What should Christians do with all the laws in the Old Testament?
The Old Testament tells the story of the beginnings of God's salvation history, and it is part of the authoritative canon of Scripture affirmed by the church. But what role should the laws of the old covenant play in the lives of those living under the new covenant?
Can Christians embrace the commandment to "love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength" but ignore the laws regarding clean and unclean food? Some have suggested that Christians remain under the moral laws of the old covenant, while others have argued that some of the Old Testament laws—for example, the Ten Commandments—still apply to Christians.
James Todd makes a bold claim by contending that as followers of Jesus Christ who stand under a new covenant, Christians are no longer subject to any of the Old Testament laws. Focusing on the laws of the Pentateuch, he then addresses the proper role and benefits of the Old Testament laws in the Christian life. With wit and insight, Todd helps Christians to understand how the laws given to the people of Israel at Mount Sinai should be read by those called to live as saints.
"Addressing highly relevant questions, especially in the area of ethics, Todd provides an exceptionally helpful guide to the complex issue of how Christians should view Old Testament law as authoritative Scripture. His approach, which is accessible to non-experts, draws on the best of modern scholarship, offering, among other things, an insightful discussion of the relevance of the Ten Commandments for twenty-first-century Christians. Anyone grappling with how to approach the laws of Exodus to Deuteronomy from a Christian perspective will find this book an invaluable introduction."
"The author has written a book that is both popular and practical on a much needed topic: the relationship of the Old Covenant to the New. I believe this work will not only fill a needed gap in Christian literature but will be extremely helpful and useful to believers. The failure to understand the relationship of the Old Covenant to the New is probably one of the most important areas where Christians need good help—and they will receive good help here."
"Many readers of the Old Testament struggle to understand all of those random, bizarre, strict, and oppressive laws. What's a Christian to do? Start by reading Todd's Sinai and the Saints. Todd offers his readers engaging stories, provocative insights, and a compelling interpretation that offers a way forward—one that makes sense of the law and helps people understand it in light of Jesus and the rest of Scripture."
"Whether you are already a committed 'moral law' or 'Ten Commandments' Christian or are interested in exploring a Christian approach to Old Testament laws, I would recommend this book. Todd's thorough presentation of the 'no-old-law' position will help you test and refine your own approach."
"Todd has provided the church with a wonderful introduction on how to appropriate and engage with this vital portion of Scripture."
Introduction: What Do I Do with All These Laws?
1. Which Laws Are We Discussing?
2. What Are My Options? Approaches to the Old Covenant Laws
3. "In the Beginning," Not "Thou Shall Not"
4. The Rest of the Story (Part I): Israel at Sinai
5. The Rest of the Story (Part II): Before and After Sinai
6. "Thou Shalt Not Remove Them": What About the Ten Commandments?
7. Does This Mean I Can Do Whatever I Want?
8. Why Should We Read the Laws?
9. Can I Have the Good News? The Hope of the Pentateuch
Conclusion: Back to the Beginning: The Law in the Early Church and the Contemporary Church
Appendix A: How Should Christians Use the Hebrew Bible to Address Homosexuality?
Appendix B: The Second Commandment and Images in Worship
Appendix C: Challenges to My Position