Applying the Old Testament Law Today by J. Daniel Hays, Essay Example

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Essay

Reflect on Hays’ article and assess his understanding of the how Christians should use the Old Testament law. Examine the strengths and weaknesses of his approach. Also, explain how the article contributed to your overall understanding of this issue.

I think Hays’ approach is strong because he puts impetus on reading in context. It is not a method of disregarding the Law, or picking and choosing what to implement. It can in some ways be seen as case law based on the surrounding context. Yes, it seems practical to distinguish between types of law, but the reality is more dynamic. There was Divine Legislation at play in response to human behavior. This is important to recognize that there is a human context involved – a Gestalt,  if you will.

Explain how we reconcile the two New Testament teachings that the Old Testament law is eternal and will never pass away (Matthew 5:17) and that believers are no longer under the law (Romans 7:1 – 6; Galatians 3 – 4).

One technique for reconciliation is to look at it in terms of abrogation. When the law is recorded, it remains recorder indefinitely even if a subsequent law supersedes it. In any of these answers it is critical that we recognize the limits of our understanding as human beings. Almost none of these questions can be answered without faith in something, even if that faith happens to be on our own understanding. The best route is to admit we really don’t know much for sure, and to simple behave in ways we believe are logically and ethically responsible to the best of our ability.

Select one of the OT passages below and describe how you can apply the law to your own life, using Hays’ approach of “principlism.” Be as detailed and specific as possible.

Exodus 22:25 – 27 Leviticus 19:9 – 10
Leviticus 11:1 – 41 Leviticus 26:1 – 11
Leviticus 17:10 – 14 Deuteronomy 18:9 – 13

I chose Exodus 22:25 – 27. Hays explains that we should treat the Old Testament as God’s word and that we should understand what it meant to the original audience, establish difference between us and them, draw generalities, and apply them to New Testament teachings. For Exodus 22:25-27, it would go something like this. People in Old Testament times were prone to being cold toward their fellows. We try to avoid that today, but sometimes, our instincts get in the way. In general, we should be compassionate to our fellows, and avoid taking advantage of them especially when they are in hard times. This is the cornerstone to Jesus’ teaching that we should love one another.

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