This is another book in the excellent 40 Question Series edited by Benjamin Merkle and published by Kregel Academic & Professional. (See my previous review of another book in this series, 40 Questions About Interpreting the Bible.) This time round, the subject is biblical law, a tricky subject, if you ask me.
According to Tom Schreiner, it’s also an important one, because the way we put the whole Bible together depends on our understanding of the law. What’s more—and relatedly—those who study the law can better evaluate the theological systems. In addition, the law relates to justification. How we understand the law affects how we understand salvation. And last, those who want to please God need to understand how the law relates to them as believers.
To work through these issues Schreiner answers questions about
- The Law in the Old Testament
- The Law in Paul (This section makes up over half the book, because “Paul’s theology of the law is the most crucial in determining one’s view of the law canonically….”)
- The Law in the Gospels and Acts
- The Law in the General Epistles
- The Law and Contemporary Issues
When it comes to his view of the law, Schreiner is not a typical Covenant Theologian. He argues that while the categories of civil, ceremonial and moral law may be useful in some ways, the scripture doesn’t divide the law this way, and sometimes exact distinctions are difficult to make. He disagrees with the common view that the ceremonial and civil law have been done away with in Christ while the moral law remains binding, teaching instead that the whole Mosaic law is no longer in force since the coming of Christ.