Let us take a thing, whoever it is, which is necessarily either in the sky, on the earth, or in the waters under the earth.

To display a picture of N on a screen, does not make a representation of N ? And so, if it's done for oneself, is it not a transgression of Exodus 20:4 ? As a result, for example, if someone displays his old photos on his smartphone, does he not transgress Exodus 20:4 (assuming his "old photos" are representations of N and he displays them for him) ?

It is surely not necessary, but I still recall that Exodus 20:4, is one of the ten words (often called (to my taste: wrongly) ten commandments) ...

So finally, are not our modern operating systems and many attached services, not machines to sin (at least in view of Exodus 20:4) ?

  • This is a doctrinal question, about how we should apply a commandment to daily life (Moses didn't know about smartphones and computers and whatnot). It should be asked on Christianity.SE, not here; this site is for determining the intended meaning of texts and related issues, not doctrinal questions about the morality of certain acts, etc. May 13, 2019 at 22:56
  • Ok I will deplace it to christianity if that's possible.
    – gustav.b
    May 14, 2019 at 10:16

2 Answers 2


This is a problem with many critics of the Bible, they take one verse in there and try to create a whole theology around it. You need to understand that when the Torah was originally written in Hebrew, there where no chapters and verses. They were added later to make it easier to read. So I always recommend that people read the verses immediately before and after the particular verse they are interested in, to get the context and the full meaning of the text.

If you read Exodus 20:4,5 together, you will notice that the commandment is actually against making images in order to bow down to them or to worship them and serve them. You are not transgressing the Law by displaying a picture on your screen. You only transgress if you make an image of anything and erect it and tell people that this is your god and you bow down to them and serve the images. It's very important to read the Bible in its context to get the full meaning of the text.

  • in order to This is the Himeenyengua Kongoro's word certainly not the W.ord of G.od. I have the impression that in its context means with our words.
    – gustav.b
    May 14, 2019 at 15:44
  • No @gustav.b here is how the dictionary defines context: "the parts of something written or spoken that immediately precede and follow a word or passage and clarify its meaning". Don't add anything to the text and most definitely don't take anything away! I'm paraphrasing, but God said it. May 14, 2019 at 23:06

Never should a Bible verse be read in isolation and Ex 20:4 is a prime example. The Israelites made many icons and images of things in nature, on the earth and in the heavens. For example, look at the construction of the wilderness sanctuary and (later) the temple which included bulls to support the "sea" (2 Chron 4:3-4), angels embroided on the curtains (2 Chron 314), vines and pomegranates on the pillars (2 Chron 3:15, 16, 4:11-13), angels over the ark of the covenant (Ex 25:18-20, 22), Angel statues (2 Chron 3:10-13), almond blossom on the lampstand (Ex 25:33, 34), the bronze snake of the plague (Num 21:9), and many, many more.

Thus, there were many statues and images in the sanctuary and, later, the permanent temple. None of this contravenes the 2nd commandment because they were not worshipped as gods. Ex 20:5, 6. That is, Ex 20:4 should not be separated from v5 & 6.

That is, images are OK if they are not worshipped. Images are NOT OK if they are worshipped.

  • Never should a Bible verse be read in isolation you mean Dt 4:2. The Israelites made many icons and images of things in nature, on the earth and in the heavens. It sounds interesting would you have references ?
    – gustav.b
    May 14, 2019 at 15:33
  • I will edit and add them to my answer.
    – user25930
    May 14, 2019 at 21:15
  • Thanks for this. I found some others: Ex 25:9, 40, 1 Sam 6:5-1, 1 Ki 6:23,28-29,7:29, Gn 31:30, 32-35. And Heb 9:23-24, 10:1 sounds extremely interesting.
    – gustav.b
    May 15, 2019 at 9:35
  • Glad to be of service.
    – user25930
    May 15, 2019 at 10:20

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