Thursday, August 13, 2009

Right Use of the Old Testament

I was reading 1 Timothy 1 this morning, and realised that it could have been written to some modern Biblical scholars.

As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain persons not to teach false doctrines any longer or to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. Such things promote controversial speculations rather than advancing God's work—which is by faith. The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Some have departed from these and have turned to meaningless talk. They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm.

We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers. And it is for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine that conforms to the gospel concerning the glory of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.

1 Timothy 1:3-11, TNIV

People shouldn't waste their time on myths, endless genealogies, or source criticism of the OT. The purpose of the Law (and Paul's examples all seem to be related to the 10 Commandments here) is not to give us insight into its sources or its relation to other ANE codes of law, but to tell people who are living wrongly how to live rightly.

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