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Shorter Catechism

𝒬 69. What is forbidden in the sixth commandment?

𝒜. The sixth commandment forbiddeth the taking away of our own life, or the life of our neighbor unjustly, or whatsoever tendeth thereunto.1

  1. Genesis 9:6

    “Whoever sheds the blood of man,
    by man shall his blood be shed,
    for God made man in his own image.

    Matthew 5:22

    But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.

    1 John 3:15

    Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. (ESV)

Larger Catechism

𝒬 136. What are the sins forbidden in the sixth commandment?

𝒜. The sins forbidden in the sixth commandment are, all taking away the life of ourselves,1 or of others,2 except in case of public justice,3 lawful war,4 or necessary defense;5 the neglecting or withdrawing the lawful and necessary means of preservation of life;6 sinful anger,7 hatred,8 envy,9 desire of revenge;10 all excessive passions,11 distracting cares;12 immoderate use of meat, drink,13 labor,14 and recreations;15 provoking words,16 oppression,17 quarreling,18 striking, wounding,19 and whatsoever else tends to the destruction of the life of any.20

  1. Acts 16:28

    But Paul cried with a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.” (ESV)

  2. Genesis 9:6

    “Whoever sheds the blood of man,
    by man shall his blood be shed,
    for God made man in his own image. (ESV)

  3. Numbers 35:31

    Moreover, you shall accept no ransom for the life of a murderer, who is guilty of death, but he shall be put to death.

    Numbers 35:33

    You shall not pollute the land in which you live, for blood pollutes the land, and no atonement can be made for the land for the blood that is shed in it, except by the blood of the one who shed it.

    Romans 13:4

    for he is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer. (ESV)

  4. Deuteronomy 20

    20:1 “When you go out to war against your enemies, and see horses and chariots and an army larger than your own, you shall not be afraid of them, for the Lord your God is with you, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. And when you draw near to the battle, the priest shall come forward and speak to the people and shall say to them, ‘Hear, O Israel, today you are drawing near for battle against your enemies: let not your heart faint. Do not fear or panic or be in dread of them, for the Lord your God is he who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies, to give you the victory.’ Then the officers shall speak to the people, saying, ‘Is there any man who has built a new house and has not dedicated it? Let him go back to his house, lest he die in the battle and another man dedicate it. And is there any man who has planted a vineyard and has not enjoyed its fruit? Let him go back to his house, lest he die in the battle and another man enjoy its fruit. And is there any man who has betrothed a wife and has not taken her? Let him go back to his house, lest he die in the battle and another man take her.’ And the officers shall speak further to the people, and say, ‘Is there any man who is fearful and fainthearted? Let him go back to his house, lest he make the heart of his fellows melt like his own.’ And when the officers have finished speaking to the people, then commanders shall be appointed at the head of the people.

    “When you draw near to a city to fight against it, offer terms of peace to it. And if it responds to you peaceably and it opens to you, then all the people who are found in it shall do forced labor for you and shall serve you. But if it makes no peace with you, but makes war against you, then you shall besiege it. And when the Lord your God gives it into your hand, you shall put all its males to the sword, but the women and the little ones, the livestock, and everything else in the city, all its spoil, you shall take as plunder for yourselves. And you shall enjoy the spoil of your enemies, which the Lord your God has given you. Thus you shall do to all the cities that are very far from you, which are not cities of the nations here. But in the cities of these peoples that the Lord your God is giving you for an inheritance, you shall save alive nothing that breathes, but you shall devote them to complete destruction, the Hittites and the Amorites, the Canaanites and the Perizzites, the Hivites and the Jebusites, as the Lord your God has commanded, that they may not teach you to do according to all their abominable practices that they have done for their gods, and so you sin against the Lord your God.

    “When you besiege a city for a long time, making war against it in order to take it, you shall not destroy its trees by wielding an axe against them. You may eat from them, but you shall not cut them down. Are the trees in the field human, that they should be besieged by you? Only the trees that you know are not trees for food you may destroy and cut down, that you may build siegeworks against the city that makes war with you, until it falls.

    Hebrews 11:32-34

    And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets— who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. (ESV)

  5. Exodus 22:2

    If a thief is found breaking in and is struck so that he dies, there shall be no bloodguilt for him, (ESV)

  6. Matthew 25:42-43

    For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’

    James 2:15-16

    If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? (ESV)

  7. Matthew 5:22

    But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. (ESV)

  8. 1 John 3:15

    Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.

    Leviticus 19:17

    “You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason frankly with your neighbor, lest you incur sin because of him. (ESV)

  9. Proverbs 14:30

    A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh,
    but envy makes the bones rot. (ESV)

  10. Romans 12:19

    Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” (ESV)

  11. Ephesians 4:31

    Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. (ESV)

  12. Matthew 6:31

    Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’

    Matthew 6:34

    “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. (ESV)

  13. Luke 21:34

    “But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap.

    Romans 13:13

    Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. (ESV)

  14. Ecclesiastes 12:12

    My son, beware of anything beyond these. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh.

    Ecclesiastes 2:22-23

    What has a man from all the toil and striving of heart with which he toils beneath the sun? For all his days are full of sorrow, and his work is a vexation. Even in the night his heart does not rest. This also is vanity. (ESV)

  15. Isaiah 5:12

    They have lyre and harp,
    tambourine and flute and wine at their feasts,
    but they do not regard the deeds of the Lord,
    or see the work of his hands. (ESV)

  16. Proverbs 15:1

    15:1 A soft answer turns away wrath,
    but a harsh word stirs up anger.

    Proverbs 12:18

    There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts,
    but the tongue of the wise brings healing. (ESV)

  17. Exodus 1:14

    and made their lives bitter with hard service, in mortar and brick, and in all kinds of work in the field. In all their work they ruthlessly made them work as slaves.

    Isaiah 3:15

    What do you mean by crushing my people,
    by grinding the face of the poor?”
    declares the Lord God of hosts. (ESV)

  18. Galatians 5:15

    But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.

    Proverbs 23:29

    Who has woe? Who has sorrow?
    Who has strife? Who has complaining?
    Who has wounds without cause?
    Who has redness of eyes? (ESV)

  19. Numbers 35:16-21

    “But if he struck him down with an iron object, so that he died, he is a murderer. The murderer shall be put to death. And if he struck him down with a stone tool that could cause death, and he died, he is a murderer. The murderer shall be put to death. Or if he struck him down with a wooden tool that could cause death, and he died, he is a murderer. The murderer shall be put to death. The avenger of blood shall himself put the murderer to death; when he meets him, he shall put him to death. And if he pushed him out of hatred or hurled something at him, lying in wait, so that he died, or in enmity struck him down with his hand, so that he died, then he who struck the blow shall be put to death. He is a murderer. The avenger of blood shall put the murderer to death when he meets him. (ESV)

  20. Exodus 21:18-36

    “When men quarrel and one strikes the other with a stone or with his fist and the man does not die but takes to his bed, then if the man rises again and walks outdoors with his staff, he who struck him shall be clear; only he shall pay for the loss of his time, and shall have him thoroughly healed.

    “When a man strikes his slave, male or female, with a rod and the slave dies under his hand, he shall be avenged. But if the slave survives a day or two, he is not to be avenged, for the slave is his money.

    “When men strive together and hit a pregnant woman, so that her children come out, but there is no harm, the one who hit her shall surely be fined, as the woman's husband shall impose on him, and he shall pay as the judges determine. But if there is harm, then you shall pay life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.

    “When a man strikes the eye of his slave, male or female, and destroys it, he shall let the slave go free because of his eye. If he knocks out the tooth of his slave, male or female, he shall let the slave go free because of his tooth.

    “When an ox gores a man or a woman to death, the ox shall be stoned, and its flesh shall not be eaten, but the owner of the ox shall not be liable. But if the ox has been accustomed to gore in the past, and its owner has been warned but has not kept it in, and it kills a man or a woman, the ox shall be stoned, and its owner also shall be put to death. If a ransom is imposed on him, then he shall give for the redemption of his life whatever is imposed on him. If it gores a man's son or daughter, he shall be dealt with according to this same rule. If the ox gores a slave, male or female, the owner shall give to their master thirty shekels of silver, and the ox shall be stoned.

    “When a man opens a pit, or when a man digs a pit and does not cover it, and an ox or a donkey falls into it, the owner of the pit shall make restoration. He shall give money to its owner, and the dead beast shall be his.

    “When one man's ox butts another's, so that it dies, then they shall sell the live ox and share its price, and the dead beast also they shall share. Or if it is known that the ox has been accustomed to gore in the past, and its owner has not kept it in, he shall repay ox for ox, and the dead beast shall be his. (ESV)


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Based on Calendar of Readings in the Westminster Standards by Dr. Joey Pipa. Scripture taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. Copyright ©2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.