Do Old Testament laws apply to modern Christians?
In a bold analysis of the old covenant laws of Genesis through Deuteronomy, James M. Todd III makes the case in Sinai and the Saints that modern Christians are no longer subject to any of the Old Testament laws. Common approaches to the old covenant laws attempt to parse out which still apply to Christians today—for example, the Ten Commandments—and which do not. Instead, Todd walks through the history and context of the laws given to Israel at Mount Sinai and throughout their journey to the Promised Land to demonstrate that modern Christians are under a new covenant initiated by Jesus, and not the old covenant God made with his people, the Israelites.
“Very few issues are more difficult to understand than the biblical teaching on the old covenant,” Todd writes. “At the same time, very few issues, when understood properly, shed light on the message of the biblical story like the old covenant’s role in pointing beyond itself to the ultimate hope of the Bible: Jesus the Messiah.”
In Sinai and the Saints, Todd addresses the following to help modern Christians understand the seemingly strange and oppressive laws of the Old Testament:
- What are the common approaches to understanding and applying the old
- Are modern Christians supposed to obey the Ten Commandments?
- How are Christians to know right from wrong without the old covenant or Ten
Commandments as guidance?
- How should Christians use the Hebrew Bible to address homosexuality?
- Do Christians need to keep the Sabbath?
- What should Christians do with the second commandment and the use of images in
- Why is it important to read the laws if Christians don’t need to follow them?
- In what context were the old covenant laws established, and how does Israel’s story
fit into the whole biblical narrative?
- What is the “law of Christ” that modern Christians are to obey under the new
Praise for Sinai and the Saints:
T. Desmond Alexander, director of postgraduate studies, Union Theological College, Belfast:
Anyone grappling with how to approach the laws of Exodus to Deuteronomy from a Christian perspective will find this book an invaluable introduction.
Buy the books
Sinai and the Saints: Reading Old Covenant Laws for the New Covenant Community