• What are the “elementary principles of the world” in Galatians 4:3? Question and Answer

    Galatians 4:3

    First, you need to put the statement “elementary principles of the world” in its context. The general context is the transition from the Old Testament order to the new order in Christ, which is the new covenant. Paul is looking back to his past life as a Jewish person and thinking about how he was under the law of God. In his case, he was under the law of God but not resting in the fulfillment of the promise of God. Because that was so, the principles of the law of God brought condemnation into his life. There is a … View Resource

  • How should Christians relate to the law of Moses? Question and Answer

    THOMAS: That’s a tricky question because Mosaic law is usually divided into at least three different segments. There is the moral law, which involves the Ten Commandments and expositions of the Ten Commandments. Then there is this civil law, which is the law that was peculiar to the state of Israel as a theocracy. And then there’s the ceremonial law, which was done away with or fulfilled in Jesus Christ. The first is the only one that’s binding upon the consciences of Christians, and that is the moral law. The Westminster Confession, which is my own confession, speaks of the … View Resource

  • What parts of the law are still relevant to us today? Question and Answer

    Exodus 20

    We make distinctions among the ceremonial law, the dietary law, the civil law, and the moral law. To the Jew, every law commanded by God in the Old Testament was moral in the sense that it had moral significance to it. It is a useful distinction to distinguish the moral law from the ceremonial law, because we know that the ceremonial law has been fulfilled in the perfect work of Christ. And we know that the dietary laws have been set apart. They had a historical significance that differs from the moral law of the Old Testament. We make a … View Resource

  • In Acts 16 Paul encourages Timothy to be circumcised, then later condemns it. Was he being hypocritical? Question and Answer

    Galatians 5:1-6

    I don’t think the apostle was being hypocritical at all. This is a very interesting historical situation that the New Testament records for us. It does say that Paul circumcised Timothy and then refused to circumcise Titus, and this became a major controversy in the early church. Paul’s reasoning behind it, I think, can be ferreted out through a study of Galatians, Corinthians, and Romans. He talks about his concern for ethics and says that there are certain things God prohibits and certain things he commands. Then there are those things that are basically neutral in the ethical sense—those things … View Resource