you end up with? It may seem weird, but when you add Commandment 1 + Commandment 2 + Commandment 3 + Commandment 4 + Commandment 5 + Commandment 6 + Commandment 7 + Commandment 8 + Commandment 9 + Commandment 10, the answer you get is 2! No, not the number two, but the two Great Commandments!

It's important to know and understand all of the Ten Commandments. But let's imagine you were in an emergency and only had time to tell someone two commandments. In that weird situation, the best thing to do would be to tell them about the two Great Commandments. With just these two super rules, a person would know the big idea of everything God wants them to do in each and every situation.

Jesus explains the two Great Commandments in Matthew 22:37-40. “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.

Whenever we are faced with a problem of right or wrong, the correct answer is always to love. The First Great Commandment teaches us to love God with all of our hearts. And the Second Great Commandment teaches us to love people like we love ourselves. If we obeyed just those two commandments, we would end up automatically obeying every single one of the Ten Commandments. That’s what Jesus meant when he said, “All the Law hangs on these two commandments.”

But what exactly does love look like? How does God want me to love him? How does he want me to love my neighbor? What specifically does he want me to do? That’s why we need the Ten Commandments. They give us the details of what it means to love in each and every situation.


+ Open a Bible to Exodus 20. Have someone read the Ten Commandments one at a time in random order. After each commandment, have another person tell whether that command is part of the First or Second Table of the Law.


Deut. 6:1-15; 11:1; Matt. 22:35-40; James 2:8

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