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Products>Paul and the Law: Keeping the Commandments of God (New Studies in Biblical Theology, vol. 31 | NSBT)

Paul and the Law: Keeping the Commandments of God (New Studies in Biblical Theology, vol. 31 | NSBT)

, 2013
ISBN: 9780830826322
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“For neither circumcision counts for anything nor uncircumcision, but keeping the commandments of God” (1 Corinthians 7:19). The apostle Paul’s relationship to the Law of Moses is notoriously complex and much studied. Difficulties begin with questions of definition (of the extent of Paul’s corpus and the meanings of “the law”) and are exacerbated by numerous problems of interpretation of the key texts. Major positions are entrenched, yet none of them seems to know what to do with all the pieces of the puzzle.

Brian Rosner argues that Paul undertakes a polemical re-evaluation of the Law of Moses, which involves not only its repudiation as law-covenant and its replacement by other things but also its wholehearted re-appropriation as prophecy (with reference to the gospel) and as wisdom (for Christian living). Inextricably linked to Paul’s view of the law is his teaching concerning salvation history, Israel, the church, anthropology, ethics, and eschatology. Understanding this book is critical to the study of the New Testament, because it touches on the perennial question of the relationship between the grace of God in the gift of salvation and the demand of God in the call for holy living. Misunderstanding can lead to distortions of one or both. This book is something of a breakthrough, bringing neglected evidence to the discussion and asking different questions of the material, while also building on the work of others.

Resource Experts
  • Contains scholarly and accessible volumes written by well-respected Biblical scholars
  • Includes notes that interact with the best of recent research and significant literature
  • Engages the immense challenges facing today’s church
  • Offers new insights and challenges established positions
  • Encourages Christians to better understand their Bibles through biblical theology
  • Circumcision Is Nothing: The Puzzle of Paul and the Law
  • Not under the Law: Explicit Repudiation of the Law as Law-Covenant
  • Not Walking According to the Law: Implicit Repudiation of the Law as Law-Covenant
  • Under the Law of Christ: Replacement of the Law
  • Witness to the Gospel: Re-appropriation of the Law as Prophecy
  • Written for Our Instruction: Re-appropriation of the Law as Wisdom
  • Keeping the Commandments of God: A Hermeneutical Solution

Top Highlights

“indicates that Paul intends to refer to the entire Law of Moses.” (Page 24)

“The reason understanding Paul and the law is so critical to the study of the New Testament is that it touches on the perennial question of the relationship between the grace of God in the gift of salvation and the demand of God in the call for holy living.” (Pages 20–21)

“Secondly, the Reformed view agrees that salvation is by grace and not by obeying the law, but once saved we are under the moral law and must obey it in order to please God. Thirdly, the so-called New Perspective on Paul, which is really a new perspective on Paul in relation to Judaism, thinks that the problem of the law for Paul is not that salvation is by grace and not works, but that Paul’s opposition to the law was simply that it was used by Jews to exclude Gentiles from the people of God; Jewish ethnocentrism is the reason Paul opposed the law.” (Page 21)

“Either way, if the first half of 1 Corinthians 7:19 assaults the law, the second half seems to contradict this, saying something strongly in its favour.” (Page 35)

“Christ has abolished the law and yet the law is still of value for Christian conduct. It is genuinely puzzling how an author could write both things in the same letter.” (Page 25)

Brian Rosner shows how fruitless it is to ask ‘What was Paul's attitude to the OT Law?’ without first clarifying ‘The law as what? The law functioning in what capacity?’ Answering these questions, he shows that it is not only possible but essential to take with full seriousness Paul’s negative and his positive words about the law, which otherwise seem so puzzlingly contradictory. In that way he helps us out of a particularly unnecessary and divisive argument today around issues of justification and sanctification, by taking at full biblical gospel strength both the free grace of God’s salvation and the call for holiness of life on the part of those who have received it—or what Paul probably meant by ‘the obedience of faith.’
—Christopher J.H. Wright, international ministries director, Langham Partnership

One of the great frustrations of scholars is that even when they think they have made a valid and valuable point, sometimes it seems as if no one is listening. This complaint, however, could never be made against Brian Rosner and his new book on Paul and the Law. The book is in part a response to my lament that his previous work did not explicate the various ways Paul viewed the Mosaic law and the Mosaic covenant. Rosner has responded to this complaint with gusto, providing us with one of the best overall treatments of Paul and the Law I have ever seen. Unlike some treatments, Rosner does not try to oversimplify or oversynthesize the various things Paul says about the Law, but rather allows the complexity and variety of Paul’s views on the subject to shine through plainly. His insight that Paul reads the Old Testament, including the Law, as both prophecy and wisdom that is of value and help to Christians is crucial.

—Ben Witherington III, Amos Professor of New Testament for Doctoral Studies, Asbury Theological Seminary

This is a fresh solution to a difficult puzzle that may sadly be overlooked by its publication in a readable-level series rather than in a technical reader-unfriendly one with a maze of references and footnotes. It fully deserves to be placed alongside such profound classics as C.H. Dodd’s According to the Scriptures, which is written in the same limpid manner.

—I. Howard Marshall, professor emeritus of New Testament, University of Aberdeen

  • Title: Paul and the Law: Keeping the Commandments of God
  • Author: Brian S. Rosner
  • Series: New Studies in Biblical Theology
  • Volume: 31
  • Publishers: IVP, Apollos
  • Print Publication Date: 2013
  • Logos Release Date: 2015
  • Pages: 249
  • Language: English
  • Resources: 1
  • Format: Digital › Logos Research Edition
  • Subjects: Bible. N.T. Epistles of Paul › Criticism, interpretation, etc; Law (Theology) › Biblical teaching; Jewish law
  • ISBNs: 9780830826322, 9781844748914, 9780830895649, 0830826327, 184474891X, 0830895647
  • Resource ID: LLS:NSBT31
  • Resource Type: Monograph
  • Metadata Last Updated: 2022-09-30T01:54:06Z

Brian S. Rosner is Principal of Ridley Melbourne in Melbourne, Australia. He formerly taught at Moore Theological College, Macquarie University and the University of Aberdeen. He is the author of several books, including Paul, Scripture and Ethics: A Study of 1 Corinthians 5-7 and Greed as Idolatry: The Origin and Meaning of a Pauline Metaphor. He is also co-editor of the New Dictionary of Biblical Theology and co-author of a volume on 1 Corinthians in the Pillar New Testament Commentary series.


4 ratings

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  1. John Maynez

    John Maynez


  2. klimschus



  3. Stephan Freund
    This book is excelent! Very good aproach to the theme, a must for every Christian!
  4. Phillip Brokenshire
    God has quite simply used this book to help me understand Paul's hermeneutic of the law and thus to crystallise a whole aspect of the Christian life. I wish he would do this for the rest of the NT!


Digital list price: $27.99
Save $8.00 (28%)