Telling the Truth

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 I’ve really enjoyed Patrick Miller’s commentary on the Ten Commandments in the Interpretation commentary series (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2009).  This is a 400+ page commentary that includes an extensive Scripture index, topical index, and bibliography.  For each commandment, Miller examines the historical context, parallel themes in the Hebrew Bible, and the New Testament implications as well.  I really appreciate how Miller thoroughly gives the OT depth of each commandment.  This isn’t really a redemptive historical exposition of the commandments, but it is certainly worth having on the shelf if you’re going to study, preach, or teach on the Ten Commandments.  Here’s the opening paragraph of his exposition of the ninth commandment which I thought was helpful.

“With the commandment against false witness, the covenantal requirements for living with one’s neighbor move from dominant concerns for actions to an explicit focus on words and speaking.  It would be a mistake, however, to see this movement as one from more serious matters to lesser concerns.  Quite the contrary.  The prohibition against bearing false witness is not so much a general rule against lying as it is a guard against the capacity of words and speaking to endanger one’s neighbor in various ways, or indeed, to bring about violation of the commandments that precede from this one.  Telling the truth is thus a neighbor matter.  It is a form of the love of neighbor and a significant aspect of upholding communal relations.  Safeguarding the neighbor by safeguarding truth is an inevitable sequence to the protection of the neighbor’s marriage, life, and property, for lying against a neighbor creates a domino effect undoing the other safeguards.  Truth or consequences is indeed the choice in speaking about one’s neighbor.”

This isn’t the only commentary to use for the Ten Commandments, but it is one that I wouldn’t go without.  The above quote is taken from page 343, by the way. 

shane lems