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Is Holding the Legislation of Moses All-Or-Nothing?


OK, right here’s the factor.

Many Christians are taught to consider that preserving the Legislation of Moses is an all-or-nothing deal. And the truth that nobody can really hold all the Legislation implies that, properly, for those who attempt to hold it to please God, you’re doomed to failure.

Christians get that concept from Paul, particularly from Galatians 3:10-11, the place Paul cites Deuteronomy 27:6.

10 For all who depend on the works of the regulation are below a curse; for it’s written, “Cursed is everybody who doesn’t observe and obey all the issues written within the e-book of the regulation.”  11 Now it’s evident that nobody is justified earlier than God by the regulation; for “The one who’s righteous will stay by religion.”

So there it’s, in black and white. Failure to obey all of the Legislation leads to being accursed. Since nobody can hold all of it, everyone seems to be accursed who’s “below the Legislation,” as Paul places it elsewhere.

And this verse has contributed to widespread Christian considering that both vilifies the Legislation (and due to this fact the core of the Outdated Testomony) as primarily ineffective legalism, or ignores it as over and achieved with.

Now, I don’t imply to get into the entire complicated Legislation/Gospel factor right here. It’s sophisticated. I feel there’s each continuity and discontinuity between the Outdated and New Testaments, and dealing that out is the very stuff of the lengthy historical past of Christian theology. So let’s keep targeted and never go there.

Paul’s declare doesn’t sit properly with the tone and tenor of the Outdated Testomony. The Israelite authorized system had methods of addressing particular person failure to maintain sure legal guidelines, some technique of atonement or purification to take away the offense towards God.

Was it actually the case that the traditional Israelites thought “all-or-nothing?”

Or does their very authorized system assume the other, that “all-or-nothing” isn’t the deal?

And what to do with the passionate reward of the Legislation that we see in locations like Psalm 1 and 119?

OK, however what about Deuteronomy 27:26, a passage proper out of the Outdated Testomony that Paul is citing to make his level?

Sure. Properly. That is the place it will get a bit fascinating.

Benjamin D. Sommer factors out in Revelation and Authority(p. 133; see additionally right here and some follow-up posts), that the phrase “all” isn’t within the Hebrew variations of Deuteronomy that we all know of. It’s, nevertheless, present in some manuscripts of the Samaritan Pentateuch and of the Greek translation (Septuagint) of Deuteronomy.

Paul, as was his customized, was doubtless working off of the Greek model that learn “all.”

To not make a mountain out of a molehill, right here; I feel Paul may nonetheless have made his fundamental level with out “all.” However nonetheless, Paul is making his case utilizing a translation that’s in all probability not devoted to the unique, and that may simply result in readers like us to attract the conclusion:

Outdated Testomony = Legislation = inconceivable and oppressive legalism,

which isn’t solely a moderately distorted studying of the Outdated Testomony as a complete, however a simplistic studying of Paul, who has some fairly constructive issues to say concerning the regulation now and then in his letters.

However extra to my level, what intrigues me about examples like that is the reminder that Paul as a author of the New Testomony was not protected by God to make sure he used the right translation and averted all confusion. And I do marvel what how he would have rephrased issues in Galatians had “all” not been a part of his translation.

In fact, we’ll by no means know. However simply asking the query places us in dialog with Paul, which I feel is necessary.

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