Ten Commandments Bible Study – Commandment Two

A prohibition of another form of idolatry

Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, 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 of them that love me, and keep my commandments.” Exodus 20:4-6

Discussion: Have you thought of the second commandment as just a restatement of the first?

What makes it different?

“Idolatry consists not only in the worship of false gods, but also in the worship of the true God by images” (Charles Hodge).

Very soon after Israel received the 10 commandments, they broke commandment two: “They made a calf in Horeb, and worshipped the molten image” (Psalm 106:19). “And they made a calf in those days, and offered sacrifice unto the idol, and rejoiced in the works of their own hands” (Acts 7:41).

  • See Exodus 32:1-6, 19-25

I.   Fundamental reasons why making images of God is wrong:

(Suggested by J. I. Packer, Knowing God, pg.45-46)

A.   “Images dishonor God, for they obscure His glory.”

  •  Exodus 20:5
  • Isaiah 40:18, 25-31

 “The heart of the objection to pictures and images is that they inevitably conceal most, if not all, of the truth about the personal nature and character of the divine Being whom they represent” (Packer, pg. 40).

B.  “Images mislead us, for they convey false ideas about God”

  •  Exodus 32:5
  •  Example: Crucifix

 Discussion: What about mental images of God? If the image we create of God in our mind is of our own making, and not based on God’s revelation of Himself, are we guilty of breaking this commandment?

 Have you heard someone say or say yourself, “ I like to think of God as ______ ____________, to justify a denial of a clear teaching in Scripture about God’s very nature?

  •  Exodus 20:6
  •  Isaiah 55:6 -11
  •  Romans 11:33-36

II.   Other passages of Scripture that help us to define idolatry:

 A.  Worship of false gods other than the one true God

  • Acts 17:16, 22-31

 B.  Rebellion against God’s Word

  •  1 Samuel 15:23

 C.  Covetousness

  •  Colossians 3:5

III.  New Testament warnings about idolatry:

  •  1 Corinthians 10:12-15
  •  Galatians 5:18-21
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