5376 law, purpose of
Dictionary of Bible Themes

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The law covers and regulates every area of life of the covenant people of God in accordance with the commands of God. Although the laws may be divided into categories of civil, criminal, social and cultic (or ritual) law, these distinctions are not clear-cut, and occasionally overlap with one another.

The origins of the law

Law as God's command is found in the story of creation

Genesis 2:16-17

The law expresses the covenant relation between God and his people

Deuteronomy 4:44-45; Deuteronomy 5:1 See also Exodus 20:1-17 pp Deuteronomy 5:6-21; Deuteronomy 10:12-13; Deuteronomy 30:1-16

The purpose of the law

The law shows the proper response to the holiness of God

Leviticus 19:2

The law ensures that the people continue to receive the blessings of the covenant promises

Deuteronomy 6:24-25 See also Genesis 22:17-18; Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 6:3-7

Breaking the law leads to forfeiting the covenant blessings

Jeremiah 11:9-11 See also Exodus 32:1-4

The law deepens the believer's knowledge of God through meditation

Psalm 1:1-2 See also Deuteronomy 6:2; Psalm 19:7-14; Psalm 119:25-32,105-120

The law will finally be written on believers' hearts

Jeremiah 31:33 See also Ezekiel 11:19-20

The general principles underlying the law


Deuteronomy 16:20


Deuteronomy 16:18


Leviticus 19:2


Leviticus 19:18-19

See also

1075  God, justice of
1125  God, righteousness
1345  covenant
5051  responsibility
5215  authority
5276  crime
5359  justice
5482  punishment
8154  righteousness
8266  holiness
8453  obedience

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