Many people know about “The Ten Commandments.” Scripture lists these in Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5. Leviticus 19 also lists the Ten Commandments, however, in an expanded and applied version. For example, verse 14 says:

“Do not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block in front of the blind, but fear your God. I am the Lord.”

Or verse 32:

“Stand up in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the Lord.”

Attached are four pictures of the Ten Commandments (or “Ten Words”) displayed in different churches.

1) The two Dutch boards of the Law and Jesus’ summary are found in our hometown, Baarn, The Netherlands. The main church in the center of the village has these two boards installed left and right of the pulpit for everyone to see. These boards are to instruct and remind the people.

2) The English boards are from an old Anglican church in New Haven, CT. Queen Elizabeth I ordered that the text of “God’s Precepts,” the Ten Commandments, be displayed on the eastern wall of every church in England (1560). Her successor, James I, confirmed: “…that the Ten Commandments be set (…) where the people may best see and read the same.” Also in this case: the boards were to remind people of God’s Law every time they saw these large boards. (These boards also include the Lord’s Prayer and Apostles’ Creed.)

3) The old, carved pulpit has much symbolism. At the foot of the stairs, we see Moses with the two tablets. The first three commandments relate to God and the remaining seven deal with people. Moses has two horns sticking out of his head. The short story is that Moses had a radiant face when he returned from God. Habakkuk 3:4 speaks about the radiance of God, which the King James Bible translated as “horns.” (Location: Egmond aan Zee, NL)

4) The board in the picture, dated 1689, is an example of decorations in a Protestant church at the time of the Reformation, replacing the Roman Catholic images. Jesus’ summary of the Law is also included. Other display boards in Reformed Churches could consist of the Lord’s Prayer and the Apostles’ Creed (Karin Maag, “Lifting Our Hearts To The Lord, Worship with John Calvin in Sixteenth-Century Geneva”, page 47.)

Today’s culture is increasingly intolerant to God’s Law, despite its foundation for our society. The past court cases about publicly displaying God’s Law in the USA remind us.

But, how tolerant is the church? Do we read the Law on Sunday “because we have to?” Because our church federation forces us to listen? Or, does our heart delight in God’s Law (Psalm 1) and we can still sing with Psalm 119 “Oh, how I love your law!”?

Did you know we need God’s Law to worship?

“My lips will pour forth praise, for you teach me your statutes.” (Psalm 119:171)

Did you know God’s Law results in worship “pleasing to Him”?

“Let my soul live and praise you, and let your rules help me.” (Psalms 119:175)

Projection screens might now be dominant in our places of worship, but if you would build a new church, would you want God’s Law written on the walls? The Apostle’s Creed? The Lord’s Prayer? To remind yourself? To teach your children? To share with guests? To worship the Lord?


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