Read the rest.Many have traditionally pointed to distinctions between civil, ceremonial and moral elements of the law and posited that the former two were abrogated, while the latter is binding. Though there is perhaps some value in such distinction, it is somewhat arbitrary and does not find solid biblical support. For example, are Sabbath regulations moral, civil or ceremonial? I think a better option remains than attempting to apply the three-fold dimensions theory.As Christians reading the Old Testament, rather than simply applying the literal content of the law (or certain aspects of the law) or dismissing it entirely, we should instead seek a better approach consisting of a few steps:
- By diligent study of the text and context, interpret the original intent of the law to the original audience to whom it was directed.
- Determine the various substantial (not merely superficial) differences between the original audience and modern audience.
- Determine the underlying universal principle from the prescription or prohibition.
- Filter this principle through the progressive revelation of the gospel and New Testament clarity.
- Apply the modified universal principle to life today.
Recommended resource: 40 Questions about Christians and Biblical Law by Thomas Schreiner