The Ten Commandments




Scripture:  Exodus 20:1-17


Key Scripture Verse:  Exodus 20:2a I am the Lord your God.  20:6…. if you love me and obey my laws, I will be kind to your families for thousands of generations (Contemporary English Version)


Memory Verse:   

 “I will write my laws on their hearts and minds.  I will be their God, and they will be my people.”  Jeremiah 31:33b (CEV)



·        God wants to be in a special relationship with us.

·        God gives us rules to show us how to live with God and with others.



 1. Students will learn that God gave Moses the Ten Commandments so that people would know how to be God’s people and how to treat each other. 


2. Students will understand that these are rules and that when we are in a covenant with God, we should follow them.  We sin when we don’t obey.


3. Children will select one commandment and decorate it as a scroll in the fashion that Jewish people preserve God’s word in the Torah (the Torah is the written law described in the first five books of the Bible).



Welcome and Introductions:

1.  Welcome the children and introduce yourself.

2. Start the “lesson time” with prayer. Ask for volunteers, but plan on praying yourself. A short prayer thanking God for being a part of our lives would be appropriate. Ask God to help us to be aware of God’s presence so that we may do good things.


Bible Story:


1.  Discuss the background to today’s story. Have the children use their Bibles to locate the verses in Exodus 20:1-17. This passage relates the laws that God gave Moses to direct people how to worship God and act toward other people.  The laws explain to the people how they should live now that they are in a special covenant with God.  These laws were first written on stone tablets and afterwards the laws were copied onto parchment and rolled as scrolls.  Our ministers read these laws from Bibles, but the Jewish people still have scrolls with the commandments written on them to be read in their temples.


2.  The first four commandments teach us how to show our love for God as follows:


·        1 Exodus 20:1-4 Do not worship any god except me - God reminded the Hebrews that he had saved them from slavery (remember the flight from Egypt).  Other people might worship other gods, but we have the one true God to take care of us.

·        2 Exodus 20:4-6 Do not make idols - worship only God, not things

·        3 Exodus 20:7 Do not misuse God’s name

·        4 Exodus 20:8-11 Remember the Sabbath day 


3.  The last six commandments teach us how to relate with our family, neighbors and communities as follows:


·        5 Exodus 20:12 Respect your father and mother - show care for them

·        6 Exodus 20:13 Do not murder

·        7 Exodus 20:14 Be faithful in marriage

·        8 Exodus 20:15 Do not steal - and do not purposely damage or destroy what doesn’t belong to you

·        9 Exodus 20:16 Do not lie - or repeat untruths

·        10 Exodus 20:17 Do not want anything that belongs to someone else


4.  God gave the Ten Commandments to his people so they can live lives full of joy and the fullness of life in safety and peace.  God promises to protect our families when we obey Him and show thanks.  Later God sent Jesus to help us when we have trouble following these commandments (John 15:9-11). 


5.  Take a minute to talk to the children about the creation they are going to be doing in this workshop. Tell them that they can choose any commandment to write and illustrate in a scroll.  Remind them that God has given us gifts of creativity and their decorating of the scrolls should convey the beauty of the world.




1.  Create!  Show the children pictures of Torahs and illuminated lettering (see references).  Tell them that they should select one important commandment to print in a beautiful fashion on rice paper.


2.  Pass out materials.  Give every child a strip of  3” x 18” rice paper and a wood piece to roll it on.  Have markers and tacky glue available to share.


3.  Steps:  Apply glue to about 3”of the right side of the paper.  Wrap it around the wood sticking some paper to paper.  Starting at the left, use a fine black marker to draw a fancy capital letter and simple letters for the remainder.  Using other colored markers, the entire piece can now have decorative elements incorporated into a design - flowers, pictures, geometric designs.  When finished, the strip of paper can be rolled on the wood.


4.  Clean up! Involve all kids in this so that you will have time to share together in the closing. You may want to have a prearranged signal or sound for clean up and tell them at beginning of the art project what that will be - perhaps giving them a 5 minute warning and then the final clean up notice to allow those who need a bit more warning that they need to complete whatever they are working on.


5.  Turn out lights and lock the classroom door when leaving.


Reflection Time:


1.  Ask the shepherds to pass out Journals and pencils/markers.  The children should spend a few minutes reflecting upon the morning's lesson - Why did God give us these laws?  When we fail to keep God’s commandments, what should we do?  Will we be forgiven if we repent?  They may come up with their own questions such as “are there other gods?”




1.  Encourage the children think about what it means when we say that we have one God.


2.  Say the Key Memory Verse together (see above). You may want to have this verse printed on a banner and hung in the room, write it on the white board in the room, or have it on slips of paper that each child can take home.


3.  Pray! Ask the children if they have any prayer requests. Thank God for giving us direction so that we can do what is right.


Teacher preparation in advance:


1. Read the scripture passages and attend the Faith Quest Leaders Workshop.


2.  Prepare an opening prayer in case nobody volunteers to pray.


3.  Borrow Calligraphy books from the library to show examples of “illuminated” lettering.


4.  Check the art room to see what supplies exist.  Purchase needed supplies and make a sample.


5.  Prepare all the materials you will need for the creation process. Precut the paper.  Have the materials ready to go. There will be limited time for the creation process, so do everything you can to conserve time.


6.  Decide how you want to close the lesson. Prepare a prayer or use one of the group suggestions.




Rice  paper 12” X 18” (available in packages of 48 sheets) cut into 3” x 18”strips

Magic markers of varying thickness of points and colors (be sure to have gold)

Tacky glue

6” wood pieces:  Doll pins (packages of 20 are nicest), Craft sticks (packages of 150) also work well, Snap-Apart Craft sticks (packages of 150) which come in colors are also interesting




The Encyclopedia of Calligraphy Techniques,  Diana Hardy Wilson - pages 48 and 96

Calligraphy School, Gaynor Goff & Anne Ravenscroft - pages 166 - 169

Horizons Bible Study 2001/2 Esther’s Feast pictures a Torah at the end of each chapter