Translating the Ten Commandments | UMC YoungPeople
Connecting young people and their adult leaders to God, the church, and the world
February 2018

Translating the Ten Commandments

By Rebekah Bled

Though the Ten Commandments are well known even today in popular culture, they can be a little less than clear when it comes to the lives of teens today. What does it mean in the 21st century to not worship idols? Why should students in your group choose to not covet? And what in the world is coveting? This hands-on activity will help students explore the Ten Commandments and understand them as they put them in their own words.

Divide students into groups of two or three. Give each group some card stock, markers, and a Bible. Instruct the groups to draw a tablet resembling the one the original Ten Commandments were inscribed on. Then, instruct the group to work together to rewrite the Ten Commandments on their tablet in their own words.

It may be helpful to have students work through the Commandments one by one, completing the sentences:

  • I think God gave his people this commandment to help them________.
  • If I had to explain this commandment to someone at my school, I would say______.

Students may find it helpful to take notes on their phone or a piece of scratch paper. Once they have completed their work, have them transfer it onto their tablets.

The goal of this exercise is to give students an opportunity to dig deeper into scripture, contextualizing it for their environments.

Rebekah Bled has served in missions with YWAM in Central America and Europe, as a Youth Minister in South America, and now as the College and Young Adult Minister at First United Methodist Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Rebekah is a graduate of Oklahoma Wesleyan University and an Intercultural Studies and Church Planting student at Asbury Theological Seminary. She is married to her soulmate, Philippe. Rebekah likes telling stories, collecting magnets at airports, and empowering the agency of teenagers and young adults.