Christian Churches of God

No. CB77





Eighth Commandment


(Edition 2.0  20050713-20070303)


The Eighth Commandment says: You shall not steal. In this lesson we will consider the ways in which we steal from God and from our neighbour.






Christian Churches of God

PO Box 369,  WODEN  ACT 2606,  AUSTRALIA






(Copyright ã 2005, 2007 Leslie Hilburn, ed. Wade Cox)



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Eighth Commandment


Children’s Bible Study



To review the Eighth Commandment (You shall not steal) with special emphasis on stealing from God and stealing from neighbour and restoration in both situations.



1.      Children will be able to understand the meaning of the Eighth Commandment.

2.      Children will understand ways in which we steal from God.

3.      Children will understand ways in which we steal from our neighbour.

4.      Children will understand God’s system of restoration.



Law and the Eighth Commandment (No. 261)

The Ten Commandments (No. CB17)

The Law of God (No. CB25)


Relevant Scriptures:

Exodus 20

Malachi 8

Exodus 22

Leviticus 6


Memory Verse: thou shalt not steal.


Deuteronomy 10:12-13  And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, To keep the commandments of the LORD, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good?” (RSV)



Open with prayer.

Ask the children what is the Eighth Commandment. Place the Commandment on the poster board, which tracks their progress through the Commandments.

Have the children each pick a number from a hat – make sure there are enough numbers so that each child gets one.

Lesson on stealing.

Activity associated with stealing from neighbour.

Activity associated with stealing from God.

Close with prayer.



What does God require of us?  F.W.L.S.K. (Fear, Walk, Love, Serve, Keep)


Read Deuteronomy 10:12-13 (see above).


Because one of the things God requires of us is to keep His Commandments, we must understand what each individual Commandment means and how we are to follow it.


Optional:  Hand each child a piece of string and five letter beads (F, W, L, S, K).  The children can string the beads and make a bracelet during the discussion to follow.


Ask the children the following questions and let them answer according to the number they have drawn from the hat. If necessary, separate the numbers which correspond to the easier questions into a smaller hat for the younger children to pick from.  The older children can then answer the more difficult questions.


  1. What is stealing?

A. Children will most likely focus on the physical aspect of taking a tangible object from someone that doesn’t belong to them from someone.


  1. What about if we find something (as opposed to taking something) and don’t return it?  Is that stealing? 


  1. What does God say we should do if we find something that is not ours? 

A. Read Deuteronomy 22:1-4: "You shall not see your brother's ox or his sheep go astray, and withhold your help from them; you shall take them back to your brother. And if he is not near you, or if you do not know him, you shall bring it home to your house, and it shall be with you until your brother seeks it; then you shall restore it to him. And so you shall do with his donkey; so you shall do with his garment; so you shall do with any lost thing of your brother's, which he loses and you find; you may not withhold your help. You shall not see your brother's donkey or his ox fallen down by the way, and withhold your help from them; you shall help him to lift them up again.” (RSV)


  1. What do some children call it when they find something and don’t return it?  A. “Finders/Keepers”.  Is that ok?  Why not?


  1. What about when we lend money to someone?  Can we charge them interest? 

A. God says in Deuteronomy 23:19-20: “Thou shalt not lend upon usury to thy brother; usury of money, usury of victuals, usury of any thing that is lent upon usury: 20 Unto a stranger thou mayest lend upon usury; but unto thy brother thou shalt not lend upon usury: that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all that thou settest thine hand to in the land whither thou goest to possess it.”


According to God’s Law, when we charge someone interest, we are stealing money from him/her that is not owed to us.


  1. What do we learn in the New Testament about “who is my brother”? 

A. Christ said that a brother is anyone who does the will of God (Mat. 12:50). This includes people who are not part of physical Israel, as salvation is now of the Gentiles (Acts 28:28). All nations are now open to the kingdom of God. No person can lend at usury to another in the nation, as that is stealing.


  1. Is there anything that is not a physical object that we can steal from someone? 

A. Help the children understand that we can steal someone’s reputation, happiness, etc.


  1. Who else, besides our neighbour, can we steal from? 

A. Explain to the children that there are many ways we can steal from God.


  1. What is one way we steal from God that is listed in Malachi 3:7-12?

Withholding tithes and offerings.


  1. What is an offering?

A. Something offered in worship to God (a sacrifice). A contribution (money) given voluntarily to God through the Church; or something promised to God in freewill.


  1. How many times a year should we give God an offering? 

A. Show the children that the minimum is three times a year at the Feasts, although we can give as many more offerings as we choose (see Deut. 16:16; Ex. 23:14-15).


  1. What is a tithe?

A. The first tenth (10%) of our net earnings (or increase).


  1. How could it be stealing from God if we don’t give Him a tithe of our income? 

A. All things come from God. God set up a system that requires payment (or tithes) so we can worship, and for the poor (second tithe in the third year of the cycle: Deut. 14:28), as well as the ability for His people to participate in His ways, and on His Feasts and Sabbaths (second tithe: Deut. 14:22-27).


  1. What is a second tithe?  Is this included in Malachi 3? 

A. Explain that the second tithe is set aside for the enjoyment of the Festivals of God.  It is part of God’s system and therefore we must obey and maintain our second tithe. Comment here how the 2nd tithe is used in the 3rd year of the Seven-year cycle to help widows and fatherless.


  1. What happens if we borrow from our first tithe or our second tithe and then replace the funds?

A. Explain that the withholding of tithes is stealing. Where a person needs to borrow some of his tithe to use it for his own purpose, then there is a penalty. When the tithe is paid back, the penalty is that a fifth part must be added to it. Thus a mandatory 20% is added to any tithes used for any purpose. All items withheld wrongly are subject to a trespass offering of 20% (see Lev. 6:5).  Proverbs 6:31 says restoration for theft is sevenfold, but the understanding at the time of Christ was that things taken are restored fourfold (cf. Lk. 19:8), which was the restoration for a sheep stealer in Exodus 22:1. The restoration for cattle was five for one in the same text but if the stolen animal was found alive in the thief’s hand, it was to be restored double (from Ex. 22:4). In all cases of things taken illegally and then contested at court, the guilty person shall pay double if found to be in possession of another’s property (Ex. 22:9).


  1. What is another thing we can steal from God? 

A. When we don’t dedicate the Sabbath to God it is theft of God’s time and worship. God created us for His glory (Isa. 43:7). One way we glorify God is by dedicating time for worship and prayer to Him.



No person can steal the quality of life of another and inherit the Kingdom of God. The law of property is simply a physical aspect of a higher spiritual law. Stealing from man is simply stealing from God in another form. If we can not be trusted in upholding physical things, how can we be trusted in spiritual matters? We must repent and learn to love one another, keeping the welfare of each other free and pure.


Activity associated with stealing from neighbour:

  1. Divide the children into three groups (A,B,C).   Place them at three separate tables if possible.
  2. Give each group 7 cows and 7 sheep for their herds.  (Note: either use small plastic animals or felt animals with a felt board.)
  3. Have each group set up the cows and sheep and place a “fence” around their animals.
  4. Have someone from group A “sneak” over and steal two cows from Group B.
  5. Have someone from Group C “sneak” over and steal two sheep from Group B.
  6. Discuss how the herds look now and ask the children in Group A and Group C how it makes them feel to have “bigger” herds.  Ask Group B how they feel about their herd.
  7. Group A leaves one stolen cow in their herd, and takes the other stolen cow and kills it for food.
  8. Group C leaves one stolen sheep in their herd, and takes the other sheep and sells it for food.
  9. Group B approaches Group A and Group C and asks for restitution.
  10. Stop and ask the children in Group B what they think would be fair restitution.  Ask Group A and Group C what they think would be fair to return to Group B. 
  11. Read Exodus 22:1-4.
  12. Group A must first return the cow that is alive in the herd and then pay double.  Then, Group A must pay Group B five cows for the cow that was killed for food.
  13. Group C must first return the sheep that is alive in the herd, and then pay double.  Then, Group C must pay Group B four sheep for the sheep that was sold for food.
  14. Discuss how the herds look now.  Ask the children in Group A and Group C how it feels to have smaller herds.  Ask Group B how they feel about their herd.
  15. Ask Group A and Group C if they would ever steal a cow or sheep from Group B again.


Activity associated with stealing from God:

The children will build a hinged “tithe box” which will hold their first tithe, second tithe, and Terumah.


Read 2Kings 12:9:  “Then Jehoi’ada the priest took a chest, and bored a hole in the lid of it, and set it beside the altar on the right side as one entered the house of the LORD; and the priests who guarded the threshold put in it all the money that was brought into the house of the LORD.”


Box Assembly:

  1. Ahead of time, pre-cut a piece of plywood into eight pieces per box and assemble; glue, and hinge the boxes ahead of time (see separate diagram for box measurements).  Each box will have three compartments.
  2. Give each child a box and explain that they are going to bore three holes in the top of their box, one for each compartment.
  3. Have stickers, glitter, glue and paint available for the children to decorate the outside of their boxes (or any other decorating materials that would work).
  4. One at a time, have each child go to the “drilling area”. With an adult, each child can drill a hole into each of the three compartments. The hole needs to be big enough to fit a quarter, so a large enough drill bit must be used.
  5. Have the children and adults use safety goggles while drilling and explain that God’s Law gives the principal of safety from injury. There must be protection in all things even in putting walls around the roof (Deut. 22:8).


Once complete, explain to the children that the compartments represent our 1st tithe, 2nd tithe, and Terumah.


Close with prayer.