How can we understand Old Testament Law properly?

Colin Smith has a stimulating piece at Unlocking the Bible about how to use the Old Testament law properly. According to 1 Tim 1:7-8, the Old Testament law is good…if we use it properly. So how do we do that?

Smith first proposes a few negatives:

  • Don’t use the law for self-justification.
  • Don’t use the law for self-sanctification.

Then he states his case positively:

  • Read the Old Testament forward.

In other words, use the law to show you more of Jesus Christ.

I would differ with Smith’s use of Jesus’s “you have heard it said, but I say to you” sayings, but I believe his point can still be substantiated from other Scriptures (Rom 10:4, 2 Cor 1:20, etc.). And I would also mention that the law is useful in showing us the way of love, which is both Paul’s aim (1 Tim 1:5) and Jesus’ greatest commandment (Mark 12:29-31). But Smith’s reflections are still quite useful and worth pondering.

By Peter Krol

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