Bible Study on God's Law
Understanding what Commandments, Statutes, Judgments and Covenants mean in the Bible.
This Bible study explains the difference between commandments, statutes, and judgments to help you understand your Bible.
The Ten Commandments, or ten 'words' are principles of God's law. They are the word of God by which man is commanded to live (Matthew 4:4). God is the creator and His word is law. God's law is perfect (Psalm 19:7). It is holy, just and good (Romans 7:12). It is eternal (Psalm 111:7-8). God's law is an expression of His divine nature which can be summarized by the word 'love'. Fulfilling the law is love (Romans 13:10). Love is separated into two great commandments from which the rest proceed - love God and love your neighbor (Matthew 22:35-40). The first four commandments define how man is to love God and the remaining six define how man is to love his/her neighbor.
A statute defines how principles of God's law are enacted in given situations. At Mount Sinai God provided the Israelites with Commandments and statutes. The statues explained how the commandments were to be applied in their circumstances and were modified in Deuteronomy to fit changing circumstances as they left their nomadic life to become settled on the land.
Judgments interpret commandments, or statutes, when circumstances are not clearly defined by those commandments, or statutes. They are given by someone in authority. Moses for example sat in judgment over matters where an interpretation of God's Law was necessary (Exodus 18:13-16).
A Covenant is an agreement between parties. One party may agree to do something in return for something from the other party. In Exodus 20, God agreed to be provider and protector of the Israelites on the condition they worshipped Him alone and kept His law. A covenant was drawn up and ratified to formalise the agreement. The covenant was a separate legal entity to the law - it could be terminated without the law being terminated.
Spiritual aspects of the law
God's law is spiritual (Romans 7:14). The commandments are an expression of God's divine nature which does not change, neither does the law change. His law existed prior to Mt Sinai (Genesis 26:5). Christ did not come to change the law (Matthew 5:17-18). He came to provide a greater spiritual depth to the law which is appropriate for new Testament times (e.g. Matthew 5:31-32, 33-34 and 38-42).
Recommended Reading - To Help Improve Your Understanding of God's Law
[These links take you to a related articles on this website]
Every Word of God [How you can fulfill the law.]
Abolishing the Law [Has the law been abolished?]
On Trial [Coming before the judgement seat.]