What are the Ten Commandments?

The lessons on this page have been written as simple as possible to help young children and older kids understand what the Ten Commandments are and to also help them remember what the number of each Commandment is by using a fun flash game further down this page.

These Commandments are God's set of super special rules called laws that show us what things are right and what things are wrong, and so they also tell us how to love God and how to love other people by not doing wrong and hurtful things to them.

These ten very special rules from God can be found in two places in the Bible. The first place is in Exodus chapter 20 and verses 2 to 17, which is normally written as Exodus 20:2-17. These words were personally spoken by God and were written on two stone tablets with God's very own finger. These two stone tablets were then put inside a very beautiful golden box with two golden cherubim angels on top. This extraordinary and beautiful golden box was called the Ark of the Covenant.

The second place in the Bible were they can be found is in Deuteronomy chapter 5 verses 6 to 21 which would normally be written down as Deuteronomy 5:6-21. The word Deuteronomy means the second reading of the law and this second copy was written down by Moses. A Bible list of the Ten Commandments from Exodus 20:2-17 and Deuteronomy 5:6-21 can be found on this page.

The Ten Commandments are also called the “Decalogue” and the “moral law.” The word Decalogue means the ten statements and the word “moral” is about what is right and what is wrong. If they say someone has good morals then they are a person who always tries hard to do what things are good and right.

God's ten moral laws also show the character of God and what His personality is like. The Bible has many verses that tell us that God's law is Love, Truth, Good, Perfect, Eternal, Holy, Pure, Just, Faithful, Happiness, Righteous and much more. And for every verse that tells us that God's law is all these wonderful things, there are also verses that tell us that God is also all these same things. So God is also Love, Good, Perfect, Faithful and all the other wonderful things that show how God loves us and is perfect and faithful. See this page for a list and all the Bible verses that show the character of God is like a reflection of His law.

Below are three different lists of the Commandments from the Bible. The one on the left hand side with black writing is from the King James Bible and is not always easy to understand for young children. The list in the middle in purple writing is from “International Children's Bible” and is much easier to understand. And the one on the right side in blue writing is not from any Bible translation and have just been written down simply so that these ten great rules from God are much easier to understand for young children and kids.

No. King James Bible International Children's Bible Ten Commandments For Kids
1 I am the LORD your God, which have brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before me. I am the Lord your God. I brought you out of the land of Egypt where you were slaves. You must not have any other gods except me. Put God first.
2 You shall not make unto you 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: You shall not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD your 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 showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my Commandments. You must not make for yourselves any idols. Don't make something that looks like anything in the sky above or on the earth below or in the water below the land. You must not worship or serve any idol. This is because I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God. A person may sin against me and hate me. I will punish his children, even his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. But I will be very kind to thousands who love me and obey my commands. Worship God only.
3 You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. You must not use the name of the Lord your God thoughtlessly. The Lord will punish anyone who is guilty and misuses his name. Use God's name with respect.
4 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shall you labour, and do all your work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD your God: in it you shall not do any work, you, nor your son, nor your daughter, your manservant, nor your maidservant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger that is within your gates: 11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. Remember to keep the Sabbath as a holy day. You may work and get everything done during six days each week. But the seventh day is a day of rest to honor the Lord your God. On that day no one may do any work: not you, your son or daughter, or your men or women slaves. Neither your animals nor the foreigners living in your cities may work. The reason is that in six days the Lord made everything. He made the sky, earth, sea and everything in them. And on the seventh day, he rested. So the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. Remember God's Sabbath.
5 Honour your father and your mother: that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God giveth you. Honor your father and your mother. Then you will live a long time in the land. The Lord your God is going to give you this land. Respect your parents.
6 You shall not kill. You must not murder anyone. Do not hurt other people.
7 You shall not commit adultery. You must not be guilty of adultery. Be faithful in marriage.
8 You shall not steal. You must not steal. Do not steal.
9 You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour. You must not tell lies about your neighbor in court. Do not lie.
10 You shall not covet your neighbour's house, you shall not covet your neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is your neighbour's. You must not want to take your neighbor's house. You must not want his wife or his men or women slaves. You must not want his ox or his donkey. You must not want to take anything that belongs to your neighbor. Do not want what is not yours.

Children's Ten Commandments by Picture

The picture below has cute little pictures to also help children understand the Commandments better.

The Ten Commandments for children

The Ten Commandments are about love

God's Ten special rules can also be divided into two separate groups and this is how God wrote them on the two stone tablets. The first four rules are all about loving God and not doing the wrong thing that would hurt and upset God and make Him sad. These are the first four Commandments that you can find above. So if we truly love God then we will not have other false God's before Him, and we will only worship Him who is the only true God, and we will not use His name in a bad way that you hear many people do today. And the fourth Commandment is about resting and spending time with God on His Holy day. Number four says this day is the seventh day, which is Saturday. It was man who changed the day to Sunday a very long time ago and why most people go to Church on Sunday today. Most people do not know that man changed God's Sabbath day to Sunday and do not understand that this day is important to God and that He is not happy about what happened. So some people go to Church on Saturday but most go on Sunday.

The second group of rules is all about not doing wrong or bad things to other people. So that means that they are also rules about loving people. These are the last six Commandments that you can also find above. If we are loving all people as we should be then we will not disrespect our parents and we will love and obey them unless they ask us to do something bad that breaks one of the Ten Commandments. Most mums and dads would never do this of course. We would also not kill or hurt someone, and we would be faithful in our marriage, and we would not lie or steal or want things that we cannot have that belong to other people.

One day a lawyer tried to trick Jesus into saying which was the greatest Commandment. But Jesus knew the lawyer was trying to trick Him so Jesus answered him by dividing these ten rules into two BIG Commandments that still meant the same thing.

Jesus said the first ONE is the greatest Commandment and is to love God with all your heart, soul and might. We can find this written in the Bible in Matthew 22:36-38 and Deuteronomy 6:5.

And number TWO is the second greatest and is to love your neighbour (this means all people) as much as you love yourself. We can find this written in the Bible in Matthew 22:39; Leviticus 19:18 and James 2:8.

So these two BIG special rules tell us that if we love God with all our heart then we would be obeying the first four Commandments. And if we love our neighbour as we love ourselves then we would be obeying the last six Commandments. So both these two BIG rules are Commandments about love also and if we keep them both then we would be still keeping all ten of the Commandments. The Bible tells us that God is love just like these Commandments are love. (See 1 John 4:8, 1 John 4:16 and 1 John 5:3)

God also tells us in the Bible that He wants us to keep His Commandments because He loves us and wants us to live happy and safe lives. (See Proverbs 29:18) And the Apostle Paul in the Bible tells us that these ten special rules are to show us what is right and what is wrong. (See Romans 7:7)

The Ten Commandments are a bit like a mirror since they show us when we have done the wrong thing and how we need to be clean before the Day of Judgment. That is the Day God will punish people who have broken the His Commandments and have not been forgiven. They will be sent to a place called “Hell” which is a place where God doesn't EVER want people to go because He loves us so very much.

God doesn't want anyone to be punished so He made a way for us to be clean before Judgment Day. Here is a short story that explains what a wonderful thing God and His only son have done for us.

There was a father who had a son who was very naughty and did lots of bad things and even found himself in trouble with the police for stealing. The judge in the court said that the son had to pay a $5,000 dollar fine or he had to go to jail. But the boy did not have any money and so he was going to have to go to prison. However, the Father loved his son very much and paid the fine for Him so he did not have to go to jail.

God did the same thing for us by sending His son to live on this Earth and die on the cross for us so that we do not have to pay the price for all the wrong things that we sometimes do that we did not mean to. So Jesus took our punishment for us and He rose from the grave on the third day and went back to be with His Father. So this means that God does not have to punish us because Jesus took the punishment for us. Can you imagine how much love a person must have that they would be willing to die for us? So because of what Jesus did we can live with God forever in heaven.

To live with God forever, this is what we need to do. Ask God to forgive you for breaking any of His Commandments (this is called “sin”) and then give your life to Jesus by asking Him to live inside you. Spend some time with God each day by praying and reading your Bible. It has lots of fantastic stories. Start with the John in the New Testament. Remember to ask Jesus to forgive you whenever you accidentally do the wrong thing and sin. When you do that, God promises that you will be forgiven and that you will live forever with Him and His son in heaven. The end of the book of Revelation tells us that it is a very beautiful place.

Can you Name The Ten Commandments?

So how well do you children know the Ten Commandments? God must be very sad that not many people today know them very well at all. Only 14% of people who live in America can name all of them without any mistakes. There were more people (25%) that could name all the ingredients of a popular hamburger that you can buy. Only 60% of Americans knew the Commandment that says “You must not kill.” And less than 45% remembered the Commandment to “Honour your father and mother.” Even most of the people who go to Church once a week had trouble naming all the Commandments. So how well do you know them?

To play the game quiz below, just drag the blank stone or the words that go with the blank stone with your left mouse button and let the mouse button go when it is over the top of the stone with the correct number on it that matches the right Commandment from the Ten Commandments. Every second time you get a wrong answer, it will fill in one of the squares that make up a picture of the golden calf. If the picture becomes fully drawn because of too many wrong answers the game will be over and you will have lost that game. But you can play the game again and try to get them all right as many times as you want. You can also click on the words that say Mute Music down in the bottom right hand corner of the game screen to turn music on and off.

The Ten Commandments word game

Children, how many words can you find from the picture below? They are taken from those Ten very special rules about love that God wrote in stone with His own finger. The words can be horizontal or diagonal so you will need to look very carefully to find all the words.

Childrens word search game from the Ten Commandments


I hope that all children visiting here have enjoyed learning about these special Commandments that tell us how to love God and other people. If something was too hard to understand then please send us an email telling us what we can do to make it easier for you. Thank you for visiting this web site.