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COMMANDMENT. The word is used in the English Bible to translate a number of Hebrew and Greek words meaning law, ordinance, statute, word, judgment, precept, saying, charge. The idea of authority conveyed by these words comes from the fact that God as sovereign Lord has a right to be obeyed. The instruction of Jesus is full of ethical teachings that have the force of divine commandments. What he says is as authoritative as what was said by God in OT times. That is true even when he does not use the word “commandment” or its equivalents, as he often does. But what is said of God and Jesus Christ is also true of the apostles. Paul, for example, does not hesitate to say, “What I am writing to you is the Lord’s command” (1Cor.14.37). The Bible makes it very clear that God is not satisfied with mere external compliance with his commandments but expects willing and joyful obedience, coming from the heart.

COMMANDMENT (מִצְוָה, H5184, commandment; etc.; ἐντολή, G1953, commandment, etc.) An authoritative word or series of words from God or man expecting obedience on the part of the hearers and readers.

Often OT references to the commandments of God refer back to the Ten Commandments and the Torah.


H. G. G. Herklots, The Ten Commandments and Modern Man (1958).

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

See The Ten Commandments.