What is the Seventh Commandment?

This entry is part 11 of 44 in the series What are Catechisms?


The answers below come from Luther’s Small Catechism. The Lutheran church numbers the commandments differently than most Protestant denominations1, which is why the title of this article refers to the seventh commandment, but the answers below list indicate sixth.

Seventh Commandment

  • You shall not commit adultery. (Exodus 20:14 ESV)
  • And you shall not commit adultery. (Deuteronomy 5:18 ESV)

You shall not commit adultery. What does this mean?2

We should fear and love God so that we lead a sexually pure and decent life in what we say and do, and husband and wife love and honor each other.

How do we lead a sexually pure and decent life?3

We lead a sexually pure and decent life when we

  • Consider sexuality to be a good gift of God. (Genesis 1:27, 31)
  • Honor marriage as God’s institution, the lifelong union of one man and one woman. (Genesis 2:24-25; Mark 10:6-9)
  • Reserve sexual intercourse for the marriage partner alone. (Hebrews 13:4)
  • Control sexual urges in a God-pleasing way. (Titus 2:11-12)

What does God forbid in the Sixth Commandment?4

  • God forbids divorce except for marital unfaithfulness (adultery or desertion). (Matthew 19:6; Matthew 19:9; 1 Corinthians 7:15)
    • Bible narratives: David committed adultery with the wife of Uriah. (2 Samuel 11) Herod took his brother’s wife (Mark 6:18)
  • God forbids sexual intercourse between unmarried persons. (1 Corinthians 6:18; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10)
  • God forbids sexual sins such as rape, homosexual activity, incest, sexual child abuse, obscenity, and the use of pornographic materials. (Romans 1:24, 26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10)
  • God forbids sexually impure thoughts. (Matthew 5:28; Matthew 15:19)

What does God require of us in the Sixth Commandment?5

  • God requires us to avoid all temptations to sexual sin. (Genesis 39:9; 1 Corinthians 6:18)
  • God requires us to be clean in what we think and say. (Ephesians 5:3-4; Philippians 4:8)
  • God requires us to use our sexuality in ways pleasing to Him. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

What does God require especially of married people?6

God requires married people to love, honor, and respect each other. The wife is the husband’s God-given helper, and the husband is the wife’s God-given head. (Genesis 2:18; 1 Corinthians 7:4; Ephesians 4:32; Ephesians 5:21-23, 25)


Series Navigation<< What is the Sixth Commandment?What is the Eighth Commandment? >>

What are Catechisms? (44 articles)


  1. Why Are The Ten Commandments Numbered Differently?
  2. Luther’s Small Catechism (1529)
  3. Luther’s Small Catechism (1529), Question 55.
  4. Luther’s Small Catechism (1529), Question 56.
  5. Luther’s Small Catechism (1529), Question 57.
  6. Luther’s Small Catechism (1529), Question 58.

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