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The Eighth Commandment

The Text

The Institutes

The Catechism

The Text

Thou shalt not steal.

Exodus 20:15

Rules for Understanding the Commandments

Rushdoony's Institutes of Biblical Law

(links coming in y2k!)
  1. Dominion
  2. Theft
  3. Restitution and Forgiveness
  4. Liability of the Bystander
  5. Money and Measure
  6. Usury
  7. Responsibility
  8. Stealing Freedom
  9. Landmarks and Land
  10. The Virgin Birth and Property
  1. Fraud
  2. Eminent Domain
  3. Labor Laws
  4. Robbing God
  5. Prison
  6. Lawful Wealth
  7. Restitution to God
  8. The Rights of Strangers, Widows and Orphans
  9. Injustice as Robbery
  10. Theft and Law

The Westminster Larger Catechism (1648)

Question 140: Which is the eighth commandment?
: The eighth commandment is, Thou shalt not steal.

Question 141: What are the duties required in the eighth commandment?
: The duties required in the eighth commandment are,

  • truth,
  • faithfulness, and
  • justice in
  • contracts and
  • commerce
  • between man and man;
  • get,
  • keep,
  • use, and
  • dispose these things which are
  • necessary and
  • convenient for the sustentation of our nature,
  • and suitable to our condition;
  • an endeavor, by
    • all just and
    • lawful means,
  • to procure,
  • preserve, and
  • further the wealth and outward estate
    • of others,
    • as well as our own.

Question 142: What are the sins forbidden in the eighth commandment?
: The sins forbidden in the eighth commandment,

  • injustice and
  • unfaithfulness
  • in contracts between man and man,
  • or in matters of trust
  • all other unjust or
  • sinful ways of
  • taking or
  • withholding from our neighbor what belongs to him
  • or of enriching ourselves;
  • covetousness;
  • inordinate
  • prizing and
  • affecting

worldly goods;

  • distrustful and distracting
  • cares and studies in
    • getting,
    • keeping, and
    • using them;

The Westminster Larger Catechism (1648) explains our duties under the Eighth Commandment. You will notice that the brilliant Puritan Theologians who compiled the Catechism discerned duties in passages of Scripture which do not begin with the words "Thou shalt" or "Thou shalt not."
Every word of God is a command for us.
But even the "thou shalts" and the "thou shalt nots" demand more from us than we might first think:
How to Study the Ten Commandments

How to use the Catechism for a Moral Inventory

First, you must agree that the Catechism has correctly explained the implications of the Commandment. Assuming it has, you must agree with God that you are obligated to carry out those principles in your life.

Second you must ask yourself if you have violated each aspect of the command.

Third, you must take steps to develop the Character of Christ, and eliminate "character defects" from your life.

The Ten Commandments Home Page

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