REFRAME The 10 Commandments #1: God Sets People Free

We recently launched "ReFrame" as a sub-brand of iBelieveBible, a series dedicated to addressing larger worldview issues related to the Bible, religion, philosophy, and so on. The goal of ReFrame is to do longer-form media more native to the style of YouTube video-essays, and to create media that is more conscious of the assumptions and questions of an un-churched audience.

The pilot video in the series was an introduction to why we are doing a series on the Ten Commandments, and our first attempt at this new video format. The video this week is the second ReFrame-branded video, but the first specifically looking into the ethical questions that arise from the Ten Commandments. This week we look at "you shall have no other gods," and each subsequent video will address another until we run out of commandments.

Because these are much longer videos than our normal output, the blog posts will remain quite short. We will still be including discussion & study questions in the blog posts, but please feel free to interact with us on YouTube with your comments and questions!


  • Read Exodus 20:1-6, the "first commandment" as many traditions count it. Many traditions actually see the Second Commandment starting in verse 4, while the first commandment started in verse 2. How would you count it? Where would you say #1 and #2 start and end? Why or why not? Does it matter to you? Why or why not?
  • Read Hosea 11:1-5 and answer the following questions:
    • What is the foundational narrative for Israel as a unique nation?
    • Does Israel's status as God's "chosen" people give them specific exemption from responsibility and judgment, and does it give them unconditional favoured status over-against all other nations? Does their status as "chosen" make them untouchable?
    • How is this Hosea 11 passage related to the commandment in Exodus 20:1-6?
  • Consider the Exodus and Hosea passages from the previous two questions. How is Egypt portrayed in those passages?
  • Read Deuteronomy 4:1-8. In what ways are the laws of God specifically for Israel and in what ways are they for the benefit of the whole world?
  • Carefully read all of Jeremiah 46 and consider the following questions:
    • Why would God send Jeremiah to give prophecies to and about Egypt and the Pharaoh? Is God concerned about what happens to them?
    • Compare Jeremiahs 46:25 with 46:28. Why is there punishment for both Egypt and Israel? Does God see them as equals, or is there some other reason? Also, is punishment a sign of rejection or acceptance? (Note Hebrews 12:5-6.
    • Compare Jeremiah 46:19 with 46:26. What two different states of being are being predicted for Egypt?
    • Since Israel was also taken into exile, does it seem that there are deliberate parallels being drawn here between Israel and Egypt?
  • Read Isaiah 19:11-15 and consider the following questions:
    • To whom does this passage assign responsibility for the downfall of Egypt? What does this mean? Is God solely responsible for what happened, or are people partly to blame?
    • Read Isaiah 19:16-25, and note especially verses 20-22, and 24-25. What remarkable thing does God say about the Egyptians?
    • How do these passages in Isaiah and Jeremiah measure up when compared to the depiction of Egypt in Exodus? What does this mean for the idea of "exclusivity" in the relationship between Israel & God? How might this relate to the purpose described in Deuteronomy 4?
  • Read Matthew 2:13-15 and 2:19-21. Given that Joseph, Mary, and Jesus are Jews, what is interesting about their escape plan?
    • What prophet is referenced in verse 15?
    • Read Matthew 2:16-18 and compare it to Exodus 1:8-22. What similarities do you see? What differences and similarities are there in the role Egypt plays in the story of the Exodus and the story of the birth of Jesus?
  • There is strong historical evidence that Saint Mark (who wrote the gospel of Mark) help to establish many churches in Alexandria, Egypt. If people from all sorts of nations, even Egypt, were able to find faith in Israel's God and Israel's scriptures through Jesus, what does that mean for the purpose described in Deuteronomy 4:1-8?

Top Photo by José Ignacio Pompé on Unsplash


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