Commandment #6 – Do not Murder

Opening Question

“Each and every commandment exposes the inclinations of our evil hearts.”  Discuss.

Exodus 20:13

You shall not murder.

In the beginning (5 mins)

Genesis 1 and 2 contain the absence of murder. Death is mentioned here only as a warning (Gen 2:17). Rather, the chapters are filled with life! Genesis 3 describes the Fall when the serpent sows doubt with regards to God’s death threat! (Genesis 3:4)

It is Genesis 4 where we read of the first murder. Read Genesis 4:1-16. Verse 8 describes the murder, but what is the warning in Verse 6-7? Focus on those two verses and discuss.

Before the actual murder, Cain has anger brewing in his heart. God warns him to change his thoughts – focus on what is good and not what is evil. Sin is like a dog that if you let it off the chain it will overpower you. The problem was with Cain before the actual murder took place.

Genesis 4:23 describes a man who boasts in his ease of killing others in revenge.

See also Genesis 9:6. What does this tell us about the significance of murder? 

Being made in God’s image is important. We are not equal with the animal kingdom. See Genesis 9:1-6 – eating meat is not murder – although there are still regulations around that.

The command to Israel (5 mins)

What does the 6th commandment presume about life?

The key word in this commandment is ‘murder’ rather than ‘kill’. The Penteteuch contains many occasions when putting a person to death is called on (this is a civil rule given to the nation of Israel). No person has the right to take another person’s life for personal reasons.

Israel’s history (10 mins)

Read over Exodus 21:12-32 to get an overview of how various situations are dealt with.

Note also Leviticus 19:18

The Gospel (10 mins)

Read Matthew 5:21-26

To what extent does Jesus broaden this commandment?

He would declare Cain guilty even before he struck a physical blow to Abel. ‘Raca’ might be like saying ‘go to hell!’ Ironic that this is exactly where a comment like that might take you!

Discuss what is said in Verses 23-24.

Jesus may be inferring that Abel could have done more in the Genesis 4 account!

What are some counter moves to keep this command?

Be proactive in love. Don’t simply avoid killing people out of passion, but work on our love for one another – mend relationships soon.

See Matthew 7:12

Note that Jesus puts our behaviour toward others as the primary agenda for fulfilling the laws. 

Christian Living (15 mins)

The Christian way is to love as demonstrated by God’s love for us. Romans 5:8 teaches us that God demonstrates his own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Christ himself, left his throne – the ultimate altar – to make reconciliation with his enemies – you and I! While we were haters of God, Christ came and made peace between us and God. Christ’s fulfillment of this command is to demonstrate the ultimate gift of life. Rather than taking life, he brings us to life! (see Ephesians 2:4-5)

Look up some or all of these passages to spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Perhaps challenge one another to pick one reference and make it your memory verse for this week.

  • Colossians 3:12-14
  • Galatians 5:22-25
  • Romans 12:9-21