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The Law of Moses and the Christian: A Compromise

Jan 02, 2015 | Justin Taylor

A Q&A summary from a helpful article.

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Turning Back the Clock of Salvation History: How the Apostle Paul Reads Leviticus 18:5

Jan 20, 2012 | Justin Taylor

In order to understand the contrast between the Mosaic law and the new covenant in the books of Romans and Galatians, it’s important to see how Paul cites Leviticus 18:5.

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What Role Does the Law Have in Preaching?

Oct 15, 2010 | Justin Taylor

This week I’ve been highlighting entries from Tom Schreiner’s excellent book 40 Questions About Christians and Biblical Law, which Kregel is publishing.

I thought it’d be fitting to end this week of excerpts with question 40, the final entry in the book, answering the question, “What Role Does the Law Have in Preaching?”

This is a fitting question for the conclusion of this book, and it should be evident by now that we must answer this question at several different levels.

First, we must always preach in light of the story line of the entire Bible. One of the crucial questions we always must ask in investigating any text is where the text lands in terms of the whole flow of redemptive history. The laws of the Mosaic covenant represent a period of time and a covenant that is no longer in force. Therefore, we cannot simply find some law from Exodus or Leviticus and preach it as binding on Christians today, unless we justify such a claim from the whole canon of Scripture. I have argued in this book that some of the laws in the Old Testament are part of the law of Christ and hence are still authoritative commands for believers today. The New Testament reaffirms, for instance, that the prohibitions against idolatry, adultery, murder, and stealing are God’s permanent will for his people. We discern this from reading the whole counsel of God, by relating the old covenant to the new, and by seeing how the New …

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Is the Sabbath Still Required for Christians?

Oct 14, 2010 | Justin Taylor

Tom Schreiner’s 40 Questions About Christians and Biblical Law releases later this month. As I’ve said before, I think it’s now the go-to book for an accessible introduction to all the major issues related to gospel and law, the role of law in redemptive history, application of the law today, etc. I could not recommend it more highly.

Kregel has kindly given me permission to reprint some of the entries. I’ll do so throughout the week. I won’t reproduce the footnotes or the discussion questions, but other than that it’s the full entry.

Today I’ll reprint question #37, “Is the Sabbath Still Required for Christians?”

Believers today continue to dispute whether the Sabbath is required. The Sabbath was given to Israel as a covenant sign, and Israel was commanded to rest on the seventh day. We see elsewhere in the Old Testament that covenants have signs, so that the sign of the Noahic covenant is the rainbow (Gen. 9:8–17) and the sign of the Abrahamic covenant is circumcision (Gen. 17). The paradigm for the Sabbath was God’s rest on the seventh day of creation (Gen. 2:1–3). So, too, Israel was called upon to rest from work on the seventh day (Exod. 20:8–11; 31:12–17). What did it mean for Israel not to work on the Sabbath? Figure 5 lists the kinds of activities that were prohibited and permitted.

The Sabbath was certainly a day for social concern, for rest was mandated for all Israelites, including their children, slaves, and even animals (Deut. 5:14). It …

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What Does Paul Mean by “the Righteousness of God”?

Oct 13, 2010 | Justin Taylor

Tom Schreiner’s 40 Questions About Christians and Biblical Law releases later this month. As I’ve said before, I think it’s now the go-to book for an accessible introduction to all the major issues related to gospel and law, the role of law in redemptive history, application of the law today, etc. I could not recommend it more highly.

Kregel has kindly given me permission to reprint some of the entries. I’ll do so throughout the week. I won’t reproduce the footnotes or the discussion questions, but other than that it’s the full entry.

Today I’ll reprint question #20, What Does Paul Mean by “the Righteousness of God”?

What I am trying to answer here is what Paul means by the phrase righteousness of God (dikaiosynē theou) and by the term righteousness when he uses these expressions to refer to God’s saving righteousness. Paul often uses the noun righteousness to denote ethical righteousness—the kind of behavior that pleases God (e.g., Rom. 6:13, 16, 18, 19, 20; 2 Cor. 6:7, 14; 9:9; 11:15; Eph. 4:24; 5:9; 6:14; Phil. 1:11; 3:6; 1 Tim. 6:11; 2 Tim. 2:22; 3:16; 4:8; Titus 3:5). Everyone agrees that Paul often uses the word righteousness to denote a life that is pleasing to God. But the intention here is to understand what God’s righteousness means when Paul uses it in theologically weighty passages—in texts where he speaks of God’s gift of righteousness.

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Is Perfect Obedience to the Law Mandatory for Salvation?

Oct 13, 2010 | Justin Taylor

Tom Schreiner’s 40 Questions About Christians and Biblical Law releases later this month. As I’ve said before, I think it’s now the go-to book for an accessible introduction to all the major issues related to gospel and law, the role of law in redemptive history, application of the law today, etc. I could not recommend it more highly.

Kregel has kindly given me permission to reprint a number of the entries this week. (You’ll end up being able to read about 12% of the book for free!) I’ll skip the footnotes and the discussion questions at the end of each chapter.

Today you can read Question 4: Is Perfect Obedience to the Law Mandatory for Salvation? There’s widespread confusion on this issue, and I think Schreiner’s view is probably in the minority among NT scholars, but I think he’s exactly right, and that the implications of the answer are significant.

The short answer to this question is “yes.” And the way one answers this question is fundamental for one’s soteriology, for it speaks both to the truth of God’s holiness and the nature of Christ’s atonement. The demand for perfect obedience is evident from the earliest pages of the Bible. Adam and Eve were condemned, cursed, and banished from the garden for one sin (Genesis 3). The Lord did not respond by saying that they would have a right relationship with him if they trusted and obeyed him most of the time after …

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What Does the Word “Law” Mean in the Bible?

Oct 12, 2010 | Justin Taylor

Tom Schreiner’s 40 Questions About Christians and Biblical Law releases later this month. As I’ve said before, I think it’s now the go-to book for an accessible introduction to all the major issues related to gospel and law, the role of law in redemptive history, application of the law today, etc. I could not recommend it more highly.

Kregel has kindly given me permission to reprint a number of the entries this week. (You’ll end up being able to read about 12% of the book for free!) I’ll skip the footnotes and the discussion questions at the end of each chapter.

Today you can read Question 4: What Does the Word Law Mean in the Scripture?

[WHAT DOES “LAW” MEAN IN THE OLD TESTAMENT?]

The word for law in the Old Testament is torah; in the New Testament it is nomos. It is often said that torah in the Old Testament does not refer so much to commands (to the keeping of commandments) as it does to instruction (to teaching). According to this view, the word torah does not focus on admonitions, commands, and requirements. Instead, the word has a more general referent, so that it includes God’s instruction more generally. Hence, if one follows this view, the word torah also includes God’s promises to save his people, his threats if they do not obey, and also narrative accounts that we find, for example, in the Pentateuch. But such a wide definition for the …

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What Is the New Perspective on Paul? How Should It Be Assessed?

Oct 11, 2010 | Justin Taylor

Tom Schreiner’s 40 Questions About Christians and Biblical Law releases later this month. As I’ve said before, I think it’s now the go-to book for an accessible introduction to all the major issues related to gospel and law, the role of law in redemptive history, application of the law today, etc. I could not recommend it more highly.

Kregel has kindly given me permission to reprint a number of the entries this week. (You’ll end up being able to read about 12% of the book for free!) I’ll skip the footnotes and the discussion questions at the end of each chapter.

Today you can read Question 4: What Is the New Perspective on Paul, and How Should It Be Assessed?

I’ve added some links for readers who might want to explore some of this a bit more (most are Wikipedia links, so caveat emptor!).

[WHAT IS THE NEW PERSPECTIVE ON PAUL?]

The New Perspective on Paul finds its genesis in the landmark 1977 book Paul and Palestinian Judaism: A Comparison of Patterns of Religion by E. P. Sanders, who retired from teaching at Duke University in 2005. His book exploded on the scene of New Testament scholarship, and we are still feeling the reverberations today. This is not to say that Sanders was the first to advocate his thesis. Looking back we find similar arguments in two scholars of Judaism, Claude Montefiore (1858–1938) and George Foote Moore (1851–1931). When Sanders wrote, however, the time was ripe …

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Schreiner Answers 40 Questions on Gospel and Law

Aug 18, 2010 | Justin Taylor

Screen shot 2010-08-18 at 1.18.38 PM

The pseudo-interview with the Apostle Paul inevitably raised some good questions about the role of the law. In my opinion, it’s one of the most complex and important issues of biblical theology.

There are lots of good books for those who want to explore the issues further. (Some of my favorites are Frank Thielman’s Paul and the Law, Thielman’s The Law and the New Testament, Stephen Westerholm’s Perspectives Old and New on Paul: The “Lutheran” Paul and His Critics, Jason Meyer’s The End of the Law, etc.)

But if I had to recommend just one book on the topic, it’d be Tom Schreiner’s 40 Questions About Christians and Biblical Law, forthcoming this fall from Kregel Academic.

Simon Gathercole (University of Cambridge) writes: “Tom Schreiner has spent three decades wrestling with the questions addressed in this book. Here he condenses a career of scholarship into bite-sized chunks with clarity and care. Both the big picture and the detail come into sharp focus, making this an enormously valuable volume.”

Michael Wilkins (Talbot School of Theology, Biola University) writes: “Thomas Schreiner’s balance of scholarship and pastoral heart shines through brightly in this superb book on Christians and Biblical Law.  For many years Tom has provided a clear voice that has helped sort out diverse scholarly perspectives of Pauline studies of the Law.  Now he brings his scholarship to bear on this topic with a pastoral voice.  Thorny passages and issues—as diverse as justification and tithing and preaching—are clarified for the …

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