The First Commandment in the Bible

The First Commandment in the Bible

Opening Scripture and Definitions

The first commandment is found in the Old Testament, specifically in the book of Exodus: “You shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3). This commandment sets the foundation for the relationship between God and His people. It emphasizes the importance of putting God first in our lives and not allowing any other gods or idols to take His place.

Importance of the First Commandment

Understanding the significance of the first commandment is crucial for our spiritual growth and development. By placing God at the center of our lives, we acknowledge His sovereignty and authority over all things. This submission to God’s will allows us to align ourselves with His divine plan and purpose for our lives.

The first commandment also speaks to the idea of exclusivity in our devotion to God. When Jesus was asked about the most important commandment, He responded, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37). This all-encompassing love for God is what the first commandment speaks to, and it should be reflected in everything we do.

The First Commandment and Grace

It is essential to understand that the first commandment, like all other commandments, is rooted in the grace of God. God’s grace is the unmerited favor that He bestows upon us, which allows us to live in obedience to His commandments. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works so that no one can boast.” This grace empowers us to walk in obedience to the first commandment, putting God first in our lives.

The First Commandment vs. Legalism

While the first commandment calls for our complete devotion to God, it is crucial to recognize the difference between following the commandment and falling into legalism. Legalism is the belief that one can earn God’s favor through rigid adherence to rules and regulations, rather than through faith in Jesus Christ and His grace. We must be careful not to reduce the first commandment to a set of rules to follow, but rather, to see it as an invitation to a loving relationship with our Creator.

Galatians 3:23-25 says, “Before the coming of this faith, we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed. So the law was our guardian until Christ came so that we might be justified by faith. Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian.” As believers in Jesus Christ, we are no longer bound by the law but instead are free to live under the grace of God, which enables us to obey the first commandment wholeheartedly.

Living Out the First Commandment Today

To live out the first commandment in our lives today, we must continually seek to put God first in all that we do. This means prioritizing our relationship with Him through prayer, Bible study, worship, and fellowship with other believers. Additionally, we must be diligent in removing any idols or distractions that may compete for our devotion to God.

Colossians 3:1-2 encourages us, “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” By fixing our eyes on Jesus and setting our hearts and minds on heavenly things, we can live out the first commandment daily, putting God first in all things.


In conclusion, the first commandment in the Bible serves as the foundation for our relationship with God. Through His grace, we are empowered to live in obedience to this commandment, loving and serving Him with all our hearts, soul, and mind. By avoiding legalism and focusing on cultivating a deep and intimate relationship with our Creator, we can truly live out the first commandment in our lives today.

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