The Tender Commandments


The Ten Commandments are perhaps one of the most powerful examples of God’s love in all of Scripture. Some people, of course, imagine them to be the exact opposite. They don’t hear love in these statements. They hear the clink of chains and the rattle of padlocks. Once you’ve read Pastor Ron Mehl’s exuberant reinterpretation of the Ten Commandments, you’ll have a new understanding of the biblical context that defines these simple guidelines for living—not as harsh, restrictive rules, but as a tender love-letter from a wise, all-knowing Father. As Pastor Ron explains: “The Ten Commandments will keep us from destruction. Carefully heeding these ten warning signs in the power of the Holy Spirit will change the whole course of our lives. It will allow us to discover our very destiny as a child of God.” Devoting a chapter to each commandment, Pastor Ron shows how God uses them to remove the confusion about right and wrong in today’s relativistic culture. Each commandment protects us from the consequences of our own moral weakness and guides our thinking and actions in every situation.

Key Topics or Truths

Applying God’s truths
Destroying legalism
Living in Freedom and Grace
Understanding God’s good desires for us

This Book is Good For...

Every Christian who has been brought up in church! It is also good for new Christians to help them get started on a solid foundation.

How I Use this Book to make disciples

I use this book in Discipleship One to challenge the perception that Christianity is about a bunch of rules that limit us. I have the disciples read the entire book before we review it. I lean in on the truth that God’s commandments are meant to guide us to an incredible life. I stress the obvious like, “How many times does adultery work out? How does gossip destroy? God gave us these instructions to help us avoid trouble.” The author does such a good job and most disciples require little guidance to grasp the core truth that God’s commandments are tender instructions to us. If it does not happen with the disciples’ observations, I also lead a discussion about why commandments can “feel” limiting or oppressive. Why do they feel limiting at times? As Paul writes, “the sin dwelling in our flesh has a propensity to want to do the exact opposite of what is good for us.” God knows our weaknesses and the temptations that we will face because of sin. His commandments fight those “sinful” desires of our flesh and until we have surrendered to His truths, his commandments can “feel” like they are taking away instead of giving.

When I first read this book is disrupted my view of God’s “commandments” and reminded me of what I had already seen throughout the Bible – God’s words are good for us and bring life. His truths, his commandments, are not meant to rule over us but set us free. It sounds obvious but Mehl makes the argument in a compelling way.

Real Life Story

Diane’s dad was strict, almost oppressive. There were rules for everything. There was a rule dictating when you could shower. There was a rule outlawing the use of hair conditioner in the shower. There was a rule about what you could read and how much you could read. Diane grew up with a set of rules that served her father and did little to improve her future, so Diane’s initial impression of God was that his rules were meant to control her for his purposes. You should have seen the light come into her eyes when she realized that God’s truths were meant to set her free and set her up for success.

Know Issues or Controversies


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Ron Mehl
Book Details
Reading Time
Two Weeks
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I like to have disciples read this book after reading Quick Smart Start. It provides a healthy view of God’s initial instructions to us about how we are designed to live.

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