Teaching the 3rd and 4th Commandments to Children

July 12, 2010 at 3:44 pm | Posted in Biblical Teaching, Exodus | 10 Comments
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Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

Exodus 20:7

The Bible has many negative things to say about vanity, and Commandment No. 3 is a good starting point for teaching children what it means. “Vanity” refers to things which might mean something to people here on earth now, but will not mean anything one day in Heaven. When we take God’s name “in vain,” we make it seem like God is not important to us. That’s one reason why we don’t want to say things like “Oh God” or “Oh my God” in a casual way. Even terms like “gosh” can be a form of taking God’s name in vain. A good rule for children to remember is to only say God’s name when you are actually talking about God.

Here are some names for God in the Bible that most children can easily understand, or may know already:
1. GOD
2. JESUS
3. HOLY SPIRIT
4. HOLY GHOST
5. LORD
6. FATHER
7. ALMIGHTY
8. REDEEMER
9. SAVIOR
10. MESSIAH
11. CHRIST

Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.

Exodus 20:8

Here, under the 4th Commandment, it is important to teach children the reason why God rested. He did not “rest” because He was tired. He rested to show that He was finished with the initial work of creation, and to set an example for us. He also rested in order to set apart a special day – and some things – as special to Him. God wants us to show that we care more about Him than making money.

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  1. […] Name shall be called The mighty God. Isaiah 9:6 is not saying that one day Jesus will be The mighty God. […]

  2. […] To commemorate the third anniversary of this blog I am going to post a link to what has inexplicably become by far the most viewed post on this site. It is called “Teaching the 3rd and 4th Commandments To Children,” and I say “inexplicable” because it is probably personally my least favorite post. It was the result of me being asked to be sort of a last-minute substitute teacher for a children’s class at church. I came up with the lesson very quickly and I included it on the site just because it was next in a list of lessons I had saved. I don’t find it to be especially insightful, nor likely to be very helpful, but who knows? Maybe it’s been of use to someone. From what I can gather, it gets viewed mostly through search engine results for “teaching the 3rd Commandment” or “children’s lesson on 3rd Commandment.” In any event, you can view it here. […]

  3. […] Carly Simon when I was a kid called “You’re So Vain” that exemplified this idea. Vanity can be something that causes a lot of consternation, but doesn’t amount to anything. One […]

  4. […] Wrong to Ask for an Overt Response? (Part 1) 21. Is It Wrong to Ask for an Overt Response (Part 2) 22. Teaching the 3rd and 4th Commandments to Children (*) 22. The Lord’s Leftovers 23. Explaining the Meaning of Biblical “Authority” […]

  5. […] song by Carly Simon when I was a kid called “You’re So Vain” that exemplified this idea. Vanity can be something that causes a lot of consternation, but doesn’t amount to anything. One […]

  6. […] or million-year-long periods of time. It is also a good opportunity to remind them that God “rested” not because he was tired, but in order to demonstrate the completion of the work of ex […]

  7. […] that you are great? (boasters) Do you treat God’s name as an exclamation or an interjection? (“OMG”) Would you be satisfied if you had woken up this morning with only the things for which you had […]

  8. […] Law. They are normally thought of as something that children need to learn, or that we need to teach them to help them behave better, or that need to be posted in public, so people can see what […]

  9. […] proponents of this false Gospel at the Great White Throne judgment, because Jesus takes His name very seriously. The power of prayer is attached to Jesus’s name, and Jesus’s name is never disconnected from […]

  10. […] “Adolf Hitler!” or “Muhammadd–n!” or “Buddhad–n!” I teach my kids not to use God’s name unless we are talking to, or about, […]


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