Hays Essay

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Dean Gregory
OBST591 - Old Testament Orientation 1
Section B15
Dr. Robert Cole
September 4, 2012

The Hays essay helped to reveal how to understand and apply Old Testament Law in today’s culture. Hays states “principlism” is the method that “(a) is consistent, treating all Old Testament Scripture as God’s Word, (b) does not depend on arbitrary nontextual categories, (c) reflects the literary and historical context of the Law, placing it firmly into the narrative story of the Pentateuch, (d) reflects the theological context of the Law, and (e) corresponds to New Testament teaching.” This method has strengths and weaknesses. Hays says a strength of principlism “is that it is fairly simple and consistent.” Because of the simplicity of the method I can see myself using it to apply the Old Testament Laws more to my life and teaching the method to some of my senior high students that attend youth group. This would allow the students to view the Old Testament as a valuable source of guidance and worthy of more in depth study. A weakness of this approach as stated by Hays is that “it may tend to oversimplify some complex issues.” This may be a weakness for someone studying the Old Testament Law at a seminary doctorial level but I see it as a fantastic way of teaching the Law to young Christians or any layperson wanting to apply the Law to their lives today. It would seem when Jesus said “Do not think that I have not come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them” (Matthew 5:17) and Paul’s teaching in Romans 7:6 “we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code” that they are contradicting each other. This is not the case. Paul is saying that because Christians have the Spirit living in them and since the Spirit is God, then the Old Laws and regulations of coming before God has been fulfilled by what Jesus did on the cross. It...
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