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What is Biblical Law?

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  • Written By: Vanessa Harvey
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 27 March 2017
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Biblical law in a general sense is the legal application of passages found in the Bible or any legal system based on those passages. Given the many religions that use the Bible and their different interpretations of its passages, the term "biblical law" can have different specific meanings to different people. For example, some people would define it as the Ten Commandments found in the books of Exodus or Deuteronomy, and others would use the term to refer to the wide-ranging instructions sometimes called the Law of Moses, or Mosaic Law, that are found in the first five books of the Bible. Still others would base biblical law on the teachings of Jesus found in the New Testament. Some people even expand the definition to include biblical teachings on disciplines such as physics, biology, psychology, astronomy and even meteorology.

Also called divine law or God's law, biblical law is often based on interpretation of specific passages in either the Old Testament or the New Testament, or both. For example, Jews might base biblical law on some or all of the 613 mitzvot, or commandments, of the Law of Moses. Christians might base it on New testament passages in which Jesus instructs his followers to love one another, to forgive others or to judge not. The Ten Commandments are regarded as a type of law in many religions, and some of them have formed the basic laws of many legal systems throughout history.

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The non-legal definitions of biblical law are based on many specific passages that can be applied to such things as the laws of physics or laws of nature. For example, certain passages can be interpreted to agree with the law of physics that states that matter can neither be created nor destroyed. Other passages can be interpreted to refer to teach scientific principles, such as the cycle of water.

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