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And the Lord of Twitter spoke all these words saying, I am the Lord your God, who gave thee computers and tablets and smartphones, the Holy One of all social media who foreknew the internet before the foundation of the earth, yea even when the world of handles and hashtags was without form and void:

Thou shalt worship other gods before Twitter. Take heed lest ye waste your life 140 characters at a time. What shall it profit a man if he has 100,000 followers and forgets what it means to follow me?

Thou shalt not assume the worst about the tweets of others. Careful qualifications and robust explanations are not to be expected in two sentences. Cuttest thine enemies some slack.

Thou shalt not take the name of thine own person too seriously. If thou art prone to feeling offended at every turn and to feeling sorry for thyself publically before others, I beseech thee to gettest thou over it. To tweet like an eight-year-old is an abomination before me.

Remember thine hyperlinks, to keep them holy. Three things are a nuisance to others, four things are always to be avoided: broken links, trashy videos, rickrolling, and linking to thine own article 17 times in the same day.

Honor thy father and thy mother and all others to whom honor is due. Let thy tweets be full of encouragement and praise. Find what is commendable and commend it before others. Forgettest not that athletes and politicians are real people too. And rememberest thou that thy parents and pastors can read thy tweets.

Thou shalt not humblebrag. Better to be humble and say nothing or to brag and say everything, than to fool no one but thine own conscience.

Thou shalt not disguise self-congratulation in the form of lamentation. If thou shouldst mention before a multitude, and with conspicuous disappointment, that thou wast the only one white person who entered a float for Nelson Mandela Appreciation Day or that it breakest thine heart to think about the church’s responsibility for the Crusades, small shall be thy reward in heaven.

Thou shalt not make public demands of complete strangers. Calling upon others to respond to thy blog or denounce the evil thou refusest to put to rest is like unto social media terrorism. It is a constant dripping on a day of steady rain.

Thou shalt not retweet thine own awesomeness. The decree to “Let another praise you, and not thine own mouth” shall not be loosed all thy days. It is a perpetual statute, even unto the age of Twitter. Let it be a light unto thy path, to guard thy head from swelling and thy friends from cringing.

Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s klout; thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s retweets, or his followers, or his hip Instagram photos, or his travel complaints, or his mentions, or anything belonging to thy neighbor.

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32 thoughts on “The Ten Commandments of Twitter”

  1. Jim says:

    did you really mean — Thou shalt worship others gods before Twitter

  2. Kevin DeYoung says:

    Yes. We should not make Twitter our god, but worship the true God before Twitter.

  3. Curtis Sheidler says:

    How many tablets did you need to put these on, Kevin? :-)

  4. Jennifer says:

    This is the BOMB!

  5. Greg says:

    This needs to be put in the public square or in schools.

  6. Dana says:

    Thou must confront thy colleague Denny Burke about rickrolling abominations.

  7. AJ says:

    Kind of ironic that this post states ‘Forgettest not that athletes and politicians are real people too,’ but it makes a joke at Al Gore’s expense in the opening paragraph.

  8. Nick Klein says:

    No rickrolling? Man…

  9. Chris Viera says:

    The 10th on “Coveting” I find to be extremely helpful, practical, relevant, and (to be honest) convicting. Great article :)

  10. anaquaduck says:

    Verily… I am not ignorant of the abundance of materials here supplied, & of the insufficiency of the language to reach the dignity of the subjects on which is briefly touched, but since each of them, on suitable occasions, has been elsewhere more copiously discussed, although not with suitable brilliancy & elegance of diction, it is now enough for me briefly to apprize my pious readers how well it would repay their labour, if they would learn prudently to apply to their own use the example of the Ancient Church, as it is described by Moses.

  11. Kevin DeYoung says:

    AJ, good point about the Al Gore line. I tweaked the first paragraph accordingly. Thanks.

  12. Caleb Suko says:

    If I could add one it would be, “Leave your smart phone off when you are in the most holy place fellowshipping with God’s family”

  13. Josh says:

    Now I remember why I use ESV :)

    Funny read, though it took me a while to understand!

  14. Mark Hanson says:

    Kevin, in the phrase “Thou shalt worship others gods before Twitter”, I think you meant “other gods”.

  15. Jeff Hensley says:

    Yeah, that first one is worded weird it seems. Or maybe I should say instead, I’m just not smart enough to get it….

    Anyway, awesome post!

  16. Jeff Hensley says:

    You forgot a HUGE one: “Thou shalt fact check before thy tweet in righteous christian rage. He who has visited snopes to check all claims may throweth the first stone.”

  17. Kevin DeYoung says:

    Yes, check snopes first! About the first commandment, my point was that instead of having “no other gods before [or besides] me” like Exodus reads, we should have other gods before Twitter, because Twitter ain’t God.

  18. solomon says:

    i know the only living God. beside him no other God. i only worship him.his name is Jesus the savior

  19. Georgetta says:

    Kevin, Commandment #10, I’m letting you know that I’m going to fail. Because I will covet your tweets. LOL. This blog is worth sharing.

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Kevin DeYoung

Kevin DeYoung is the senior pastor at Christ Covenant Church in Matthews, North Carolina. He is chairman of the board of The Gospel Coalition, assistant professor of systematic theology at Reformed Theological Seminary (Charlotte), and a PhD candidate at the University of Leicester. Kevin and his wife, Trisha, have seven children. You can follow him on Twitter.

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