The Many Ways We Break the Ten Commandments

by Jack Wellman · Print Print · Email Email

Everyone has broken the Ten Commandments, but here are the many ways that we can too if we’re not careful.

What is Sin?

Seven Deadly SinsEveryone has broken the Ten Commandments, but here are the many ways that we can too if we’re not careful, so first off…what is sin? Sin is the transgression of the Law of God. The Apostle John writes “Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness” (1 John 3:4). We are all sinners, even those who have been saved as the Apostle Paul says, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23) and “the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 6:23).

Separated From God

Isaiah writes “your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear” (Isaiah 59:2). The good news is that “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom 5:8) and “while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son” (Rom 5:11a). Jesus solved our sin problem by becoming sin for us so that for those who have repented and trusted in Him can be seen as having the same righteousness as Christ does (2 Cor 5:21) but if not, we still have the wrath of God on us (John 3:18b, 3:36b).

All Sins Fall Within the Ten Commandments

There are almost one hundred and twenty-five sins listed in the Bible so I thought it might be useful to show why God gave us the Ten Commandments as a standard by which to live. Of course no one can keep the Ten Commandments but even though it’s not humanly possible, this doesn’t give us an excuse to break them so what I have done below is to list the Ten Commandments and what sins fall under each of these sins.

It should be noted that many of these sins could be placed under more thanWhat Are The Ten Commandments one of the Ten Commandments but in order to see where the biblical list of sins fall, I think it best to list almost all of the sins given in the Bible under each of the Ten Commandments because if we were able to keep the Ten Commandments, none of the sins would be broken so here is a list of the Ten Commandments and the sins which they fall under each one. There is no doubt that since there are so many sins listed in the Bible, some might be inadvertently missed while others may be repeated since they fall into the differing commandments.

The Ten Commandments and Associated Sins (Ex 20:3-17)

The First Commandment: You shall have no other gods before me.

Idolatry, greed, covetousness, love of money, gluttony, complaining, not loving God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength, tempting God, high-mindedness, disobedience, witchcraft, lover of self, putting family, friends, job, or anything else above God including food, money, sports, Internet, TV, movies, cars, attachment to riches or material goods and dozens of other things. Some cults have a false Jesus; therefore they are putting other gods (the Real Jesus!) before the One, True God.

The Second Commandment: You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.

Love of money, greed, disobedience, covetousness, love of money, lover of self, putting family, friends, job, or anything else above God, irreverent use of God’s Word, attachment to riches or material goods. Again, many have a different idea of God or Jesus than that of the Bible. Their God would not send someone to hell and loves all people unconditionally, but that is a lie. They have created a god after their own imagination and not the One from the Bible.

The Third Commandment: You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain, irreverent use of God’s Word.

Cursing, swearing, blaspheming, breaking oath taken in God’s name, irreverent use of God’s name in humor, speaking evil of the church, taking communion or the Lord’s Supper in a careless manner or unworthily, anger at God, careless use of God’s name, euphemisms like “geez, gosh, oh my God” etc. One Christian occasionally uses a swear word, and I rebuked him on that. He said, “I didn’t mean it.” I said, that’s just what it means to take the Lord’s name in vain…in a careless, useless manner.

The Fourth Commandment: Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

Sloth, laziness, forsaking the assembling of the saints in church, profaning worship service with entertainment, fighting or speaking evil of Christian brothers or sisters who have different beliefs on non-essentials.

The Fifth Commandment: Honor your father and your mother.

We can break this law by failing to take care of aged parents, failing to take care of sick parents, fighting with and/or speaking evil about siblings or our parents. This is the only commandment with a promised “that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you” (Ex 20:12). Cursing father or mother, dishonoring parents, striking or fighting with parents, disobeying parents, making fun of parents, filthy talk, speaking evil or badly of parents, and grandparents included in the aforementioned things.

The Sixth Commandment: You shall not murder.

Murder, anger, hate (like murder in the heart), enmity, rage, brawling, rioting, striker, unforgiving heart, wrath, unmerciful, dissensions, contentions, clamor, despitefulness, debate, arguing, fighting, abortion, divisions, strife, rivalries. These are all fruits of the flesh (Gal 5:19-21).

The Seventh Commandment: You shall not commit adultery.

Adultery, lusting in the heart (seen as adultery by God), fornication, sexual immorality, filthy talk, crude joking, whoremongers, defiling the body, homosexuality, sensuality, impurity, tempting others sexually, inordinate passion, corrupt language, effeminate, pornography, vulgar or crude jokes.

The Eighth Commandment: You shall not steal.

Stealing, bribery, extortion, sloth or laziness at work, defrauding, dishonesty, cheating, gambling,

The Ninth Commandment: You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

Lying, gossiping, slandering, backbiting, spreading rumors, deceit, extortion, railing, slander, defrauding, breaking promises, craftiness, hypocrisy, dishonesty, whisperers, idle words, withhold all of the truth, double-tongued, bragging, boasting, flattery, exaggerating the truth, whining, speaking evil of others.

The Tenth Commandment: You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.

Coveting, envy, lust, jealousy, drunkenness, sorcery (Greek means drug abuse), materialism, wantonness, sensuality, gambling, revelings, attachment to riches or material goods, lawsuits against Christians, emulations, extortion, desire for money, desire for power, desire for sex (relating to sexual immorality), anger at other’s good fortunes, desiring things of others, flirting, causing others to stumble or playing with temptation (playing with fire! – Prov 6:27-29).


There is but one way a person can be saved and that is to repent and confess their sins and then put their trust in Jesus Christ. No one can ever out-sin the work of Christ on the cross and as the late Adrian Rogers said, “No one is so bad that they cannot be saved and no one is so good that they don’t need to be saved.” The blood of the Lamb of God covers every sin of ours; every sin we will ever commit! Only the sin of unbelief cannot be forgiven when Christ comes in person (Rev 1:7). He is the only name given to us to be saved (Acts 4:12). There is no other possible way (Acts 16:30-31).

Here is some related reading for you: Are Christians No Longer Sinners?

Resource – Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), Crossway Bibles. (2007). ESV: Study Bible: English standard version. Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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