Home > Theology > Seminary: Applying the Old Testament Law Today

Seminary: Applying the Old Testament Law Today

September 9, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

Well as some of you know, I’ve been taking seminary classes for a couple weeks now, and I’ve been learning a lot of interesting stuff! Most of the materials are in my textbooks, but once in a while, we use supplemental materials that can be publicly accessed.

Here is one article that is very enlightening: http://www.biblicalstudies.org.uk/article_law_hays.html

I mean, haven’t we all wondered about some of the Old Testament laws? Which ones apply to us today, and why? Most people would use a subjective standard, namely, what seems relevant. This can get close, but the article shows a way to get closer—with more consistency.

Here’s a quick recap:

The “traditional” approach entails breaking down laws into moral, civil, and ceremonial categories. Basically, the “moral” group are the only ones that still apply today. But this approach falls short because it’s still arbitrary and subjective. How do we know what’s moral and (“merely”) ceremonial in God’s eyes?

This article suggests the approach of principlism. This method takes into account the theological context of the laws—God’s promise to the Jews, the promised land, and the Old (Mosaic) Covenant versus the New Covenant (in which we live today). A rough outline of the five steps goes as follows:

1) Identify what the particular law meant to the initial audience

2) Determine the differences between the initial audience and believers today

3) Develop universal principles from the text

4) Correlate the principle with New Testament teaching

5) Apply the modified principle to life today

Hope you’ll find the article enlightening and useful when trying to grasp the Old Testament Pentateuch! =)

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