Did the Catholic Bible change 1 of 10 commandments?

  • 3
    What do you mean? Please edit this to explain in much more detail.
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Nov 18, 2022 at 3:26
  • Jewish 10 commandments are different from catholic. Commented Nov 19, 2022 at 16:49

4 Answers 4


The "10 Commandments" aren't given in the text as a list of 10 (1..10) with names, numbers, and a large-font headline. It's a section of text, in the context of a much larger number of commandments given in the Old Testament.

The common Roman Catholic catagorisation and naming is different from a common Protestent system. There is an essay here: https://www.the-ten-commandments.org/romancatholic-tencommandments.html. Numbering is different: Protestants count commandment '4' which is not numbered in the common RC count, RC make two commandments (9 and 10) where the Prod's commonly only count one (10).

It's a bit of a stretch to call this a 'change to the bible'. It's a change to a reading of the bible, in a section that is not nearly as clear as people who have never actually read it think.

What is the Catholic Church's explanation of its listing of the Ten Commandments?

Why are there different divisions of the Ten Commandments?


There is a difference in the way the Catholic Church separates out the ten commandments. This becomes most pronounced when the Catholic Church presents the portion relating to the ten commandments in its catechisms. The problem is there is no mention of the sin of idolatry, more especially of making statues and images of heavenly things.

So the first commandment in the Catholic numbering is:-

Thou shalt not have strange gods before me. Thou shalt not make to thyself a graven thing, nor the likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or in the earth beneath, nor of those things that are in the waters under the earth. Thou shalt not adore them, nor serve them: I am the Lord thy God, mighty, jealous, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me: And shewing mercy unto thousands to them that love me, and keep my commandments.

When this is typically summarised in a Roman Catholic catechism what is understood by Jews and Protestants as the second commandment, the second portion of the Roman Catholic first commandment, is entirely left out. See below for an example catechism which is copied from the website of the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Australia:-

  1. I am the LORD your God: you shall not have strange Gods before me.

  2. You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.

  3. Remember to keep holy the LORD'S Day.

  4. Honor your father and your mother.

  5. You shall not kill.

  6. You shall not commit adultery.

  7. You shall not steal.

  8. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

  9. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife.

  10. You shall not covet your neighbor's goods.

So from a Jewish and a Protestant point of view the Roman Catholic Church has indeed removed the second commandment in its catechisms.. the commandment which forbids the making of graven images of anything in heaven above...etc.


The answer to your question, Jonathan, is "no."

to make use of a quote from my OT isagogics notes:

The ten “words” were also written by God on two tables of stone (Ex 31:18). The numbering and arrangement is not indicated. (Jews count v. 2 as Commandment I, 3-6 as II, and v. 17 as X. Greek Orthodox and Reformed Churches: v. 3 as I, 4-6 as II, etc. to v. 17 as X. Roman and Lutheran: 3-6 as I, v. 17 as IX and X. Our division as to tables is based on Mt 22:37-39.

There are two places the commandments are listed:

  • Exodus 20
  • Deuteronomy 5
  • Roman Catholics (along with those who follow the western rite), use the listing in Exodus 20.


    Did catholic bible change one of ten commandments?

    The simple answer is a resounding no.

    The Catholic Church simply largely follows St. Augustine, which was reiterated in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1992) changing "the sabbath" into "the lord's day" and dividing Exodus 20:17, prohibiting covetousness, into two commandments.

    Lutherans follow Luther's Large Catechism (1529), which also follows Augustine and Roman Catholic tradition but subordinates the prohibition of images to the sovereignty of God in the First Commandment and uses the word order of Exodus 20:17 rather than Deuteronomy 5:21 for the ninth and tenth commandments.

    The Eastern Orthodox Christians generally follow LXX or Septuagint of 3rd century BC.

    Different religious traditions categorize the seventeen verses of Exodus 20:1–17 and their parallels in Deuteronomy 5:4–21 into ten commandments in different ways as shown in the table. Some suggest that the number ten is a choice to aid memorization rather than a matter of theology. - Ten Commandments

    Use of the term Catholic Ten Commandments are meant loosely because both Catholics and Lutherans follow this particular listing which is based upon the version found in Deuteronomy. This text was likely written in the seventh century BC, around 300 years later than the Exodus text which forms the basis for the Protestant version of the Ten Commandments. Some scholars believe, however, that this formulation could date back to an earlier version than the one in Exodus.

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