Calling Ten Commandments ‘sayings’ draws ire of Baptists

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Senior Pastor Perry Noble of NewSpring Church, which regularly has more than 32,000 worshippers at 11 campuses across South Carolina, told congregants that no word for "commandment" exists in Hebrew, the Old Testament's original language. Photo courtesy of NewSpring Church

Senior Pastor Perry Noble of NewSpring Church, which regularly has more than 32,000 worshippers at 11 campuses across South Carolina, told congregants that no word for "commandment" exists in Hebrew, the Old Testament's original language. Photo courtesy of NewSpring Church

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GREENVILLE, S.C. (RNS) A Baptist minister is in hot water after preaching a sermon that called the Ten Commandments sayings or promises rather than mandates.

  • Pingback: Perry Noble confesses his tendency to believe everything he hears…will he repent from endorsing false teachers? | Laodicean Report()

  • Karla

    Far too many “preachers” today don’t preach the whole Truth! Two guys were
    next to Jesus on the Cross and only one guy went to heaven cause only one
    guy Repented. The Bible is the Word of God. If people claim to be Christian
    yet don’t follow the Bible/religion no Truth is in them! It does not matter how
    spiritual the people are if they aren’t Biblical they are still lost/headed for hell.
    Many think Grace allows them to sin but Grace allows us to Repent and turn
    from our sin. Big difference! Luke 13 says Repent or perish! We must Repent!

  • Tom Downs

    If we should be preaching from God’s infallible, inerrant Word, perhaps we should preach only in Hebrew or Koine Greek, as the case may be. Every translation is in fact an interpretation. Moreover, since the meaning of words change over time, perhaps we should preach only to 1st Century folk since only they would correctly understand the words as Jesus spoke them.

  • Frank

    You don’t really understand the concepts of infallible or perfect do you?

  • Garson Abuita

    The source of Noble’s misunderstanding probably was that in Judaism, the Ten Commandments are in fact referred to as Aseret Ha-Dibrot: the “ten sayings” or “ten words” (l’daber, to speak). But they are commandments or imperatives, and there is a modern and biblical Hebrew word for commandment: mitzvah. Because Judaism holds there are 613 of these, to call them “THE 10 commandments” seems misleading.
    Other than that it seems like a pretty Jewish sermon, going beyond the “pshat” plain meaning of the text and trying to find the “drash” or deeper meaning or lesson.

  • Larry

    Infallible meaning whatever you agree to and want to justify without making a reasonable explanation. We all understand it. 🙂

  • Garson Abuita

    I should also have added that the text of the Ten Commandments begins, “And God spoke all these ‘words’ (devarim)” — so this also is where the concept of the “ten sayings” is coming from. They are not labeled as “mitzvot” (commandments) in that particular section of the Torah.

  • Bill

    Larry doesn’t understand infallible either – ha ha
    it means incapable of making mistakes or being wrong.

  • George

    Interesting that the 10 Commandments do not talk against two horrible acts people commit against others:


    Perhaps the god inspired things missed a few?

  • Eric

    Frankie No-Facts, what you don’t understand could about fit in the Grand Canyon. Almost. But you keep on keepin’ on with your silly self.

  • Eric

    Poor Bill. Clearly his ability to understand sarcasm is not infallible.

  • Susan

    He’s right. The Hebrew never says the 10 Commandments. It literally says the something close to the 10 Utterances . Garson explains it very well. Karla, you can’t say the Bible is inerrant and then switch the Hebrew to suit you.

  • Karla

    Susan-What are you talking about? The Ten Commandments are still the
    mandates God gave and I didn’t switch anything. Many people don’t want
    the Bible to be true/God to be real because they don’t want to be told how
    to live. Bible is the Word of God whether people like it or not. God bless.

  • Billysees

    Didn’t Jesus gut the Ten Commandments?

    Didn’t he reduce the 10 to 2.
    1. Love God with all of your heart and soul and mind.
    2. Love others as you love yourself.

    I don’t see much of any connection between the ‘new two’ and the ‘old ten’.

    And to top that off —
    The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments……Matthew 22:40

  • Karla

    Billysees-Jesus came to fulfill the law not to abolish it. 1 Corinthians 6:9-12
    and 1 Corinthians 5 the whole chapter plus all of Luke 13 are perfect for
    people today who don’t want to Repent/follow Jesus. We all must Repent!
    Jesus said you are one of Mine only if you continue in My teachings and
    follow Me! If you say you love Jesus and then don’t follow the Bible/religion
    no Truth is in you! It’s not enough to believe in Jesus. We must follow Him!
    Romans 1:18-32 is also good for people still doubting the wrath of God.
    Bible says Repent and believe the Gospel to be saved. We all must Repent!

  • @Billysees,

    “Didn’t Jesus reduce the 10 to 2.
    1. Love God with all of your heart and soul and mind.
    2. Love others as you love yourself.”
    …The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments”


    Jesus is clear there are
    many other commands:

    “Believe and be baptized or be condemned to Hell” – Jesus (Mark 16:16)
    “Hate your parents…hate your life..or YOU ARE NOT WORTHY OF ME” – Jesus (Luke 14:26)
    “And whosoever will not receive you, when ye go out of that city, shake off the very dust from your feet AS A TESTIMONY AGAINST THEM.” – JESUS (Luke 9:3-5)

    “For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commands and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” – JESUS (Matthew 5:18-19 RSV)

    In Mark 10:19 Jesus said:

    “Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, do not steal, do not bear false witness, DEFRAUD NOT, Honour thy father and mother.”


    There is no commandment against DEFRAUDING!
    It is not a commandment.
    Instead, Jesus is ADDING Leviticus in his commands!
    Lev. 19:13 says: “Thou shalt not defraud thy neighbor,”

    JESUS INCLUDES LEVITICUS 19:13: “do not defraud” as if it was a commandment!

    SO JESUS (it can be argued) means to include LEVITICUS as part of his commandments.
    And what is the problem with that?
    “Kill homosexuals”
 (Lev. 20:13) along with 600 stoning laws and which call for death for other sins.

  • CMR

    @ Billysees- Jesus didn’t “reduce” per say, he “summed up” what the Law means. All of it can be covered in these two “commandments”. First, love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. If you DO this, then you will try as hard as humanly possible not to go against the principles God has established as righteous. You would do your best not to offend Him and incur his wrath or displeasure. Second, “Love your neighbor as yourself”, would mean that you would NOT do anything to “your neighbor” (your fellow man) that you would not want done to you. It actually goes further than the Law in that Jesus was also implying that we should be proactive in helping (loving) others. See Jesus parable of the Good Samaritan… who really made himself “neighbor” to the unfortunate one who fell among the robbers? (Luke 10:30-37)

  • Karla

    CMR-Amen/very well said! While on earth Jesus said the Father was
    greater only cause He was subjected to the will of the Trinity/Godhead
    but now Jesus is back in heaven He is co-eternal with God/Holy Spirit.
    Jesus said I and the Father are one which means Jesus was submitted
    to the will of the Father while on earth. He is part of the Godhead/Trinity.

    In Revelation 1:17-18 Jesus says I Am the First and the Last so if He
    was the First He was not created. Jesus said I AM and what did God
    say to Moses? He said I Am so Jesus was not created but He is eternal
    and was there from the start. First born over creation refers to His rank
    and Jesus had to fulfill all of Bible prophecy to show God/Jesus is Truth.

    Jesus said before Abraham I Am which again shows He wans’t created
    and the birth of Jesus was a miracle not a creation. Emmanuel means
    God with us. God/Jesus came down to us to go to the Cross for our sin.
    Bible is very clear Jesus was not created but part of the Trinity/Godhead.

  • Garson Abuita

    “Love your neighbor as yourself” isn’t going beyond the Torah, it’s quoted exactly from the Torah as written. The difference may be in how this is stated. Jesus’s “Do unto others as they would do unto you” vs. Hillel’s “What is hateful to you, do not do to others” — a statement he gave when _he_ was asked to sum up the entire Torah. Hillel is believed to have died in the Holy Land in 10 CE…

  • Mike

    So the Ten Commandments do exist? And we are to obey all TEN? Well if this is a yes, then clearly the Ten Commandments are Ten Promises as well, because WITHOUT CHRIST we can do nothing, but according to Gal. 2:20, when we have Christ in our heart, HE PROMISES you won’t do any of these sins, because its no longer “I” (you) in control. Take Christs hand into yours, and He PROMISES you won’t kill, steal, lie, disregard His holy Sabbath…..etc.

  • Billysees

    @ A Max

    Jesus is clear there are
    many other commands:”

    I’m not convinced that Jesus and scripture is clear about many things. Clarity in scripture is not evident to the casual reader, which most of us are. The Christian life simply cannot be full of difficult to understand or remember concepts using all kinds of words.

    There is a tremendous simplicity about the Christian experience and that it is the work of the ‘Spirit’ in us. That spiritual work does not need to be academic, intellectual, ecclesiastical, theological or any other hard to access activity for only the few.

    That work is called the ‘kingdom’ for…

    Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and he will give you everything you need. So don’t be afraid, little flock, for it gives your Father great happiness to give you the Kingdom………Luke 12:31,32

    …it is the simple righteousness of striving to do good works and striving to live in peace and joy in the Holy Spirit in us.

  • Billysees

    @ CMR

    Good comments that supplement what has been presented already.