New Testament Commandments

Parable of the Wise and Foolish Builders
The Parable of the Prudent and Foolish Builders (Dormition Skete, Buena Vista, CO).

And Jesus was going around all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, … And great crowds followed Him … And seeing the crowds, … He opened His mouth and began to teach them, saying: … “everyone who heareth these words of Mine, and doeth them, I will liken him to a prudent man who built his house upon the rock. And the rain came down, and the rivers rose, and the winds blew, and fell upon that house; and yet it fell not, for it had been founded upon the rock. And everyone who heareth these words of Mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened to a foolish man who built his house upon the sand. And the rain came down, and the rivers rose, and the winds blew, and struck against that house; and it fell. And the fall of it was great.” [Mt. 4:23-5:2, 7:24-27 ONT]

Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone love Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make an abode with him. The one who loveth Me not keepeth not My words; … if they kept My word, they will keep yours also.” [Jn. 14:23-24a, 15:20b ONT]

What are these words of Jesus and His Disciples that we are called to keep? The short answer would include, of course, keeping the teachings of the New Testament in their entirety. While true—and all Christians should diligently read the New Testament to instill the Truths contained therein in their heart—a digest or summary of some of the moral teachings of the New Testatment are provided below as a learning aid and reminder. This list is taken from the writings of St. Nicodemos the Hagiorite as found in the "Epilogue" of Christian Morality: Containing Thirteen Soul-Benefiting Discourses, Contrived for the Improvement of the Poor Morals of Christians; and Additionally, the Most Basic Commandments of the Old and New Testaments (translated by Hieromonk Patapios. Belmont, MA: Institute for Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, 2011). The text is taken principally from: The Orthodox New Testament [ONT]: Translated Out Of The Original Greek: The Text Of The 4 Gospels, Acts, 21 Epistles, And Revelation (Buena Vista, CO: Holy Apostles Convent, 2004); St. Nicodemos’ verse amplifications are contained in square brackets as found in Christian Morality, with occasional adaptations to match the translation of the ONT.

The Principal Commandments and Decrees Contained in the New Testament, In Seventeen Chapters

Chapter 1. That every Christian is obligated to love God

And Jesus said to him, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. (St. Matthew 22 :37-38) If ye love Me, keep My commandments. The one who hath My commandments and keepeth them, that one is the one who loveth Me. And the one who loveth Me shall be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will manifest Myself to him. The one who loveth Me not keepeth not My words; and the word which ye hear is not Mine, but of the Father Who sent Me. (St. John 14:15,21,24) Jesus Christ, Whom not having seen, ye love. (1 St. Peter 1:7b-8a) Everyone who loveth Him [the Father] Who begat loveth also him [the Son] who hath been begotten of Him. (1 St. John 5:1b)

Chapter 2. That every Christian is obligated to love his neighbor

“And the second [commandment] is like it [the first commandment], Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. (St. Matthew 22:39) A new commandment I give to you, that ye be loving one another; even as I loved you, that ye also be loving one another. By this shall all [the impious] know that ye are My disciples, if ye be having love among one another. (St. John 13:34-35) Cease owing even one person even one thing, except to be loving one another. For the one who loveth the other hath fulfilled the law; to wit, Thou shalt not commit adultery; thou shalt not murder; thou shalt not steal; thou shalt not covet; and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this phrase, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. (Romans 13:8-9) Love one another intensely out of a pure heart. (1 St. Peter 1:22b) Be loving the brotherhood. (1 St. Peter 2:17b) Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. (1 St. John 4:11) The one not loving his brother abideth in death. In this we have come to know love, because He [Christ] laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. My little children, let us not be loving in word, neither in tongue, but in deed and in truth. (1 St. John 3:14b,16,18) And this commandment have we from Him, that the one loving God, be loving his brother also. (1 St. John 4:21)

Chapter 3. That Christians are obligated not to fight with their brethren or to have rancor and hatred towards them; and if they become upset with one another, they should be swiftly reconciled

“But I say to you that everyone [any Christian] who is angry with his brother without just cause shall be liable to the judgment. And whosoever [any Christian who] shall say to his brother [in anger], ‘Raca’ [i.e., “cur” or “you!”] shall be liable to the sanhedrin [council of judges]; but whosoever shall say [in anger], ‘Thou fool,’ shall be liable to the Gehenna of the fire. (St. Matthew 5:22) If, then, thou offerest thy gift on the altar [Church], and there rememberest that thy brother hath something against thee, leave there thy gift before the altar [in the Church], and go thy way. First be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. (St. Matthew 5:23-24) Be well-disposed with [the brother who is] thine adversary quickly, whilst thou art in the way [of the present life] with him. (St. Matthew 5:25a) But if anyone think to be contentious, [let him know that] we have no such custom, nor the churches of God. (1 Corinthians 11:16) And there is no need for a slave of the Lord to fight, but to be gentle toward all, apt to teach, forbearing. (II St. Timothy 2:24) Let not the sun set upon your provocation [i.e., be reconciled with each other before sunset]. (Ephesians 4:26b) But the one hating his brother is in darkness, and walketh in the darkness, and knoweth not where he goeth, because the darkness blinded his eyes. (1 St. John 2:11) Everyone who hateth his brother is a manslayer, and ye know that every manslayer hath not eternal life abiding in him. (1 St. John 3:15)

Chapter 4. That Christians are obligated not to gaze with curiosity and lust

“But I say to you that everyone who looketh on a woman in order to lust after her did already commit adultery with her in his heart. (St. Matthew 5:28) For all that is in the world—the desire of the flesh, and the desire of the eyes, and the false pretensions of life—is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world is passing on its way, and the desire of it; but the one doing the will of God abideth forever. (1 John 2:16-17)

Chapter 5. That Christians are obligated not to swear or take oaths, whether true or false

“But I say to you not to swear at all: neither by the heaven, for it is the throne of God; nor by the earth, for it is the footstool of His feet; nor in regard to Jerusalem, for it is the city of [God] the great King. Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, for thou art not able to make one hair white or black. But let your word ‘yes’ be ‘yes,’ and ‘no,’ ‘no’; and what is more than these is from the evil one. (St. Matthew 5:34-37) But above all things, my brethren, cease swearing, neither by the heaven, nor by the earth, nor by any other oath; but let your yes be yes, and your no, no, lest ye should fall into hypocrisy [lest things be one way, and you say that they are otherwise; for if something is the case, say “yes”; if it is not, say “no”]. (St. Iakovos 5:12)

Chapter 6. That Christians are obligated not to wreak vengeance or render evil for evil

“But I say to you do not resist the evil one; but whosoever shall strike thee on the right cheek, turn to him the other also [i.e., that he may smite thee]. And whosoever shall compel thee to go one mile, go with him two. But I say to you, keep on loving your enemies, blessing those who curse you, doing well to those who hate you, and keep on praying for those who despitefully use you and are persecuting you. (St. Matthew 5:39,41,44) Render to no one evil for evil. (Romans 12:17a) Avenge not yourselves, beloved, but give place to wrath; for it hath been written: “Vengeance is Mine; I will repay,” saith the Lord. Therefore, if thine enemy should hunger, be feeding him; if he should thirst, be giving him drink. Cease being conquered by the bad, but keep on conquering the bad with the good. (Romans 12:19-21) [Be] not rendering evil for evil or reviling for reviling; but on the contrary, blessing [instead of reviling]. (1 St. Peter 3:9a) Beloved, do not be imitating the bad, but the good. The one doing good is of God; the one doing evil hath not seen God. (3 St. John 11)

Chapter 7. That Christians are obligated not to go to court at all; if they do go, they should go to spiritual, not secular judges

“And to the one who doth wish to go to law with thee and take thy tunic, yield to him thine outer garment also. (St. Matthew 5:40) Already indeed then there is altogether a loss among you that ye have lawsuits among yourselves. Why not rather let yourselves be wronged? Why not rather be defrauded? But ye do wrong and defraud, and these things to your brethren. Or do ye not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Cease being led astray; neither fornicators, nor idolaters [i.e., the greedy], nor adulterers, nor masturbators, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor coveters, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor raveners shall inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6:7-10) Dare any of you, having a matter against [i.e., difference with] another, go to law before the unrighteous [i.e., secular judges], and not before the saints [i.e., spiritual and ecclesiastical judges]? (1 Corinthians 6:1)

Chapter 8. That Christians are obligated not to condemn

Cease judging [others], that ye be not judged [yourselves]; for with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged; and with what measure ye measure, it shall be measured in turn to you [i.e., you will be condemned by others for falling into the very same sin for which you condemned your brother]. And why lookest thou on the splinter that is in thy brother’s eye, but perceivest not the beam in thine own eye? (St. Matthew 7:1-3) Wherefore thou art without excuse, O man—everyone that judgeth—for in what thou judgest the other, thou condemnest thyself; for thou who judgest dost practice the same things. (Romans 2:1) Therefore cease judging anything before the time, until the Lord should come, Who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness and make manifest the counsels of the hearts. (1 Corinthians 4:5a) Cease speaking against one another, brethren. He who speaketh against a brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh against the law, and judgeth the law [of God]. But if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of [or subject to] the law, but a judge [and above the Divine law]. One is the Lawgiver and Judge, Who is able to save and to destroy. But who art thou who judgest another? (St. Iakovos 4:11-12)

Chapter 9. That if Christians do not forgive the faults of their brethren, God will not forgive their own faults

“For if ye forgive [other] men their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you [your transgressions]; but if ye forgive not [other] men their transgressions, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions. (St. Matthew 6:14-15) And forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors. (St. Matthew 6:12) ‘O thou evil slave, I forgave thee all that debt [i.e., the ten thousand talents], since thou besoughtest me; was it not also necessary for thee to have pitied thy fellow slave [i.e., by forgiving his the one hundred denarii that he owed], even as I pitied thee? And his lord, having been provoked to anger, delivered him up to the tormentors, until he should pay all that was owed to him. Thus shall My heavenly Father do to you also, unless each one of you from your hearts forgive his brother their trespasses. (St. Matthew 18:32b-35) And whenever ye stand praying, be forgiving if ye have anything [i.e., any complaint or grievance] against anyone [for any trespass that he has done to you], in order that your Father Who is in the heavens might also forgive your transgressions. (St. Mark 11:25) Now if thy brother should sin against thee, rebuke him; and if he should repent, forgive him. And if seven times in the day he should sin against thee, and seven times in the day he should return to thee, saying, ‘I repent,’ thou shalt forgive him. (St. Luke 17:3b-4)

Chapter 10. That Christians are obligated to give alms, to pray, and to fast, not hypocritically or for the glory and praise of men, but solely for God’s sake

“Be taking heed not to do your alms before men, in order to be seen by them [and be praised by them]; otherwise ye have no reward with your Father Who is in the heavens. But when thou art doing alms [do it so secretly that]... thy left hand [shall not] know what thy right hand is doing. (St. Matthew 6:1,3) And [O Christian] whenever thou art praying, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites; for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, in order that they might be made manifest to men. Verily I say to you, they have received their reward [here on earth, and will not receive anything there in Heaven]. But thou, whenever thou art praying, enter into thy chamber [i.e., thy heart], and after thou shuttest thy door [i.e., the outer senses], pray to thy Father Who is in secret [and invisible]; and thy Father Who seeth in secret [i.e., thy secret prayer], shall render what is due to thee openly. (St. Matthew 6:5-6) And whenever ye are fasting, cease being as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance; for they artificially disfigure their faces, in such a manner that they might appear to men fasting. Verily I say to you that they have their reward [here on earth, from the praise of men, and will not receive anything there in Heaven]. But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thy head [with oil] and wash thy face, so that thou mightest not appear to men fasting, but to [God] thy Father Who is in secret [i.e., seeth the secrets of thy heart]; and thy Father, Who seeth in secret [i.e., thy secret fasting], shall reward thee in the open. (St. Matthew 6:16-18)

Chapter 11. That Christians are obligated not to accumulate treasure on earth, but in Heaven; and that they are obligated not to hope in their wealth, but to weep and lament

“Cease treasuring up for yourselves treasures upon the earth, where moth and rust doth destroy, and where thieves dig through and steal; but be treasuring up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth spoil, and where thieves do not dig through nor steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. (St. Matthew 6:19-21) But woe to you, the rich! For ye are receiving in full your consolation [here in this world, and will not enjoy it in the next world]. (St. Luke 6:24) Verily I say to you, that a rich man, with difficulty, shall enter into the kingdom of the heavens. (St. Matthew 19:23b) Sell your possessions and give alms. Make for yourselves purses which do not become old, an unfailing treasure in the heavens, where no thief draweth near nor moth destroyeth. (St. Luke 12:33) So then, every one of you who doth not renounce all that he himself possesseth is not able to be My disciple. (St. Luke 14:33) [O Timothy,] be commanding the rich in the present age not to be high-minded, nor to have hope in the uncertainty of riches but in the living God, Who granteth us richly all [good] things for enjoyment. (1 St. Timothy 6:17) Come now ye rich, weep, cry aloud over your hardships that are coming upon you! Your wealth hath rotted, and your garments have become moth-eaten. Your gold and silver have become rusty, and their rust shall be for a testimony against you and shall eat your fleshy parts. As fire ye laid up treasure in the last days [i.e., for the last days of your lives]. Behold, the hire of the workers who reaped your fields, which hath been kept back by you, crieth out; and the shouts of those who harvested [and have been wronged] have entered into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. (St. Iakovos 5:1-4)

Chapter 12. That Christians are obligated not to be anxious about the good things of the earth, or to love the world and the things that are in the world and be attached to it, but to seek eternal and heavenly good things

“On this account I say to you, cease being anxious for your soul, what ye shall eat and what ye shall drink; nor for your body, what ye shall put on. ... For all these things the nations seek after. But be seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things [that ye seek] shall be added to you. (St. Matthew 6:25a,32a,33) Now this I say, brethren, the time [of the present life] hath been shortened henceforth, that even they who have wives be [as detached] as though they did not have. And they who weep [over the things of this world], as though they wept not; and they who rejoice [over them], as though they rejoiced not; and they who buy [the things of this world], as though they possess not [i.e., possessed them not so as to enjoy them]; and they who make use of this world, as though they did not use it to the full; for the fashion of this world passeth away. (1 Corinthians 7:29-31) ... we do not look at the things which are seen, but the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:18) For our citizenship [of us Christians] existeth in the heavens, from where we also patiently await the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. (Philippians 3:20) For we [Christians] have no abiding city [and homeland] here [in this world], but we seek the coming one [i.e., the Heavenly Homeland]. (Hebrews 13:14) O adulterers and adulteresses! Ye know, do ye not, that the friendship [and love] of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore would be a friend of the world is rendered an enemy of God. (St. Iakovos 4:4) [Beloved] do not keep on loving the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone love the world, [let him know that] the love of the [Heavenly] Father is not in him. (1 St. John 2:15)

Chapter 13. That Christians are obligated not to be proud, but humble, and to love humble things

“Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, this one is the greater in the kingdom of the heavens. (St. Matthew 18:4) And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be humbled; and whosoever shall humble himself shall be exalted. (St Matthew 23:12) For everyone who exalteth himself shall be humbled, and the one who humbleth himself shall be exalted. (St. Luke 14:11) [Brethren,] mind not high things, but bring yourselves down to associate with the humble. (Romans 12:16b) In humility esteeming one another above themselves. (Philippians 2:3b) Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He shall exalt you. (St. Iakovos 4:10) Ye younger ones, be subject to the elders. And all being subject to one another, gird yourselves with humility; for God setteth Himself against the proud, but giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves then under the mighty hand of God, in order that He might exalt you in due time. (1 St. Peter 5:5b-6)

Chapter 14. That Christians are obligated to be patient in all afflictions that befall them

“But the one who endureth to the end, this one shall be saved. (St. Matthew 24:13) In your patience win your souls. (St. Luke 21:19) Affliction worketh out patience; and patience, a tested character; and a tested character, hope. (Romans 5:3b-4) [Be] patient in tribulation. (Romans 12:12b) If we endure, we shall also reign with Him [Christ]. (2 St. Timothy 2:12a) O Timothy, be pursuing patience. (from 1 St. Timothy 6:11) If ye endure chastisement [and afflictions], God is dealing with you as with sons. (Hebrews 12:7a) For ye have need of patience, that, after ye do the will of God, ye might receive for yourselves the promise [the good things that He promises to you]. (Hebrews 10:36) Let us by means of patience be running the course which is set before us. (Hebrews 12:1b) Happy is the [Christian] man who endureth temptation; because having become approved, he shall receive the crown of life. (St. Iakovos 1:12a) But let patience keep on having a perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, lacking in nothing. (St. Iakovos 1:4) [Brethren give] all diligence, [that ye may] supply ... patience in self-control, and piety in patience. (2 St. Peter 1:5b,6b) Here is the patience of the saints, the ones keeping the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. (Revelation 14:12)

Chapter 15. That Christians are obligated not to give themselves over to worldly cares, to food and drink, and not to be negligent or somnolent; rather, they are obligated to be vigilant and ready at all times, expecting the hour of death and of the judgment of God

“Be watching then, for ye know not in what hour your Lord cometh. But know ye this, that if the master of the house had known in what watch [hour of the night] the thief was coming, he would have watched and not let his house be broken into. On this account, ye also keep on becoming ready, for in what hour ye think not, the Son of Man cometh. (St. Matthew 24:42-44) Now what I say to you, I say to all: Be watching. (St. Mark 13:37) Be watching and praying that ye enter not into temptation; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. (St. Mark 14:38) Let your loins be girded about [let them be ready] and the lamps be kept burning [let your minds and hearts be watchful]; and be ye like to men [servants] waiting for their own lord—whenever he should depart from the wedding festivities—that when he [the lord] cometh and knocketh, straightway, they might open to him. Happy are those slaves whom the lord, after he cometh, shall find watching. (St. Luke 12:35-37a) And be taking heed to yourselves, lest your hearts should be weighed down with carousing, and drinking, and cares of this life, and that day [of Judgment] should come upon you suddenly. For as a snare shall it come upon all those sitting upon the face of the whole earth. Be vigilant then, in every season entreating that ye might be accounted worthy to escape all these [dreadful] things which are about to come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man. (St. Luke 21:34-36) [Brethren] ... , knowing the time, that it is an hour now to be awakened out of sleep [the sleep of negligence]; for now our salvation is nearer than when we believed. The night [of the present life] is advanced, and the day [of Judgment] hath drawn near. (Romans 13:11-12a) Rouse thyself, thou [Christian] who sleepest, and arise from the dead, and the Christ [the noetic Sun] shall shine on thee.” (Ephesians 5:14b) So then, let us not be sleeping, as also the rest, but let us be fully awake and sober. For they who sleep, sleep by night; and they who get drunk, get drunk by night. But let us [Christians] who are of the day [and of light, watch and] be sober. (1 Thessalonians 5:6-8a) Cease quenching the Spirit [i.e., the spiritual charism that you have, through negligence]. (1 Thessalonians 5:19) In zeal, hesitate not; fervent in spirit, serving the Lord. (Romans 12:11) Ye lived luxuriously on the earth, and indulgently; ye nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter. [Ye have nourished your bodies as though they were animals, which men nourish for the purpose of slaughtering them.] (St. Iakovos 5:5) Be sober, watch; because your adversary, the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he might devour—whom withstand, firm in the faith. (1 St. Peter 5:8-9a) Keep on becoming watchful ... If then thou dost not watch, I will come upon thee as a thief, and in no wise shalt thou know what hour I will come upon thee. (Revelation 3:2a,3b)

Chapter 16. That Christians are obligated to repent from the heart at all times

Now in those days John the Baptist came forth proclaiming in the wilderness of Judæa, and saying, “Repent ye; for the kingdom of the heavens hath drawn near. (St. Matthew 3:1-2) From that time Jesus began to proclaim and to say, Repent ye; for the kingdom of the heavens hath drawn near. (St. Matthew 4:17) Unless ye be repenting, [know that] ye shall all perish in like manner. (St. Luke 13:3b) Repent therefore [brethren,] and turn again [to God], in order to blot out your sins, so that times of refreshing might come from the presence of the Lord, (Acts 3:19) Repent and do the first works; but if not, I am coming to thee quickly and will remove thy lampstand [i.e., thy Church] out of her place unless thou repent. (Revelation 2:5b)

Chapter 17. That if Christians do not surpass the righteous of the old Law in good works, they will not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven; and that if Christians sin, they will be punished more severely than the lawless

“For I say to you, that unless your righteousness [virtue] should exceed more than that of the scribes and Pharisees, in no wise shall ye enter into the kingdom of the heavens. (St. Matthew 5:20) And that slave who knew the will of his lord, and prepared not, nor did according to his will, shall be beaten much. But he [that slave] who knew not, and did things worthy of blows, shall be beaten a little. And everyone to whom much was given, much shall be required from him; and to whom much was committed, the more they will ask of him. (St. Luke 12:47-48) For as many as did sin without law shall also perish without law [i.e., shall be punished more lightly]; and as many as did sin in the law [since the Law was given] shall be judged by the law. (Romans 2:12) For it would have been better for them not to have acknowledged the way of righteousness [of virtue and piety], than, having acknowledged it, to have turned from the holy commandment which was delivered to them. (2 St. Peter 2:21)