Products>The Ten Commandments: A Guide to the Perfect Law of Liberty

The Ten Commandments: A Guide to the Perfect Law of Liberty

ISBN: 9781683593553
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Do You Believe?

You know them. But do you understand them?

The Ten Commandments have become so familiar to us that we don’t think about what they actually mean. They’ve been used by Christians throughout history as the basis for worship, confessions, prayer, even civil law.

Are these ancient words still relevant for us today? Their outward simplicity hides their inward complexity. Jesus himself sums up the entire law in a pair of commandments: Love God with all your heart, mind, and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself.

Peter Leithart re-introduces the Ten Commandments. He shows us how they address every arena of human life, giving us a portrait of life under the lordship of Jesus, who is the heart and soul of the commandments.


Praise for The Ten Commandments

This little gem of a book is the best introduction to the Ten Commandments I have yet come across. I learned something new on almost every page.

—Kevin J. Vanhoozer, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, author of Biblical Authority after Babel

Peter Leithart mines the riches of the biblical tradition to show us the way to true freedom.

–R. R. Reno, editor of First Things

Here is a treatment that looks to Jesus as the heart and soul of the Ten Words.

–Hans Boersma, Nashotah House Theological Seminary, author of Scripture as Real Presence

This meditation on the Ten Words will richly reward every Christian reader's attention.

–Alan Jacobs, Baylor University, author of How to Think

The Ten Commandments seem like an ancient relic, but Leithart shows their modern relevance.

–Patrick Schreiner, Western Seminary, author of The Kingdom of God and the Glory of the Cross

Top Highlights

“According to Scripture, Torah is the ‘perfect law of liberty’ (Jas 1:25; 2:12). A community dominated by disrespect for parents, workaholism, violence, envy, theft, and lies isn’t free. Besides, absolute freedom is impossible. In the world God made, the world that actually exists, things aren’t free to do or be anything they please. They’re free when they become what they are. An acorn is free to become an oak, not an elephant. The Ten Words guide Israel to grow up to be what he is, the son who rules in his Father’s house (see Gal 4:1–7).” (Page 5)

“He’s spoken ten words before. Ten times Genesis 1 repeats, ‘And God spoke.’ At Sinai, God again speaks ten words that, if guarded and obeyed, will form Israel into a new creation. These ten new-creative words present the form of new creation.” (Page 2)

“The promise of the new covenant is not that we’re liberated from God’s word, but that we’re liberated to keep it.” (Page 28)

“Sabbath serves as a weekly recognition of human limitations and God’s generosity. Sabbath is our fundamental stance as creatures, one of receptivity.” (Page 57)

“God binds his Name and reputation to us. Whether his name is praised or blasphemed depends on whether we bear his name with the weight it deserves. It is a weighty responsibility to bear the weighty Name of the living God before the world.” (Page 50)

Christian Essentials

The Christian Essentials series passes down tradition that matters. The ancient church was founded on basic biblical teachings and practices like the Ten Commandments, baptism, the Apostles’ Creed, the Lord’s Supper, the Lord’s Prayer, and corporate worship. These basics of the Christian life have sustained and nurtured every generation of the faithful—from the apostles to today. The books in the Christian Essentials series open up the meaning of the foundations of our faith.

Learn more about the other titles in this series.


  • Father To Son
  • Two Tables
  • No Gods Before Me
  • No Graven Images
  • Bearing The Name
  • Commemorate Sabbath
  • Command With Promise
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill
  • Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery
  • Thou Shalt Not Steal

Product Details

  • Title: The Ten Commandments: A Guide to the Perfect Law of Liberty
  • Author: Peter J. Leithart
  • Publisher: Lexham Press
  • Publication Date: 2020
  • Page Count: 144
  • Format: Logos Digital, Hardcover
  • Trim Size: 5x7
  • ISBN: 9781683593553

About Peter J. Leithart

Peter J. Leithart is President of the Theopolis Institute (, a Christian study center and leadership training institute in Birmingham, Alabama.

Sample Pages from The Ten Commandments


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  1. Jesvin Jose

    Jesvin Jose


    Peter Leithart is a theologian who can get creative with his writing. In this fresh look at the Ten commandments, he points to Christ as the fulfillment of the “Ten Words”. He shows us how these Ten Words speak to every area of our lives, including “worship, time keeping, family, violence, sex, property, speech and desire.” Leithart reminds us that God’s first command was to His first son Adam, while at Sinai, God gives His Ten commands to His son, the new Adam (Israel). These Ten Words reveal the character of God, designed to form Israel into the image of the Father. They also reveal Israel’s mission of imitating and imaging the Father. These Ten Words guide Israel to be what Israel actually is or must be – “the son who rules in His Father’s house.” The Ten Words also reveal Jesus, the Son of God. To the question, “Is the Decalogue for us?”, Leithart answers, “We might as well ask, 'Is Jesus for us?'” Reflecting on the First commandment, Leithart is very insightful. The First Word, he writes, “doesn’t merely refer to ranking (no God higher than me) but to position (no God in my vicinity).” He asks practical questions like, “When you’re cornered, do you lash out and blame others. Do you have so much trouble admitting your sins that you scapegoat your wife or husband, your parents or children?” If yes, then he says we are nothing but idolaters. The Second Word, he suggests, doesn’t prohibit all representational art, but rather making images to bow before and serve them. This is nothing but spiritual adultery. The unseen God has been seen in the person of Jesus, but even after the incarnation, Leithart reminds us that we still live by the ear! On the Third Word, Leithart reminds his readers that the prohibition is for us to speak and live as if God doesn’t matter. We are to bear His name with the weight it deserves - in everything we do! The Fourth Word reminds us of the Sabbath, which “pauses life’s noise”, which recognizes human limits, and most importantly, reminds us of the Sovereign Lord. The Fifth Word reminds us to honor parents, to give weight to their opinions and advice, while the Sixth Word reminds us that all of life is sacred. Leithart makes beautiful connections between the various commandments and shows us how one commandment is often an extension of another. I thoroughly enjoyed these connections he makes! I also love the way he keeps pointing to the gospel in each of these brief expositions. Reflecting on the 7th commandment, Leithart writes, "Sexual faithfulness in marriage and sexual purity outside of marriage aren’t mere demands of law. Sexual faithfulness preaches the gospel. When a husband and wife are faithful to one another, sexually and otherwise, they become a created symbol of the covenant God who keeps his vows to Israel and the new Israel. By keeping the Seventh Word, we dramatize the good news of Jesus, the Bridegroom of the church, who gives himself in utter fidelity to and for his Bride”. We often don’t think of our personal choices this way, but we must! Even though these are brief expositions, each of these are helpful reminders and pointers to the God of the Ten Commandments. I enjoyed Leithart’s creative writing and will recommend the book for an introduction to the Ten Words. *Note: Thanks to Lexham Press for a complimentary copy. I was not required to write a positive review.*
  2. J-P O

    J-P O


  3. Abigail Stocker
  4. Todd Hains

    Todd Hains



Print list price: $15.99
Save $6.00 (37%)