We are studying Deuteronomy 4:1-8, 12-13 for Sunday, October 6. This is the beginning of Moses’s transition into the substance of the commandments, with its exhortation to the Israelites (and whoever identifies with the Israelites) to faithfully hear and do the commandments he is passing on to them from God. [Study notes on the text are here.] Here are a couple of questions that we might want to consider discussing in class:

What examples of Biblical “statutes,” “ordinances,” and “commandments” can we think of? [We might want to look ahead to Deuteronomy 5; Deuteronomy 6:4-9; or Deuteronomy 22:1-3, for instance.]

How challenging does it seem to “do” some of these statutes, ordinances, and commandments? Which ones seem easier to do, which ones seem harder? Why is that, do we think? What do we normally do about that?

Which of these statutes, ordinances, and commandments apply to people today, do we think? Which apply to everyone all the time? Why do we think that? What else could we think? Why do we not think that, do we think? What would change if our answer changed? How would we feel about that? Why?


In v12, Moses addresses the people as those who heard God speak out of the fire on the mountain – although many of the people who experienced that event have died, and some of the people he is addressing were not born at the time of the event. With that in mind: would we ourselves have wanted to experience that event? Why is that? Would it make a difference in our motivation to “do” the commandments, do we think? Why? Would it make a difference in our ability to “do” the commandments, do we think? Why? What difference would it make, do we think?


One thing Moses cautions the people about is not to add to or subtract from the statutes, ordinances and commandments he is giving them. What counts as “adding to,” do we think? [For instance, does clarifying how a particular rule applies, who it applies to, when it applies, etc., count as “adding to”?] What counts as “subtracting from,” do we think?

Do we add to, or subtract from, this body of instruction? How? Why? How do we feel about that? Why?


How important do we think the statutes, ordinances, and commandments are for Christian readers? Why do we think that? Does it depend on which ones we are talking about? How? Why do we think that?


Painting of figures in a conversation