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Depicted is the famous Sermon on the Mount of Jesus in which he commented on Biblical law. Christians believe that Jesus is the mediator of the New Covenant.[1]

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Judaism and Christianity
Biblical law in Judaism
Biblical law in Christianity

Biblical law in Christianity generally refers to a discussion of the applicability of Biblical law in a Christian context. This is also referred to as Mosaic Law, God's Law or Divine Law, and refers to the statements or principles of law and ethics contained in the Pentateuch or Torah (in Hebrew: תּוֹרָה‎,[2] see also Strong's Concordance H8451[3]), the first five books of the Hebrew Bible, which is incorporated into the Christian Bible, where it is called the Old Testament, a term linked with Supersessionism. There are diverse views of the issues involved with some concluding that none is applicable, some concluding that only parts are applicable, and others concluding that all are still applicable to believers in Jesus and the New Covenant.

Rabbinic Judaism[4] asserts that the Laws of the Jewish Bible were presented to the Jewish people and converts to Judaism and do not apply to gentiles, including Christians, with the notable exception of the Seven Laws of Noah which apply to all people. Rabbi Emden of the 18th century was of the opinion that Jesus' original objective, and especially Paul's, was only to convert Gentiles to Noahide Law while allowing Jews to follow full Mosaic Law.

Although Christianity by tradition affirms that the Five Books of Moses, also called the Pentateuch, are the inspired word of God, Christian tradition, in this case similar to Jewish tradition, denies that all biblical law (specifically the Mosaic covenant) applies directly to Christians, but different arguments are used to reach that conclusion and there are differences of opinion within Christianity as to which laws, if any, still apply. The predominant Christian view is that Jesus mediates a New Covenant relationship between God and his followers, according to the New Testament.[5][6][7][8][9] Christianity, almost without exception, teaches that this new covenant is the instrument through which God offers mercy and atonement to mankind. However, there are differences of opinion as to how the new covenant affects the validity of biblical law. The differences are mainly as a result of attempts to harmonize biblical statements to the effect that the biblical law is eternal (for example Exodus 31:16-17,[10] Exodus 12:14-17[11]) with New Testament statements that suggest that it does not now apply at all, or at least does not fully apply. Most biblical scholars admit the issue of the Law can be confusing and the topic of Paul and the Law is still frequently debated among New Testament scholars[12] (for example, see New Perspective on Paul, Pauline Christianity); hence the various views.

Historical background


Map of Alexander's empire, c. 334-323 BC.

The conquests of Alexander the Great in the late 4th century BC spread Greek culture and colonization over non-Greek lands, including Judea and Galilee, and gave rise to the Hellenistic age, which sought to create a common or universal culture in the Alexandrian empire based on that of 5th and 4th century BC Athens (see also Age of Pericles), along with a fusion of Near Eastern cultures.[13] The period is characterized by a new wave of Greek colonization which established Greek cities and Kingdoms in Asia and Africa,[14] the most famous being Alexandria. New cities were established composed of colonists who came from different parts of the Greek world, and not from a specific "mother city" (literally metropolis, see also metropolis) as before.[14]

This synthesised Hellenistic culture had a profound impact on the customs and practices of Jews, both in the Land of Israel and in the Diaspora. There was a cultural standoff between the Jewish and Greek cultures. The inroads into Judaism gave rise to Hellenistic Judaism in the Jewish diaspora which attempted to establish the Hebraic-Jewish religious tradition within the culture and language of Hellenism. The major literary product of the movement was the Septuagint and major authors were Philo of Alexandria and Josephus. Some scholars[15] consider Paul of Tarsus a Hellenist as well, see also Paul of Tarsus and Judaism.

There was a general deterioration in relations between hellenized Jews and religious Jews, leading the Seleucid king Antiochus IV Epiphanes to ban certain Jewish religious rites and traditions, his aim being to turn Jerusalem into a Greek polis, to be named Antiochia.[16] Specifically, he decreed the death penalty for anyone who observed the sabbath or practiced circumcision, rededicated the Jewish Temple to Zeus, and forced Jews to eat pork.[17] Consequently, the orthodox Jews revolted against the Greek ruler leading to the formation of an independent Jewish kingdom, known as the Hasmonaean Dynasty, which lasted from 165 BCE to 63 BCE. The Hasmonean Dynasty eventually disintegrated in a civil war. The people, who did not want to continue to be governed by a corrupt and hellenized dynasty, appealed to Rome for intervention, leading to a total Roman conquest and annexation of the country, see Iudaea province.

Nevertheless, the cultural issues remained unresolved. The main issue separating the Hellenistic and orthodox Jews was the application of biblical laws in a Hellenistic (melting pot) culture.[18] One issue was circumcision, which was repulsive to a Greek mind.[19] Some theorize that the early Christians came largely from the group of hellenized Jews who were less attached to Jewish rituals, philosophies and practices.[20] See also Anti-Judaism.

Council of Jerusalem

Icon of James the Just, whose judgment was adopted in the Apostolic Decree of Acts 15:19-29, c. 50 AD.

A Greek language inscription from Herod's Temple, late 1st century BCE. It warns gentiles to refrain from entering the Temple enclosure, on pain of death. Gentiles were restricted to the Court of the Gentiles

The Council of Jerusalem[21] of about 50 AD was the first meeting in early Christianity called upon to consider the application of Mosaic Law to the new community. Specifically, it had to consider whether new Gentile converts to Christianity were obligated to undergo circumcision for full membership in the Christian community, but it was conscious that the issue had wider implications.

At the time, the Christian community would have considered itself a part of the wider Jewish community, with most of the leaders of the Church being Jewish or Jewish proselytes.

The decision of the Council came to be called the Apostolic Decree [22] and was that most Mosaic law,[23] including the requirement for circumcision of males, was not obligatory for Gentile converts, possibly in order to make it easier for them to join the movement.[24] However, the Council did retain the prohibitions against eating meat containing blood, or meat of animals not properly slain, and against "fornication" and idol worship.[25] Beginning with Augustine of Hippo,[26] many have seen a connection to Noahide Law, while some modern scholars[27] reject the connection to Noahide Law[28] and instead see Lev 17-18[29] as the basis. See also Old Testament Law applicable to converts and Leviticus 18.

Noted in AC 15:21, James tells the Jewish believers to understand his reasoning for setting up a fourfold doctrine of denial with regard to gentiles when he said, "For Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath." Knowing the new converts would have to attend a Synagogue in order to learn the history of Israel and the Church, James set the gentiles up with a beginning attitude.

The Apostolic Decree may be a major act of differentiation of the Church from its Jewish roots,[30] the first being the Rejection of Jesus.[31] Although the outcome is not inconsistent with the Jewish view on the applicability of Mosaic Law to non-Jews, the Decree created a category of persons who were members of the Christian community (which still considered itself to be part of the Jewish community) who were not considered to be full converts by the wider Jewish community. In the wider Jewish community, these "partial converts" were welcomed, a common term for them being "God fearers" (similar to the modern movement of B'nei Noah, see also Dual covenant theology), but there were certain rituals[32] and areas in the Temple from which they (Gentiles) were excluded, just as, for example, only the Kohen Gadol could enter the Kodesh Hakodashim of the Temple. This created problems especially when the Christian community had become dominated by new Gentile members with less understanding of the biblical reasons for the dispute.


In the middle of the second century, bishop[33] Marcion proposed rejecting the entire Jewish Bible, indeed he considered the God portrayed there to be a lesser deity, a demiurge. His position however was strongly rejected by Proto-orthodox Christianity, notably Tertullian and Irenaeus.[34] The term Old Testament is traditionally ascribed to Tertullian, but some scholars[35] instead propose Marcion as the source. Other scholars propose that Melito of Sardis coined the phrase.[36]

The Roman Catholic view

The Ten Commandments on a monument on the grounds of the Texas State Capitol. The third non-indented commandment listed is "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy".

Roman Catholic theologian Thomas Aquinas explained that there are three types of biblical precepts: moral, ceremonial, and judicial. He holds that moral precepts are permanent, having held even before the Law was given, since they are part of the law of nature,;[37] ceremonial precepts, which deal with forms of worshiping God and ritual cleanness; and judicial precepts (such as those in Exodus 21[38]) came into existence only with the Law of Moses,[39] and were only temporary. The ceremonial commands were "ordained to the Divine worship for that particular time and to the foreshadowing of Christ".[40] Accordingly, upon the coming of Christ they ceased to bind,[41] and to observe them now would, Aquinas thought, be equivalent to declaring falsely that Christ has not yet come, for Christians a mortal sin.[42] Unlike the ceremonial and judicial precepts, which no longer apply, moral commands continue to bind, and are summed up in the Ten Commandments. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states:

"2068 The Council of Trent teaches that the Ten Commandments are obligatory for Christians and that the justified man is still bound to keep them; the Second Vatican Council confirms: 'The bishops, successors of the apostles, receive from the Lord ... the mission of teaching all peoples, and of preaching the Gospel to every creature, so that all men may attain salvation through faith, Baptism and the observance of the Commandments.'"
2070. The Ten Commandments belong to God's revelation. At the same time they teach us the true humanity of man. They bring to light the essential duties, and therefore, indirectly, the fundamental rights inherent in the nature of the human person. The Decalogue contains a privileged expression of the natural law: "From the beginning, God had implanted in the heart of man the precepts of the natural law. Then he was content to remind him of them. This was the Decalogue" (St. Irenaeus, Adv. haeres. 4, 15, 1: PG 7/1, 1012).
2072. Since they express man's fundamental duties towards God and towards his neighbour, the Ten Commandments reveal, in their primordial content, grave obligations. They are fundamentally immutable, and they oblige always and everywhere. No one can dispense from them. The Ten Commandments are engraved by God in the human heart.[43]

The Roman Catholic Church teaches that the Apostles[44] instituted the religious celebration of Sunday, without transferring to it the ceremonial obligations associated with the Jewish Sabbath,[45] though later some of these obligations became attached to Sunday, not without opposition within the Church.[46] The Roman Catholic Church thus applies to Sunday, the Lord's Day, the Third[47] Commandment about keeping a particular day holy, see also Sabbath in Christianity.

The evangelical counsels, which, as the phrase itself indicates, are not precepts but counsels that Jesus gave in the Gospels, are unrelated to the distinction between the permanent moral and transient ceremonial and judicial precepts of the Law of Moses or to any distinction that may be made among its precepts.[48] Not being part of the Law of Moses, they were not precepts of that Law, whether or not a distinction among its precepts is admitted.

Some who dispute the view that the moral precepts of the Law of Moses are permanent, while the ceremonial and judicial precepts were temporary, say that a division of the Law into moral, ceremonial and judicial precepts is nowhere explicitly mentioned in the Bible, which in their view says rather that the Law is indivisible; they also say that it would be practically impossible to sort its commands by these types. But in Colossians 2:16-17[49] Paul the Apostle speaks of commandments about food, drink, new moon festivals and sabbaths as having been merely a shadow of things to come, while elsewhere he speaks of commandments such as "Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not covet, and if there be any other commandment" as still valid.[50] They also say that the Law is described in the Bible as "everlasting", and so, they say, none of it can terminate or expire, nor can anything that an unchanging God called "righteous" and "good" become sinful. But regarding sacrifices "offered according to the law", Hebrews 10:8-9[51] says Jesus "takes away the first, that he may establish the second", and Hebrews 7:12[52] says: "When there is a change of priesthood, there is necessarily a change of law as well."

Church of England

Article 7 of the Thirty-Nine Articles (1563) of the Church of England declares that Christians are bound by the moral commandments contained in the Five Books of Moses, although not the ceremonial, ritual or civil laws.

Lutheran Church

Law and Grace, by Lucas Cranach the Elder, a Lutheran. The left side of the tree illustrates law, while the right side illustrates grace.

Article V of the Formula of Concord (1577) of the Lutheran Church declares:[53]

We believe, teach, and confess that the distinction between the Law and the Gospel is to be maintained in the Church with great diligence as an especially brilliant light, by which, according to the admonition of St. Paul, the Word of God is rightly divided.

The distinction between Law and Gospel is that Law demands obedience to God's will, while Gospel refers to the promise of forgiveness of sins in the light of the person and work of Jesus Christ. Between 1580 and 1713 (considered the age of Lutheran Orthodoxy) this principle was considered of fundamental importance by Lutheran theologians.

The foundation of evangelical Lutheran biblical exegesis and exposition is contained in the Apology of the Augsburg Confession (Article 4) (1531):

All Scripture ought to be distributed into these two principal topics, the Law and the promises. For in some places it presents the Law, and in others the promise concerning Christ, namely, either when [in the Old Testament] it promises that Christ will come, and offers, for His sake, the remission of sins justification, and life eternal, or when, in the Gospel [in the New Testament], Christ Himself, since He has appeared, promises the remission of sins, justification, and life eternal.[54]

Reformed or Covenant Theology

The view of Reformed or Covenant Theology is similar to the Roman Catholic view in holding that Mosaic Law continues under the New Covenant, while declaring that parts of it have "expired" and are no longer applicable.[55] The Westminster Confession of Faith (1646) divides the Mosaic laws into three categories: moral, civil, and ceremonial. In the view of the Westminster Divines, only the moral laws of the Mosaic Law, which include the Ten Commandments and the commands repeated in the New Testament, directly apply to Christians today.[56] Ceremonial laws, in this view, include the regulations pertaining to ceremonial cleanliness, festivals, diet, and the Levitical priesthood.

While the view affirms the Roman Catholic view relating to the Sabbath in Christianity, some advocates hold that the commandment concerning the Sabbath was redefined by Jesus.[57][58][59]

Starting in the 1970s and 1980s, in a revival of ideas established in the Puritan period, a branch of Reformed theology known as Christian Reconstructionism argued that the civil laws as well as the moral laws should be applied in today's society (a position called Theonomy) as part of establishing a modern theonomic state.[55]

Advocates of this view hold that, while not always easy to do and overlap between categories does occur, the divisions they make are possible and supported based on information contained in the commands themselves; specifically to whom they are addressed, whom or what they speak about, and their content. For example, a ceremonial law might be addressed to the Levites, speak of purification or holiness and have content that could be considered as a foreshadowing of some aspect of Christ's life or ministry. In keeping with this, most advocates also hold that when the Law is spoken of as everlasting, it is in reference to certain divisions of the Law. Some advocates, usually Theonomists, go further and embrace that idea that the whole Law continues to function, contending that the way in which Christians observe some commands has changed but not the content or meaning of the commands. (For example, they would say that the commands regarding Passover were looking forward to Christ's sacrificial death and the Communion mandate is looking back on it, the former is given to the Levitical priesthood and the latter is given to the priesthood of all believers, but both have the same content and meaning.)[60][61][62][63]

Those in disagreement with this view claim that nowhere is a division of the Law mentioned in the Bible, but rather there is evidence that it is indivisible, and it would be practically impossible to sort commands by these types. Others in disagreement claim that the Law is described in various places as "everlasting" and none of it can terminate or expire.


Dispensationalism holds that under the New Covenant, the Mosaic Law has fundamentally been terminated, or abolished (see antinomianism). The argument is that all scripture is one unit, because it does not describe the Law as divisible.[64] Therefore, because portions of New Testament (such as Hebrew 8:13)[65] are understood, in this view, as annulling at least parts of the Law, then the whole Law must be terminated.[66]

Furthermore, this view holds that Mosaic Laws and the penalties attached to them were limited to the particular historical and theological setting of the Old Testament. In that view, the Law was given to Israel and does not apply since the New Covenant.

Replacing the Mosaic Law is the “Law of Christ”,[67] which holds definite similarities with the Mosaic Law in moral concerns, but is new and different, replacing the original Law. Despite this difference, Dispensationalists continue to seek to find moral and religious principles applicable for today in Mosaic Law.

Those who disagree with the Dispensational view point out that nowhere does the Bible define a series of “dispensations” that this theology proposes, and point out that God said that he does not change. Furthermore, opponents point out that Mosaic Law is described in various places as “everlasting” and must fundamentally continue in some form. Others hold that, for this same reason, none of the Law can terminate or expire.

The New Covenant Theology view

New Covenant Theology refers to a Christian theological view of redemptive history primarily found in Baptist circles and contrasted with Covenant Theology and Dispensationalism.

New Covenant Theology believes that God has maintained one eternal purpose in Christ, which has been expressed through a multiplicity of distinct historical covenants; that prominent among these are those designated the Old Covenant (also known as the Mosaic or First Covenant) and the New Covenant; that the former, confined to the people of Israel alone, was established while that nation was assembled before Mt. Sinai and was later made obsolete through its fulfillment by the life and death of Jesus the Messiah; that it was comprised largely of shadows pointing ultimately to Jesus and His body, the Church; and that, therefore, the age in which it remained operative was at all times a period of immaturity as compared to the age of fulfillment, which was inaugurated with Christ's first advent.

The Old Covenant, containing a single, unified law code, was a legal, conditional covenant requiring perfect and complete obedience of all those under it; that, on the one hand, it promised life to all who obeyed it, and, on the other hand, it pronounced a curse upon all its transgressors; that it, therefore, inescapably brought death to all who sought to be justified by it — not because of a deficiency in the law (itself "holy, just, and good"), but because of the sinful inability of those under its charge; and that, for this reason, it is variously described as a "killing letter," a "ministry of death,” and a "ministry of condemnation" — its distinct purpose being to illumine sin so as to make manifest the Israelites' and, by implication, all men's need for a redeemer.

In contrast to the Old Covenant, the New Covenant (by virtue of Christ's perfect obedience to the law, as well as His bearing of its curse) promises only blessing to all those who belong to it; and that this second covenant, the "everlasting covenant" enacted upon better promises, has thus brought to realization all that was anticipated in the covenants made with Abraham, Moses, and David.

Under the New Covenant, God's people, having entered the age of fulfillment, now stand as mature sons; that having been set free from the tutelage and bondage of the law code written upon tablets of stone, they have subsequently been placed under the Spirit's management — having the new and greater Lawgiver's own law now written upon their hearts.

As a result, though many of the individual commandments given in the decalogue and the eternal principles upon which the Mosaic Covenant was founded still apply to those under the New Covenant, God's people are now totally free from the Old Covenant as a covenant; that the usefulness of the Mosaic commands is not therefore to be denied, only that these are now understood to come to us through Christ, the mediator of the New Covenant; and that, in particular, with the obsolescence of the Old Covenant, the fourth commandment, the seventh day Sabbath observance, is no longer obligatory — its relevance now pointing to that rest enjoyed by all those in Christ.

The Torah Submissive view

Torah-submissive Christians view Mosaic Law/Torah in Christianity as of continuing validity and applicability for Christians under the new covenant (see also Christian view of the Law). This view is based on the idea that Jesus, as the Son of God and Messiah, could not and did not change the standard of Godly obedience, but rather affirmed both the "weightier" and "lesser" matters of Torah for those who have put their faith in him.[68] Adherents of this view pursue a lifestyle that is both fully dedicated to Jesus Christ and also submitted to obeying God's commands found in the Torah (which includes the Law of God given to Moses on Mount Sinai). There are both ethnically Jewish and Gentile Torah-submissive Christians (e.g., the Twelve Tribes).

Other views

As far as the Ten Commandments, some believe Jesus rejected four of the Ten Commandments and endorsed only Six,[69] citing Mark 10:17–22[70] and the parallels Matthew 19:16–22[71] and Luke 18:18–23[72] (cf. Cafeteria Christianity).

While some Christians from time to time have deduced from statements about the law in the writings of the Apostle Paul that Christians are under grace to the exclusion of all law (see antinomianism, hyperdispensationalism, Christian anarchism), this is not the usual viewpoint of Christians.

Law-related passages with disputed interpretation

The Acts of the Apostles in the New Testament describes a conflict among the first Christians as to the necessity of following all the laws of the Torah to the letter, see also Council of Jerusalem and Incident at Antioch.

Some have interpreted the NRSV's parenthetical statement: "(Thus he declared all foods clean.)"[73] to mean that Jesus taught that the pentateuchal food laws were no longer applicable to his followers, see also Antinomianism in the New Testament. However, this statement was added by translators to help clarify the meaning as they understood it and is not part of the biblical text. It is not found in the King James Version of the Bible for this reason.[74] The parenthetical statement is not found in the NRSV's Matthean parallel Matthew 15:15–20[75] and is a disputed translation, for example, the Scholars Version[76] has: "This is how everything we eat is purified"; Gaus' Unvarnished New Testament[77] has: "purging all that is eaten." See also Strong's G2511.[78]

Others note that Peter had never eaten anything that was not kosher many years after Acts 2 (Pentecost). To the heavenly vision he announced: "Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean."[79] Therefore, Peter was unaware that Jesus had changed the Mosaic food laws, implying that Jesus did not change these rules. Later in Acts, it should be noted that Peter realises the vision is in reference to the gentiles now cleaned through Christ. In Mark 7, Jesus may have been just referring to a tradition of the Pharisees about eating with unwashed hands. For example, the insertion found in many translations concerning his declaration that all foods were clean is not found in the King James Version.[74] The expression "purging all meats" may have meant the digestion and elimination of food from the body rather than the declaration that all foods were kosher. The confusion primarily centers around the participle used in the original Greek for "purging". Some scholars believe it agrees with the word for Jesus, which is nearly 40 words away from the participle. If this is the case, then it would mean that Jesus himself is the one doing the purifying. In New Testament Greek, however, the participle is rarely that far away from the noun it modifies, and many scholars agree that it is far more likely that the participle is modifying the digestive process (literally: the latrine), which is only two words away.

Still others believe a partial list of the commandments was merely an abbreviation that stood for all the commandments because Jesus prefaced his statement to the rich young ruler with the statement: "If you want to enter life, obey the commandments". Some people claim that since Jesus did not qualify his pronouncement, that he meant all the commandments. The rich young ruler asked "which" commandments. Jesus gave him a partial list. The first set of commandments deal with a relationship to God. The second set of commandments deal with a relationship to men. No doubt Jesus considered the relationship to God important, but Jesus may have considered that the young man was perhaps lacking in this second set, which made him obligated to men. (This is inferred by his statement that to be perfect he should sell his goods, give them to the poor and come and follow Jesus — thereby opening to him a place in the coming Kingdom.)

Several times Paul mentioned adhering to "the Law"[80] and preached about Ten Commandment topics such as "idolatry".[81] See also Law of Christ. Many Christians believe that the Sermon on the Mount is a form of commentary on the Ten Commandments. In the Expounding of the Law, Jesus said that he did not come to abolish the Law, but to fulfill it; while in Marcion's version of Luke 23:2 we find the extension: "We found this fellow perverting the nation and destroying the law and the prophets".[82] See also Adherence to the Law and Antithesis of the Law.

Recent scholarship

Leading scholar F. F. Bruce was typical of most scholars of his generation. Unlike his denominational affiliation, he did not support dispensationalism. Other recent scholars influential in the debate regarding the law include Rudolf Bultmann, Heikki Räisänen, Klyne Snodgrass, C. E. B. Cranfield and others, as well as those involved with the New Perspectives movement (see below).

Krister Stendahl argued in "The Apostle Paul and the Introspective Conscience of the West"[83] that since Augustine, Western commentators have misunderstood Paul, due to an overly active conscience.

New Perspective on Paul

The "New Perspective on Paul" is a controversial and substantial shift in New Testament scholarship within Protestantism, particularly regarding Paul's writings on Judaism, justification by faith, and imputed righteousness. It became prominent with the work of E. P. Sanders, particularly in Paul and Palestinian Judaism (1977), and has also been described as the "Sanders Revolution". It claims that Protestants have read Paul and Judaism in the light of sixteenth-century Catholic-Protestant debates. It claims Judaism is not a religion of self-righteousness whereby humankind seeks to merit salvation before God, and that Paul's argument with the Judaizers was not about Christian grace versus Jewish legalism.

James Dunn and N. T. Wright are two of the leading supporters. It is opposed by John Piper, Don Carson and many other theologians.

N. T. Wright believes the Reformed (Calvinistic) tradition is more faithful to Paul than the Lutheran tradition, and does consider himself to be legitimately within the Reformed tradition.

See also


  1. Such as Hebrews 8:6 etc. See also Catholic Encyclopedia: Epistle to the Hebrews: "The central thought of the entire Epistle is the doctrine of the Person of Christ and His Divine mediatorial office. ... There He now exercises forever His priestly office of mediator as our Advocate with the Father (vii, 24 sq.)."
  2. Judaism 101: Torah
  3. H8451
  4. Jewish Encyclopedia: Gentiles: Gentiles May Not Be Taught the Torah
  5. Jeremiah 31:31–34
  6. 1 Cor 11:23-25
  7. 2 Cor 2–3
  8. Luke 22:20
  9. Heb 8–9
  10. Exodus 31:16-17
  11. 12:14-17
  12. Gundry, ed., Five Views on Law and Gospel. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1993).
  13. Roy M. MacLeod, The Library Of Alexandria: Centre Of Learning In The Ancient World
  14. 14.0 14.1 Ulrich Wilcken, Griechische Geschichte im Rahmen der Alterumsgeschichte.
  15. Jewish Encyclopedia: Saul of Tarsus: Not a Hebrew Scholar; a Hellenist
  16. H.H Ben-Sasson, A History of the Jewish People, Harvard University Press, 1969, page 203, ISBN 0674397312
  17. ibid, page 204
  18. Jewish Encyclopedia: Hellenism: "Post-exilic Judaism was largely recruited from those returned exiles who regarded it as their chief task to preserve their religion uncontaminated, a task that required the strict separation of the congregation both from all foreign peoples (Ezra x. 11; Neh. ix. 2) and from the Jewish inhabitants of Palestine who did not strictly observe the Law (Ezra vi. 22; Neh. x. 29)."
  19. Jewish Encyclopedia: Circumcision: In Apocryphal and Rabbinical Literature: "Contact with Grecian life, especially at the games of the arena [which involved nudity], made this distinction obnoxious to the Hellenists, or antinationalists; and the consequence was their attempt to appear like the Greeks by epispasm ("making themselves foreskins"; I Macc. i. 15; Josephus, "Ant." xii. 5, § 1; Assumptio Mosis, viii.; I Cor. vii. 18; , Tosef., Shab. xv. 9; Yeb. 72a, b; Yer. Peah i. 16b; Yeb. viii. 9a). All the more did the law-observing Jews defy the edict of Antiochus Epiphanes prohibiting circumcision (I Macc. i. 48, 60; ii. 46); and the Jewish women showed their loyalty to the Law, even at the risk of their lives, by themselves circumcising their sons."; Hodges, Frederick, M. (2001). "The Ideal Prepuce in Ancient Greece and Rome: Male Genital Aesthetics and Their Relation to Lipodermos, Circumcision, Foreskin Restoration, and the Kynodesme" (PDF). The Bulletin of the History of Medicine 75 (Fall 2001): 375–405. doi:10.1353/bhm.2001.0119. Retrieved 2007-07-24. 
  20. Jewish Encyclopedia: Saul of Tarsus: Jewish Proselytism and Paul: "As a matter of fact, only the Jewish propaganda work along the Mediterranean Sea made it possible for Paul and his associates to establish Christianity among the Gentiles, as is expressly recorded in the Acts (10:2; 13:16, 13:26, 13:43, 13:50; 16:14; 17:4, 17:17; 18:7); and it is exactly from such synagogue manuals for proselytes as the Didache and the Didascalia that the ethical teachings in the Epistles of Paul and of Peter were derived (see Seeberg, "Der Katechismus der Urchristenheit," 1903, pp. 1-44)."
  21. Acts 15
  22. Acts 15:19-21
  23. Jewish law or Halakha was formalized later, see Jewish Encyclopedia: Jesus of Nazareth: Attitude Toward the Law: "Jesus, however, does not appear to have taken into account the fact that the Halakah was at this period just becoming crystallized, and that much variation existed as to its definite form; the disputes of the Bet Hillel and Bet Shammai were occurring about the time of his maturity."
  24. Acts 15:19
  25. Karl Josef von Hefele's Commentary on canon II of Gangra notes: "We further see that, at the time of the Synod of Gangra, the rule of the Apostolic Synod with regard to blood and things strangled was still in force. With the Greeks, indeed, it continued always in force as their Euchologies still show. Balsamon also, the well-known commentator on the canons of the Middle Ages, in his commentary on the sixty-third Apostolic Canon, expressly blames the Latins because they had ceased to observe this command. What the Latin Church, however, thought on this subject about the year 400, is shown by St. Augustine in his work Contra Faustum, where he states that the Apostles had given this command in order to unite the heathens and Jews in the one ark of Noah; but that then, when the barrier between Jewish and heathen converts had fallen, this command concerning things strangled and blood had lost its meaning, and was only observed by few. But still, as late as the eighth century, Pope Gregory the Third 731 forbade the eating of blood or things strangled under threat of a penance of forty days. No one will pretend that the disciplinary enactments of any council, even though it be one of the undisputed Ecumenical Synods, can be of greater and more unchanging force than the decree of that first council, held by the Holy Apostles at Jerusalem, and the fact that its decree has been obsolete for centuries in the West is proof that even Ecumenical canons may be of only temporary utility and may be repealed by disuser, like other laws."
  26. Contra Faust, 32.13
  27. For example: Joseph Fitzmyer, The Acts of the Apostles (The Anchor Yale Bible Commentaries), Yale University Press (December 2, 1998), ISBN 0300139829, chapter V
  28. Genesis 9
  29. Lev 17-18
  30. Jewish Encyclopedia: Baptism: "According to rabbinical teachings, which dominated even during the existence of the Temple (Pes. viii. 8), Baptism, next to circumcision and sacrifice, was an absolutely necessary condition to be fulfilled by a proselyte to Judaism (Yeb. 46b, 47b; Ker. 9a; 'Ab. Zarah 57a; Shab. 135a; Yer. Kid. iii. 14, 64d). Circumcision, however, was much more important, and, like baptism, was called a "seal" (Schlatter, "Die Kirche Jerusalems," 1898, p. 70). But as circumcision was discarded by Christianity, and the sacrifices had ceased, Baptism remained the sole condition for initiation into religious life. The next ceremony, adopted shortly after the others, was the imposition of hands, which, it is known, was the usage of the Jews at the ordination of a rabbi. Anointing with oil, which at first also accompanied the act of Baptism, and was analogous to the anointment of priests among the Jews, was not a necessary condition."
  31. McGrath, Alister E., Christianity: An Introduction, Blackwell Publishing,(2006), ISBN 1405108991, Page 174: "In effect, they [Jewish Christians] seemed to regard Christianity as an affirmation of every aspect of contemporary Judaism, with the addition of one extra belief — that Jesus was the Messiah. Unless males were circumcised, they could not be saved (Acts 15:1)."
  32. See, for example, Exodus 12:48.
  33. Catholic Encyclopedia: Marcionites: "Moreover, it is obvious that Marcion was already a consecrated bishop."
  34. Against Heresies 3.12.12: "For all those who are of a perverse mind, having been set against the Mosaic legislation, judging it to be dissimilar and contrary to the doctrine of the Gospel, have not applied themselves to investigate the causes of the difference of each covenant. Since, therefore, they have been deserted by the paternal love, and puffed up by Satan, being brought over to the doctrine of Simon Magus, they have apostatized in their opinions from Him who is God, and imagined that they have themselves discovered more than the apostles, by finding out another god; and [maintained] that the apostles preached the Gospel still somewhat under the influence of Jewish opinions, but that they themselves are purer [in doctrine], and more intelligent, than the apostles."
  35. The Canon Debate, editors L. M. McDonald & J. A. Sanders (Hendrickson, 2002), Everett Ferguson in chapter 18 quotes Tertullian's De praescriptione haereticorum 30: "Since Marcion separated the New Testament from the Old, he is necessarily subsequent to that which he separated, inasmuch as it was only in his power to separate what was previously united. Having been united previous to its separation, the fact of its subsequent separation proves the subsequence also of the man who effected the separation." Note 61 of page 308 adds: "[Wolfram] Kinzig suggests that it was Marcion who usually called his Bible testamentum [Latin for testament]."
  36. A Dictionary of Jewish-Christian Relations page 316
  37. Summa Theologica, I-II, q. 100
  38. Exodus 21
  39. Summa Theologica, I-II, q. 103, a. 1
  40. Summa Theologica, I-II, q. 102, a. 2 (emphasis added)
  41. Summa Theologica, I-II, q. 103, a. 3
  42. Summa Theologica, I-II, q. 103, a. 4
  43. Part 3, Life in Christ: Section 2, The Ten Commandments: "Teacher, what must I do ...?"
  44. Apostolic Letter Dies Domini, 1; The Catechism of the Council of Trent: The Jewish Sabbath Changed To Sunday By The Apostles
  45. The choice of the last day of the week (Saturday) and the rules about the precise manner of keeping that day holy are seen as ceremonial precepts like those about abstension from eating pork or from having sex with a woman during her periods.
  46. Catholic Encyclopedia: Sunday
  47. The Roman Catholic and Lutheran numbering of the Ten Commandments, which are often abbreviated for catechetical purposes (see Catechism of the Catholic Church: The Ten Commandments), differs from that followed by other Protestants.
  48. Cf. Matthew 19:10-12; Matthew 19:21 = Mark 10:21 = Luke 18:22; passages that give praise for those who would undertake certain privations, such as abstention, for the sake of the kingdom of heaven, from sexual relations (not imposed as a precept on all Jesus' followers) and recommendations for one who wished to be "perfect".
  49. Colossians 2:16-17
  50. Romans 13:9
  51. Hebrews 10:8-9
  52. Hebrews 7:12
  53. Triglot Concordia, FC Epitome V, (II).1, p. 503ff
  54. F. Bente and W.H.T. Dau, ed. and trans. Triglot Concordia: The Symbolical Books of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921), Apology IV (II).5, p. 135
  55. 55.0 55.1 Bahnsen, et al., Five Views on Law and Gospel. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1993).
  56. WCF: Chapter XIX
  57. Matthew 12:1–13
  58. Luke 13:10–17
  59. Vangemeren, et al., Five Views on Law and Gospel. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1993).
  60. Rousas John Rushdoony, The Institutes of Biblical Law. (Nutley, NJ: Presbyterian & Reformed Pub. Co., 1973).
  61. Greg L. Bahnsen, Theonomy in Christian Ethics. (Nacogdoches, TX: Covenant Media Press, 1977).
  62. Gary North, Gary DeMar, Christian Reconstruction: What It Is, What It Isn't. (Tyler, TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1991).
  63. Greg L. Bahnsen, No Other Standard: Theonomy and Its Critics. (Tyler, TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1991).
  64. James 2:10–11
  65. Heb 8:13
  66. Strickland, et al., Five Views on Law and Gospel. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1993).
  67. 1 Cor 9:21
  68. Matt 23:23
  69. endorsed Six
  70. Mark 10:17–22
  71. Matthew 19:16–22
  72. Luke 18:18–23
  73. Mark 7:19
  74. 74.0 74.1 Mark 7:19
  75. Matthew 15:15–20
  76. Miller, Robert J. Editor The Complete Gospels Polebridge Press 1994 ISBN 0-06-065587-9
  77. Gaus, Andy. The Unvarnished New Testament 1991 ISBN 0-933999-99-2
  78. Strong's G2511
  79. Acts 10:14
  80. Romans 2:12–16, Romans 3:31, Romans 7:12, Romans 8:7–8,Gal 5:3, Acts 24:14, Acts 25:8
  81. 1 Cor 5:11, 1 Cor 6:9–10, 1 Cor 10:7, 1 Cor 10:14, Gal 5:19–21, Eph 5:5, Col 3:5, Acts 17:16–21, Acts 19:23–41
  82. Ante-Nicene Fathers: Tertullian: Against Marcion: Dr. Holmes' Note: "In [Luke 23:2], after the words "perverting the nation," Marcion added, "and destroying the law and the prophets; Gospel of Marcion: Jesus Before Pilate and Herod
  83. Krister Stendahl. "The Apostle Paul and the Introspective Conscience of the West". Harvard Theological Review 56 (1963), pp. 199–215. Reprinted in Paul Among Jews and Gentiles (Philadelphia: Fortress), 1976, pp. 78–96.

Further reading


  • Gundry, ed., Five Views on Law and Gospel. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1993. ISBN 0310212715

External links