Which Old Testament Laws Apply to Christians Today?

“You also died to the law through the body of Christ.... By dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code” (Rom. 7:4, 6).

When Christians read the Old Testament, they are often puzzled. They find many laws that seem to be part of Christianity, and yet they also find many laws that no one obeys. Laws of sacrifice, rituals and civil laws are mixed together with laws that tell people how to get along with others.

How can a Christian know which laws to keep? Does the Bible tell us? This series of Bible studies explores this topic in detail. You will need to look up each of the scriptures you find listed, because we have not taken the space to quote them. But it is worth the time to learn about how we ought to obey our Creator and Savior. We’ll begin with some general principles so that we lay a good foundation for discussing specific laws later in this study.

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All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™  Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com

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We'll begin with some general principles so that we lay a good foundation for discussing specific laws later in this study. First, we will establish from Scripture that Christians are expected to obey God. Then we will look at God’s commands — starting in the time before Moses, then a closer look at the covenant made at Mt. Sinai. We will see how Jesus, Paul and the early church deal with the difference between old and new, then explore that difference with a few examples of laws that almost all Christians agree are obsolete.

We then apply those principles to the seven annual Sabbaths, dietary laws, and the weekly Sabbath. We close by noting some of the commands the New Testament gives us, and end by emphasizing that, although Christians should obey God, our salvation is received on the basis of faith, not on the basis of our obedience.

Executive Editors: Joseph Tkach and J. Michael Feazell
Written by Michael Morrison in 1997, updated in 2014, copyright by the author.

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