Liberal Arts Blog — Chunking the Ten Commandments — The Rule of Three and the Rule of Seven

Liberal Arts Blog — Tuesday is the Joy of Literature, Language, Culture, and Religion Day

Today’s Topic: Chunking the Ten Commandments — The Rule of Three and the Rule of Seven

The problem with the ten commandments is that there are too many of them. People can’t remember ten of anything. The rule of three says that people can’t remember more than three. The rule of seven, obviously, that people can’t remember more than seven. To do so you must “chunk” whatever it is into smaller groups. Applying this discipline to the Ten Commandments, I come up with three chunks — the God Chunk, the Golden Rule Chunk, and the Mom and Dad Chunk. Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.


1. No other Gods.

2. No graven images.

3. No taking his name in vain.

4. Honor the Sabbath.


1. Don’t kill.

2. Don’t steal.

3. Don’t lie.

4. No adultery.

5. No coveting (house, stuff, wife)


1. Honor your father and your mother.


At different points in the Old and New Testaments the ten were reduced to two : 1.) Love God, 2.) Love your neighbor. No special status for mom and pop in that formulation. Oversight? Right decision?


1.) Images: Rembrandt, Michelangelo, Guido Reni

2.) Last link: on the East Pediment of the US Supreme Court Moses is the central figure. He is flanked by Confucius on his right and Solon on his left.

Chunking (psychology)


Ten Commandments

Moses, Confucius, and Solon at Supreme Court

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PDF with headlines — Google Drive


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