Law In The New Testament -- By: Paul R. Schmidtbleicher

Journal: Chafer Theological Seminary Journal
Volume: CTSJ 09:2 (Fall 2003)
Article: Law In The New Testament
Author: Paul R. Schmidtbleicher


Law In The New Testament1

Paul R. Schmidtbleicher

Introduction

The relationship of the New Testament to the Law of the Old Testament is an important issue discussed and disputed by the church since the Jerusalem Council of Acts 15.

And certain men came down from Judea and taught the brethren, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.” Therefore, when Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and dispute with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas and certain others of them should go up to Jerusalem, to the apostles and elders, about this question. (Acts 15:1–2)2

The interpretation of the word law (“custom” in the above quotation) in the New Testament is foundational. The present work is an overview of the various uses of the word law, and in particular of the phrase law of, in the New Testament. It is an introduction to the subject, although every use of the word and of the phrase law of is included.

Foundational Definition

The word law in the New Testament is the translation of the Greek word nomos. Law is generally any working principle that regulates conduct in life. Such principles can originate from God directly or indirectly by the nature of the operation of His creation. They also can be devised by mankind to promote order. Law as found in the New Testament can be used with and without the definite article. The presence or absence of the article has an effect on the definition for a particular use. Some attention to this has been given in defining the law of phrases, but not in the areas where the meanings are clear or undisputed.

References to the Law of Moses or to the Entire Old Testament

The word nomos occurs in the New Testament 165 times in 162 different verses of Scripture. By far the greatest use is in reference to either the Law of Moses by itself or to the entire Old Testament.3 In each of these instances, the context generally presents clear indication of this usage and interpretation.

There are seventeen law of phrases that need to be defined. These comprise the body of this work. Some simply refer to the Law of Moses, while others have unique definitions.

The Law of _______ Phrases

The Law of the Lord

The three New Testament uses of the ...

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