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Shorter Catechism

Q. 68 What is required in the sixth commandment?

The sixth commandment requireth all lawful endeavors to preserve our own life, and the life of others.1

  1. Ephesians 5:28-29

    In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, (ESV)

Larger Catechism

Q. 135 What are the duties required in the sixth commandment?

The duties required in the sixth commandment are, all careful studies, and lawful endeavors, to preserve the life of ourselves1 and others2 by resisting all thoughts and purposes,3 subduing all passions,4 and avoiding all occasions,5 temptations,6 and practices, which tend to the unjust taking away the life of any;7 by just defense thereof against violence,8 patient bearing of the hand of God,9 quietness of mind,10 cheerfulness of spirit;11 a sober use of meat,12 drink,13 physic,14 sleep,15 labor,16 and recreations;17 by charitable thoughts,18 love,19 compassion,20 meekness, gentleness, kindness;21 peaceable,22 mild, and courteous speeches and behavior;23 forbearance, readiness to be reconciled, patient bearing and forgiving of injuries, and requiting good for evil;24 comforting and succoring the distressed, and protecting and defending the innocent.25

  1. Ephesians 5:28-29

    In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, (ESV)

  2. 1 Kings 18:4

    and when Jezebel cut off the prophets of the Lord, Obadiah took a hundred prophets and hid them by fifties in a cave and fed them with bread and water.) (ESV)

  3. Jeremiah 26:15-16

    Only know for certain that if you put me to death, you will bring innocent blood upon yourselves and upon this city and its inhabitants, for in truth the Lord sent me to you to speak all these words in your ears.”

    Then the officials and all the people said to the priests and the prophets, “This man does not deserve the sentence of death, for he has spoken to us in the name of the Lord our God.”

    Acts 23:12

    When it was day, the Jews made a plot and bound themselves by an oath neither to eat nor drink till they had killed Paul.

    Acts 23:16-17

    Now the son of Paul's sister heard of their ambush, so he went and entered the barracks and told Paul. Paul called one of the centurions and said, “Take this young man to the tribune, for he has something to tell him.”

    Acts 23:21

    But do not be persuaded by them, for more than forty of their men are lying in ambush for him, who have bound themselves by an oath neither to eat nor drink till they have killed him. And now they are ready, waiting for your consent.”

    Acts 23:27

    This man was seized by the Jews and was about to be killed by them when I came upon them with the soldiers and rescued him, having learned that he was a Roman citizen. (ESV)

  4. Ephesians 4:26-27

    Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. (ESV)

  5. 2 Samuel 2:22-23

    And Abner said again to Asahel, “Turn aside from following me. Why should I strike you to the ground? How then could I lift up my face to your brother Joab?” But he refused to turn aside. Therefore Abner struck him in the stomach with the butt of his spear, so that the spear came out at his back. And he fell there and died where he was. And all who came to the place where Asahel had fallen and died, stood still.

    Deuteronomy 22:8

    “When you build a new house, you shall make a parapet for your roof, that you may not bring the guilt of blood upon your house, if anyone should fall from it. (ESV)

  6. Matthew 4:6-7

    and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written,

    “‘He will command his angels concerning you,’

    and

    “‘On their hands they will bear you up,
    lest you strike your foot against a stone.’”

    Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

    Proverbs 1:10-11

    My son, if sinners entice you,
    do not consent.
    If they say, “Come with us, let us lie in wait for blood;
    let us ambush the innocent without reason;

    Proverbs 1:15-16

    my son, do not walk in the way with them;
    hold back your foot from their paths,
    for their feet run to evil,
    and they make haste to shed blood. (ESV)

  7. Genesis 37:21-22

    But when Reuben heard it, he rescued him out of their hands, saying, “Let us not take his life.” And Reuben said to them, “Shed no blood; throw him into this pit here in the wilderness, but do not lay a hand on him”—that he might rescue him out of their hand to restore him to his father.

    1 Samuel 24:12

    May the Lord judge between me and you, may the Lord avenge me against you, but my hand shall not be against you.

    1 Samuel 26:9-11

    But David said to Abishai, “Do not destroy him, for who can put out his hand against the Lord's anointed and be guiltless?” And David said, “As the Lord lives, the Lord will strike him, or his day will come to die, or he will go down into battle and perish. The Lord forbid that I should put out my hand against the Lord's anointed. But take now the spear that is at his head and the jar of water, and let us go.” (ESV)

  8. Psalm 82:4

    Rescue the weak and the needy;
    deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”

    Proverbs 24:11-12

    Rescue those who are being taken away to death;
    hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter.
    If you say, “Behold, we did not know this,”
    does not he who weighs the heart perceive it?
    Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it,
    and will he not repay man according to his work?

    1 Samuel 14:45

    Then the people said to Saul, “Shall Jonathan die, who has worked this great salvation in Israel? Far from it! As the Lord lives, there shall not one hair of his head fall to the ground, for he has worked with God this day.” So the people ransomed Jonathan, so that he did not die.

    Jeremiah 38:7-13

    When Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, a eunuch who was in the king's house, heard that they had put Jeremiah into the cistern—the king was sitting in the Benjamin Gate— Ebed-melech went from the king's house and said to the king, “My lord the king, these men have done evil in all that they did to Jeremiah the prophet by casting him into the cistern, and he will die there of hunger, for there is no bread left in the city.” Then the king commanded Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, “Take thirty men with you from here, and lift Jeremiah the prophet out of the cistern before he dies.” So Ebed-melech took the men with him and went to the house of the king, to a wardrobe in the storehouse, and took from there old rags and worn-out clothes, which he let down to Jeremiah in the cistern by ropes. Then Ebed-melech the Ethiopian said to Jeremiah, “Put the rags and clothes between your armpits and the ropes.” Jeremiah did so. Then they drew Jeremiah up with ropes and lifted him out of the cistern. And Jeremiah remained in the court of the guard. (ESV)

  9. James 5:10-11

    As an example of suffering and patience, brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.

    Hebrews 12:9

    Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live?

    2 Samuel 16:10-12

    But the king said, “What have I to do with you, you sons of Zeruiah? If he is cursing because the Lord has said to him, ‘Curse David,’ who then shall say, ‘Why have you done so?’” And David said to Abishai and to all his servants, “Behold, my own son seeks my life; how much more now may this Benjaminite! Leave him alone, and let him curse, for the Lord has told him to. It may be that the Lord will look on the wrong done to me, and that the Lord will repay me with good for his cursing today.” (ESV)

  10. 1 Thessalonians 4:11

    and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you,

    1 Peter 3:3-4

    Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious.

    Psalm 37:8

    Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath!
    Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.

    Psalm 37:11

    But the meek shall inherit the land
    and delight themselves in abundant peace. (ESV)

  11. Proverbs 17:22

    A joyful heart is good medicine,
    but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. (ESV)

  12. Proverbs 23:20

    Be not among drunkards
    or among gluttonous eaters of meat,

    Proverbs 25:16

    If you have found honey, eat only enough for you,
    lest you have your fill of it and vomit it.

    Proverbs 25:27

    It is not good to eat much honey,
    nor is it glorious to seek one's own glory. (ESV)

  13. 1 Timothy 5:23

    (No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.) (ESV)

  14. Isaiah 38:21

    Now Isaiah had said, “Let them take a cake of figs and apply it to the boil, that he may recover.” (ESV)

  15. Psalm 127:2

    It is in vain that you rise up early
    and go late to rest,
    eating the bread of anxious toil;
    for he gives to his beloved sleep. (ESV)

  16. 2 Thessalonians 3:12

    Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living.

    Ecclesiastes 5:12

    Sweet is the sleep of a laborer, whether he eats little or much, but the full stomach of the rich will not let him sleep. (ESV)

  17. Ecclesiastes 3:4

    a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
    a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

    Ecclesiastes 3:11

    He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man's heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.

    Mark 6:31

    And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. (ESV)

  18. 1 Samuel 19:4-5

    And Jonathan spoke well of David to Saul his father and said to him, “Let not the king sin against his servant David, because he has not sinned against you, and because his deeds have brought good to you. For he took his life in his hand and he struck down the Philistine, and the Lord worked a great salvation for all Israel. You saw it, and rejoiced. Why then will you sin against innocent blood by killing David without cause?”

    1 Samuel 22:13-14

    And Saul said to him, “Why have you conspired against me, you and the son of Jesse, in that you have given him bread and a sword and have inquired of God for him, so that he has risen against me, to lie in wait, as at this day?” Then Ahimelech answered the king, “And who among all your servants is so faithful as David, who is the king's son-in-law, and captain over your bodyguard, and honored in your house? (ESV)

  19. Romans 13:10

    Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. (ESV)

  20. Luke 10:33-34

    But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. (ESV)

  21. Colossians 3:12-13

    Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. (ESV)

  22. James 3:17

    But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. (ESV)

  23. 1 Peter 3:8-11

    Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. For

    “Whoever desires to love life
    and see good days,
    let him keep his tongue from evil
    and his lips from speaking deceit;
    let him turn away from evil and do good;
    let him seek peace and pursue it.

    1 Corinthians 4:12-13

    and we labor, working with our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; when slandered, we entreat. We have become, and are still, like the scum of the world, the refuse of all things.

    Proverbs 15:1

    15:1 A soft answer turns away wrath,
    but a harsh word stirs up anger.

    Judges 8:1-3

    8:1 Then the men of Ephraim said to him, “What is this that you have done to us, not to call us when you went to fight against Midian?” And they accused him fiercely. And he said to them, “What have I done now in comparison with you? Is not the gleaning of the grapes of Ephraim better than the grape harvest of Abiezer? God has given into your hands the princes of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb. What have I been able to do in comparison with you?” Then their anger against him subsided when he said this. (ESV)

  24. Matthew 5:24

    leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.

    Ephesians 4:2

    with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love,

    Ephesians 4:32

    Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

    Romans 12:17

    Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all.

    Romans 12:20-21

    To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (ESV)

  25. 1 Thessalonians 5:14

    And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.

    Matthew 25:35-36

    For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’

    Proverbs 31:8-9

    Open your mouth for the mute,
    for the rights of all who are destitute.
    Open your mouth, judge righteously,
    defend the rights of the poor and needy.

    Job 31:19-20

    if I have seen anyone perish for lack of clothing,
    or the needy without covering,
    if his body has not blessed me,
    and if he was not warmed with the fleece of my sheep,

    Isaiah 58:7

    Is it not to share your bread with the hungry
    and bring the homeless poor into your house;
    when you see the naked, to cover him,
    and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? (ESV)

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Based on Calendar of Readings in the Westminster Standards by Dr. Joey Pipa. Scripture taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. Copyright ©2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.