Law,  Old Testament

Summary of the Ten Commandments

Because I have written quite a few posts on the subject of the Old Testament Law, and more specifically the Ten Commandments, this post will serve as a summary of these posts. The reader who is interested in the Ten Commandments or the Law may find the following posts interesting.

The OT Law in Its Narrative Context

This post was an analysis of the Law as it appears in the Pentateuch. Oftentimes we miss some of the significant applications of the Law because we neglect the context in which it occurs. Unsurprisingly, the narrative context of the Law becomes very important to interpretation and understanding.

The Purpose of the Old Testament Law

In this post we discuss the overall purpose of the Law. We discuss how some people have wrongly attributed other purposes to the Law. Ultimately, the Law should be viewed as a reflection of God’s character, and insight into God’s creative design for the world.

The Law as a Reflection of Creation Principles

This post explores the connection between the Law and the creation principles in more detail. This is an important element of the Law which is often downplayed. However, it also helps us to connect contemporary application to some of the thorny issues within the Law.

How Did Jesus Fulfill the Law?

This post is a brief discussion of Matthew 5:17-18 and what it means that Jesus fulfilled the Law and the prophets. My argument is that just because Jesus does not abolish something does not mean it remains standing in perpetuity.

Does the Old Testament Law Apply Today?

Building upon the previous posts, this post synthesizes the two ideas that the Law is NOT nullified through faith (cf. Rom 3:31), and yet at the same time it is clear we are under grace and not the Law. As Christians we can greatly benefit from the Law today, but the way we read the Law is different than Joshua would have read it.

Following the Principle of the Law

This post finalizes the discussion of how a believer applies the Law of God today. There are principles behind each law which ultimate tie to the creation principles. These are the guideposts which believers are to follow in being instructed by the Law.

Series on the Ten Commandments

photo of the ten commandments summary

Because the Ten Commandments are such a phenomenal teaching tool, and so beloved by believers, we also have included a series on the meaning and contemporary significance of the Ten Commandments. These posts are organized as follows:

The first commandment deals with the supremacy of God. Because God is the Creator, nothing should be elevated to His unique status. He deserves a unique place far above everything. Nothing should be elevated to replace His place as sole object of worship.

The second commandment is the reverse of the previous commandment. The first commandment says nothing should be brought up to the status of God. The second commandment says God should not be brought down to common status. He is not to be represented by images, or even treated as something common.

The third commandment has to do with upholding the character of God. We should value God’s character to such an extent that everything we do reflects that.

The fourth commandment teaches that God is in control of our time and resources. As Creator, we are to submit everything we have to Him. This was clearly demonstrated by Israel giving up a full day every week.

The fifth commandment marks a shift in focus from man’s relationship with God to man’s relationship with man. This commandment demonstrates the reality that God has designed authority structures within the created order itself, and we are to observe those authority structures because God himself is our ultimate authority.

The sixth commandment teaches that God is a God of life and we are to value the sanctity of human life because we are made in the image of God.

The seventh commandment demonstrates the need for faithfulness between a man and a woman within the confines of the marriage relationship. God has designed life so that one man and one woman would be faithful together for their whole lives.

The eighth commandment teaches us that God has created the world with inherent ownership and lordship. People have rights which are not to be violated by taking what belongs to them.

The ninth commandment ensures that justice is a priority because God is the God of true justice. Therefore, God’s creatures must reflect true justice in all their dealings.

The tenth (and final) commandment prohibits coveting, the internal desire of something which we are not entitled. This commandment emphasizes the fact God is concerned about internal conformity with the law and not merely external observance.

I hope you have enjoyed this mini series on the law. Please feel free to ask any questions you have about the law, or any future series you would like to see discussed.

photo credit: DrGBB via photopin cc

Peter serves at Shepherd's Theological Seminary in Cary, NC as the professor of Old Testament and Biblical Languages. He is a husband, father, and sports enthusiast.