Reading the Decalogue in the Community of Faith


Murray Rae, "Reading the Decalogue in the Community of Faith," Participatio 8 (2020): 31-45; #2020-MR-1


Rae, Murray. "Reading the Decalogue in the Community of Faith." Participatio 8 (2020): 31-45; #2020-MR-1


The “Ten Commandments,” so-called, are commonly read as a set of moral or legal principles that can be abstracted from the history of Israel while still retaining their moral force. I will suggest in this paper, however, that the isolation of the commandments from Israel’s story of divine deliverance and liberation distorts the character and meaning of the text. The proper setting for the reading of the Decalogue, and indeed for the reading of Scripture as a whole, is the lived life of the community of faith. It is done best when it us guided by the liturgical life of the people of God. That liturgical life is itself a narration and enactment of Scripture’s story. It is a story that is understood only to the extent that it is also lived. The decalogue in Exodus 20 will serve as a case study for this proposal.

Biblical Theology