Did the Catholic Church change the Second Commandment?

On my YouTube channel, there is an obscene amount of rabid anti-Catholicism and of other religions foaming at the mouth over what they accuse Catholics of believing. All bark and little bite, yet they will yell, scream, insult, argue, degrade and condemn Catholics on a wide variety of gripes that they have including the Catholic Church supposedly changing the Second Commandment.

Unfortunately, many of these people are ex-Catholics who knew little to nothing about their religion before they left. They never researched their religion until after they bailed. Therefore, they most often do not understand the Bible and have a far smaller knowledge of Catholicism, it’s beliefs and practices, and its history. On this blog, we will be dismantling many of their false claims and misunderstandings. Now, on to the Second Commandment.

Catholics changed the Second Commandment!!!

In the comment section of multiple videos on my YouTube channel, anti-Catholics rant about the Catholic Church changing the 10 commandments. In their mind, this is proof positive that the Catholic Church is evil. How dare they change the commandments of God. The audacity!

The First Commandment is “Thou shalt not worship any false gods.” The Second Commandment is, “Thou shalt not make for yourself any idol, nor bow down to it or worship it.” However, the Catholics have removed that commandment, so they say, making it read instead: “Thou shalt not take the Lord’s name in vain.” They also split up commandment 10 into two different commandments regarding coveting.

Is this true? What is the real story? Did Catholics change the Second Commandment to justify their idol worship? No. Of course not! This is simply ignorance of the Bible and of history.

In the Bible, there are two different lists of the 10 Commandments, one in Exodus and one in Deuteronomy. And the two lists differ from each other slightly. Catholics have always used the list of commandments found in Deuteronomy whereas Protestants have traditionally utilized the list found in Exodus.

Deuteronomy treats the directive, “Thou shalt not make for yourself any idol, nor bow down to it or worship it” as part of the First Commandment. The First Commandment is “Don’t have any false gods.” So naturally, this serves as part of that commandment. If you only worship the true God, you will not create false idols or worship them.

So, it’s not that the Catholic Church took out the Second Commandment, it is just a part of the First Commandment which is about worshipping the true God and not false ones. Likewise, Deuteronomy talks about two different types of coveting: coveting your neighbors wife and coveting your neighbors goods. It splits them up. So, it is not the Catholic Church who did this but the Bible.

In the book of Exodus, Scripture treats coveting as one commandment: “Thou shalt not covet,” and it adds , “Thou shalt not make for yourself any idol, nor bow down to it or worship it” as the Second Commandment. So it splits up the First Commandment into two commandments, probably to reinforce the fact that in the Book of Exodus, the Israelites made and worshipped a golden calf, a false God. This was right after pledging allegiance to God. So, the Bible notes the differences.

St. Augustine in the 400s parsed out the list that Catholics use today. It is the list Catholics have always used. This list was used by Christians for more than a thousand years before Protestants came to use their own list from Exodus. So, if anything, it was the Protestants who, over a thousand years later, changed the list of commandments that Christians had traditionally used. Thus, the Catholic Church did not take out the Second Commandment.

If you have any questions or thoughts, feel free to add your comment down below. Also feel free to visit my YouTube channel here to learn more about the Catholic faith and what Catholics really believe.

Thanks so much for reading. Make sure to see below for many great resources to learn the Catholic faith, whether you are a Catholic or a non-Catholic.


(** = personally recommended for this subject)

  1. ** The Real Story of Catholic History: Answering Twenty Centuries of Anti-Catholic Myths – https://goo.gl/TqqZ4y
  2. ** “Catholicism and Fundamentalism: Attacks on “Romanism” by “Bible Christians.” (A classic and must read). – https://goo.gl/fNxXuB
  3. “The Catholic Verses: 95 Biblical Verses that Confound Protestants “ by Dave Armstrong. https://amzn.to/2oCeZ5Q
  4. ** “Pope Fiction: Answers to 30 Myths & Misconceptions About the Papacy” by Patrick Madrid. https://amzn.to/2BWbPn1
  5. “Seven Lies about Catholic History: infamous myths about the church’s past and how to answer them” by Diane Moczar. https://amzn.to/2wIlcRt
  6. ** What Catholics Really Believe – https://www.amazon.com/What-Catholics-Really-Believe-Misconceptions/dp/0898705533/ref=sr_1_2?crid=2F7E94M2M0833&keywords=what+catholics+really+believe&qid=1557859371&s=gateway&sprefix=what+catholics+%2Caps%2C132&sr=8-2
  7. “Handbook of Catholic Apologetics” by Peter Krett, Ronald K. Tacelli. https://amzn.to/2NVzkkR
  8. “A biblical defense of Catholicism” by Dave Armstrong. https://amzn.to/2Q6XI1x
  9. ** “If Protestantism is True,” by Devin Rose . https://amzn.to/2Q46vkz
  10. Nuts & Bolts: a practical guide for explaining and defending the Catholic faith” by Tim Staples. https://amzn.to/2LSR5wk
  11. ** The Case for Catholicism – Answers to classic and contemporary objections. (This is the most up-to-date, comprehensive, and thorough defense of the Catholic Church against Protestant objections in print). – https://goo.gl/RwtpWy
  12. Rome Sweet Home (A militant anti-Catholic who thought Catholics were going to hell, and now he’s one of the biggest Catholic speakers in the world! A Catholic classic!) – https://goo.gl/h1Fqs1
  13. ** CD SET: 5 CDS: Catholic Tim Staples Debate vs. Protestant Steve Gregg. It’s a must listen to debate for any Catholic serious about defending the faith or learning more. https://goo.gl/ntJZj1

About Bryan Mercier

Bryan Mercier is a professional Catholic speaker, retreat leader, author, YouTuber, and a Catholic apologist who has been teaching and preaching for almost two decades. He has also been aired on TV and radio in different states, including Relevant Radio, Ave Maria Radio, Sirius XM Satellite, and EWTN. He is the founder of "Catholic Truth," a non-profit dedicated to the New Evangelization and helping Catholics to know, love, and live their faith with purpose and passion each day!
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8 Responses to Did the Catholic Church change the Second Commandment?

  1. Anonymous says:

    Ignorance of the BIBLE?? I pray that you would not be a stumbling block and that you would be born again and receive the Holy Spirit and speak truth. Those who teach the Word of God will be held at a higher accountability. God bless you. Ephesians 4:14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting. Revelation 22:18-19 I testified to everyone who hears the prophetic words of this book, if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of this prophetic book, God will take away his share of the tree of life and the holy city, written in this book.

  2. I have already been born again the Bible way (my video here on that https://youtu.be/sjc9rCFt9co). I have also received the Holy Spirit to overflowing many years ago. Jesus too me, who used to be angry, depressed, dress in black and carry weapons, and healed me, forgave me, and redeemed me. I gave up my old life and promised to love only for Him, and I have. He filled me with the Holy Spirit and the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Praise Him!!
    God bless you.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Changing 2nd from idol worship to taking the fathers name in vain are technically two completely different things. Jesus stated what the fulfillment of his law was, his commandments. His commandments were love god and 2nd command was love eachother. The 10 commandments are the same thing as those two commandments. I personally dont care for organized religion it just divides people into different sections or groups and instigates arguments and strife. And the way i see it. Jesus christ, died for our salvation, every person is saved because of him in the end every knee shall bow. But the simple fact is that if we disobey his commandments and dont love one another and let meaningless small things become conflict between us then we disobey everything christ stood for. What we do to another we do to god. And we will all stand before judgment, what are people going to say for ourselves why we didnt love eachother but he loved us and died for us. Its not that were saved by works, christ will make all things and us new, but if you follow jesus then you will spread kindness to people and make sacrifice for others because thats his commandments. And you dont do these acts because your told to, its just because thats in your heart. So many people use the fear tactic that you will go to hell, thats why they seek religion and try ro do right out of fear of hell, we should just do right because its in our heart.

  4. Maria says:

    Constantine wanted power and control over people including the Christians. So he invented Catholicism changing many things. One being the 10 commandments so that he could keep the Christian’s happy while secretly still staying true to his pagan ways. That is why he took out thou shall not worship false idols or signs. So that all the people could worship false idols. He literally took the statues of his pagan gods and molded them into what we now know as the Virgin Mary, Jesus, St. Peter ect. If you cant beat them join them, in this case let them think you have joined them. The catholic church has also changed the sabbath day by making Sunday holy instead of Saturday. The Vatican was built over a pagan church. Constantine wanted total control and because religion ruled everything back in thoes times. What better way of controlling everyone by enforcing a new religion which we call Roman Catholic. That is why many Christian’s choose the orthodox way and stick with the first religion born after when Jesus christ was crucified.

  5. Anthony says:

    Wow !! for whatever reason you use to try to rationalize or justify for changing or altering GODs WORD the I AM THAT I AM HOLY WORD is something that should never be done for any reason , the every written in stone by the Creator of ALL – your religion is wrong – and having a mortal man wearing a crown that says “vicar of Christ” saying INSTEAD of Christ is appalling . and then there is the vision that St Malachi had of the 112th pope being the false prophet , creating a one world religion calling it chrislam and wanting all other religious gods to join is against the Holy Scriptures

  6. Juan de la Cruz says:

    You are a lying blind man defender of the Antichrist

  7. Love your content Bryan, very well-written!
    “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image,
    or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above,
    or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.”
    Exodus 20: 4
    You may also check my blog about The Second Commandment
    Hope this will also help. Thank you.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I can understand how that the commands you shall have no other Gods before me and you shall not make for yourself an idol or any likeness of what is in Heaven above or earth below can been seen very similar, because naturally the two commands do go together. What I think is suspect is that the command not to make idols is removed, while Catholicism uses idols in its worship. I know they have ways trying to excuse it’s not worship, but it doesn’t matter what you call it, in the end it’s worshipping an ido.

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