What is the New Testament meaning of this commandment?

We should honor and love God by recognizing and respecting our neighbor's inherent right to life, by desiring his best physical well-being, by assisting and cooperating with him in danger and need, and by loving him as we love ourself.

Thou shalt not kill is a personal commandment to the individual. It does not refer to the state. The state stands in the place of God with the authority of God and must exert the punishment of God, which would include the death penalty in case a person committed a crime that should be punished with such a penalty.
The individual is not to take the place of the state any more than a child is to take the place of parents. Could one imagine the confusion that would result ff a few students, without authorization, were to assume the role of a principal and begin administrating discipline to the other students? To the individual God commands, "Thou shalt not kill."

To fulfill this commandment one is not to hurt or injure another with his hand or deed. He is not to instigate or encourage others to engage in anything that would be physically harmful or injurious to another. As a matter of fact, one is forbidden to hold anger or ill will toward others. If punishment is necessary, then the responsibility for imposing it belongs to the state.

Not only is one guilty of violating this commandment if he does evil to his neighbor, he is guilty if he refuses to help his neighbor when he could extend a hand and save him from injury or death. If one could lift another from the water or the fire and save his life, but refuses, he is guilty of murder.

Jesus said, "I was hungry and you gave me food, thirsty and you gave me drink, in prison and you visited me." In that you have done this to the least of these you have done it to me. You have saved life by relieving hunger and thirst.

Assignment for this lesson:

Genesis 4:1-24; 9:1-7; 34:1-31;
Exodus 21:12-14;

Deuteronomy 19:1-13;

Numbers 35:9-34;

II Samuel 3:19-39; 4:1-12; 20:4-13;

I Kings 2:1-6; 28-34;

Matthew 5:38-48; 26:52;

Acts 25:10-11;

I John 3:14-15;

Revelation 13:10.

Copyright in 1978 by R.O.Corvin. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.