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Chaplain Eric Ebb wrote:

Hi, guys —

  • What happened to the Second Commandment?

I am a Lutheran minister. Lutherans and Catholics share a list of the Ten Commandments that is slightly different from the Protestant list. We (Lutherans and Catholics) don't have the commandment about graven images.

  • Why is that?
  • When was it taken out?

When I teach Confirmation I want to be able to explain to my students why we have a list that is different from the rest of Protestant Christianity. I have a theory that it has something to do with the Iconoclastic controversy sometime around the sixth century.

CH (LTC) Eric L. Ebb
Post Chaplain
Camp Atterbury, Indiana

  { Why don't both Lutherans and Catholics have the Commandment forbidding graven images? }

Mike replied:

Dear Chaplain Eric,

One of our colleagues John answered that in a previous posting. Please follow up if you have further questions.

Finally, thank-you very much for serving the spiritual needs of our Christian brothers in the service. Speaking for all of us at, we appreciate your service! and that of your fellow military colleagues.


Eric replied:

Hi Chaplain,

Here is a good article on the subject:

Fundamentally, the issue comes down to this: There are about fourteen different issues covered by the Commandments and dividing them into ten has always been done differently by different groups:

  • Jews
  • Catholics
  • Lutherans
  • Orthodox, and
  • other Protestants denominations.

One explanation of why the commandment against graven images is gone is because it is lumped together with the commandment against idolatry.

After all, it's fundamentally the same thing, an extension, as it were, of the commandment against idolatry. This makes sense, but I recommend you read the whole article.


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