This Week’s Catechism – 5/5

Doctrinal Standard #67-68

  • Q. What is the sixth commandment?
  • A. The sixth commandment is: You shall not murder.
  • Q. What does the sixth commandment require?
  • A. The sixth commandment requires making every lawful effort to preserve one’s own life and the lives of others.

Memory Verses

  •  “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image” (Genesis 9:6, ESV).


  • Study Passage: Numbers 35:9-28
  • Support Passages: I John 3:15; Matthew 5:21-26; John 8:44; Exodus 21:22-32; Deuteronomy 22:8; Joshua 20,21
  • Bible Story: 1 Kings 21


  • Below is taken from Training Hearts, Teaching Minds page 227.
  • “We might feel pleased with ourselves for obeying the commandment not to murder because we have never killed anyone. This commandment goes beyond that, though. It required us to make every lawful effort to preserve life. If we could provide things that would keep people from dying, we must love them enough to give them those things. If we do not, we are at least partly responsible if they die because they did not have what they needed. God is not satisfied if we simply do not kill people. God requires us to show love and compassion by sharing with those who are in need.” [1]
  •  Below is taken from C.I. Williamson book The Westminster Shorter Catechism page 248.
  • “It is equally important to stress the fact that it is not always an act of murder when a human life is taken by another person. This can be clearly seen from the fact that when God gave Moses these Ten Commandments, He also gave him an inspired interpretation of these Ten Commandments in the books of the law (Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy). In this divinely inspired interpretation we clearly see that there are times when it may be necessary to kill a human being in order to keep this commandment… ‘If  a thief be found breaking in,’ says Exodus 22:2, ‘and be smitten that he die, there shall no blood be shed for him.’ This means that when a prowler tries to break into my house, I have the duty to try and to protect my family from the harm that this person might do to them. And if, in this just defense of life, the life of the prowler be taken, it is not a case of murder. It is, in other words, the thief alone who is at fault and he alone who caused the violence resulting in his own death.” [2]

Discussion Questions

  • What is the sixth commandment?
  • What does the sixth commandment require?
  • Provide examples on how we are required to preserve life.
  • Why is murder wrong?
  • Is there a difference between murder and killing?
  • How can we guard our heart from breaking this commandment?

[1] Meade, Starr (2000). Training Heart, Teaching Minds. Phillipsburg, New Jersey, USA; P&R Publishing Company.

[2] Williamson, C.I. (2003). The Westminster Shorter Catechism – 2nd Edition. Phillipsburg, New Jersey, USA; P&R Publishing Company.

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