This article is part of a sub-series: Should We Obey The Entire Law Of Moses? - What The Old And New Testaments Say, which is about Old Testament laws on morality and tithing, customs like animal sacrifice and the celebration of the Passover Festival, and what the New Testament says about them.
This is Part 5 (of 13) in Section 5: "Should We Obey The Entire Law Of Moses? - What The Old And New Testaments Say".
To read an overview of the way Christians should regard the Law of Moses, visit: Bible Quotations on Whether Christians Should Obey the Law of Moses.
Some parts of the Old Testament and the Book of Revelation are very unpleasant. If you become offended by anything, please read An Attempt to Explain Gruesome Bible Passages.
The purpose of the Old Testament seems to have been mainly to try to scare lawless societies into behaving decently, giving up the cruel ways the Bible says they were guilty of. Hence much of the gruesomeness, which is at least in part meant to warn people committing cruel and hurtful actions to change.
Deuteronomy chapter 5 (NLT)
1 Moses called all the people of Israel together and said, ...
Deuteronomy chapter 9 (NLT)
1 "Hear, O Israel! ... you are about to ... occupy the land belonging to nations much greater and more powerful than you.
Exodus chapter 34 (TEV)
10 The Lord said to Moses, "I now make a covenant with the people of Israel. In their presence I will do great things such as have never been done anywhere on earth among any of the nations. All the people will see what great things I, the Lord, can do, because I am going to do an awesome thing for you. 11 Obey the laws that I am giving you today. I will drive out the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, as you advance. 12 Do not make any treaties with the people of the country into which you are going, because this could be a fatal trap for you. 13 Instead, tear down their altars, destroy their sacred pillars, and cut down their symbols of the goddess Asherah. 14 "Do not worship any other god, because I, the Lord, tolerate no rivals. 15 Do not make any treaties with the people of the country, because when they worship their pagan gods and sacrifice to them, they will invite you to join them, and you will be tempted to eat the food they offer to their gods. 16 Your sons might marry those foreign women, who would lead them to be unfaithful to me and to worship their pagan gods. 17 "Do not make gods of metal and worship them.
Numbers chapter 25 (NLT)
1 While the Israelites were camped at Acacia, some of the men defiled themselves by sleeping with the local Moabite women. 2 These women invited them to attend sacrifices to their gods, and soon the Israelites were feasting with them and worshiping the gods of Moab. 3 Before long Israel was joining in the worship of Baal of Peor, causing the LORD's anger to blaze against his people. 4 The LORD issued the following command to Moses: "Seize all the ringleaders and execute them before the LORD in broad daylight, so his fierce anger will turn away from the people of Israel." 5 So Moses ordered Israel's judges to execute everyone who had joined in worshiping Baal of Peor.
Revelation chapter 1 (TEV)
9 I am John, your brother, and as a follower of Jesus I am your partner in patiently enduring the suffering that comes to those who belong to his Kingdom. I was put on the island of Patmos because I had proclaimed God's word and the truth that Jesus revealed. 10 On the Lord's day the Spirit took control of me, and I heard a loud voice, that sounded like a trumpet, speaking behind me. 12 I turned around to see who was talking to me, and I saw seven gold lampstands, 13 and among them there was what looked like a human being, wearing a robe that reached to his feet, and a gold band around his chest. 14 His hair was white as wool, or as snow, and his eyes blazed like fire; 15 his feet shone like brass that has been refined and polished, and his voice sounded like a roaring waterfall. 16 ... a sharp two-edged sword came out of his mouth. His face was as bright as the midday sun. 17 When I saw him, I fell down at his feet like a dead man. He placed his right hand on me and said, "Don't be afraid! I am the first and the last. 18 I am the living one! I was dead, but now I am alive forever and ever. I have authority over death and the world of the dead. 19 Write, then, the things you see, both the things that are now and the things that will happen afterward.
Revelation chapter 2 (TEV)
12 "To the angel of the church in Pergamum write:
"This is the message from the one who has the sharp two-edged sword.
13 I know where you live, there where Satan has his throne. You are true to me, and you did not abandon your faith in me even during the time when Antipas, my faithful witness, was killed there where Satan lives.
14 But there are a few things I have against you: there are some among you who follow the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak how to lead the people of Israel into sin by persuading them to eat food that had been offered to idols and to practice sexual immorality. 15 In the same way you have people among you who follow the teaching of the Nicolaitans. 16 Now turn from your sins! If you don't, I will come to you soon and fight against those people with the sword that comes out of my mouth.
17 "If you have ears, then, listen to what the Spirit says to the churches!
18 "To the angel of the church in Thyatira write:
"This is the message from the Son of God, whose eyes blaze like fire, whose feet shine like polished brass.
19 I know what you do. I know your love, your faithfulness, your service, and your patience. I know that you are doing more now than you did at first.
20 But this is what I have against you: you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a messenger of God. By her teaching she misleads my servants into practicing sexual immorality and eating food that has been offered to idols. 21 I have given her time to repent of her sins, but she does not want to turn from her immorality. 22 And so I will throw her on a bed where she and those who committed adultery with her will suffer terribly. I will do this now unless they repent of the wicked things they did with her. 23 I will also kill her followers, and then all the churches will know that I am the one who knows everyone's thoughts and wishes. I will repay each of you according to what you have done.
24 "But the rest of you in Thyatira have not followed this evil teaching; you have not learned what the others call "the deep secrets of Satan.' I say to you that I will not put any other burden on you. 25 But until I come, you must hold firmly to what you have. 26 To those who win the victory, who continue to the end to do what I want, I will give the same authority that I received from my Father: I will give them authority over the nations, to rule them with an iron rod and to break them to pieces like clay pots. I will also give them the morning star.
29 "If you have ears, then, listen to what the Spirit says to the churches!
1 Corinthians chapter 8 (NLT)
1 Now let's talk about food that has been sacrificed to idols. 4 Should we eat meat that has been sacrificed to idols? Well, we all know that an idol is not really a god and that there is only one God and no other. 5 According to some people, there are many so-called gods and many lords, both in heaven and on earth. 6 But we know that there is only one God, the Father, who created everything, and we exist for him. And there is only one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom God made everything and through whom we have been given life.
7 However, not all Christians realize this. Some are accustomed to thinking of idols as being real, so when they eat food that has been offered to idols, they think of it as the worship of real gods, and their weak consciences are violated. 8 It's true that we can't win God's approval by what we eat. We don't miss out on anything if we don't eat it, and we don't gain anything if we do. 9 But you must be careful with this freedom of yours. Do not cause a brother or sister with a weaker conscience to stumble. 10 You see, this is what can happen: Weak Christians who think it is wrong to eat this food will see you eating in the temple of an idol. You know there's nothing wrong with it, but they will be encouraged to violate their conscience by eating food that has been dedicated to the idol. 11 So because of your superior knowledge, a weak Christian, for whom Christ died, will be destroyed. 12 And you are sinning against Christ when you sin against other Christians by encouraging them to do something they believe is wrong. 13 If what I eat is going to make another Christian sin, I will never eat meat again as long as I live - for I don't want to make another Christian stumble.
1 Corinthians chapter 10 (NLT)
20 What I am saying is that these sacrifices are offered to demons, not to God. And I don't want any of you to be partners with demons.
Genesis chapter 17 (TEV)
1 When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said,
"I am the Almighty God. Obey me and always do what is right. 2 I will make my covenant with you and give you many descendants."
3 Abram bowed down with his face touching the ground, and God said,
4 "I make this covenant with you:
I promise that you will be the ancestor of many nations. 5 Your name will no longer be Abram, but Abraham, because I am making you the ancestor of many nations. 6 I will give you many descendants, and some of them will be kings. You will have so many descendants that they will become nations.
7 "I will keep my promise to you and to your descendants in future generations as an everlasting covenant. I will be your God and the God of your descendants. 8 I will give to you and to your descendants this land in which you are now a foreigner. The whole land of Canaan will belong to your descendants forever, and I will be their God."
9 God said to Abraham, "You also must agree to keep the covenant with me, both you and your descendants in future generations. 10 You and your descendants must all agree to circumcise every male among you. 11 >From now on you must circumcise every baby boy when he is eight days old, including slaves born in your homes and slaves bought from foreigners. This will show that there is a covenant between you and me. 13 Each one must be circumcised, and this will be a physical sign to show that my covenant with you is everlasting. 14 Any male who has not been circumcised will no longer be considered one of my people, because he has not kept the covenant with me."
Leviticus chapter 12 (NLT)
1 The LORD said to Moses, "Give these instructions to the Israelites: 2 When a woman becomes pregnant and gives birth to a son, she will be ceremonially unclean for seven days, just as she is defiled during her menstrual period. 3 On the eighth day, the boy must be circumcised.
Leviticus chapter 23 (TEV)
3 You have six days in which to do your work, but remember that the seventh day, the Sabbath, is a day of rest. On that day do not work, but gather for worship. The Sabbath belongs to the Lord, no matter where you live.
John chapter 5 (NLT)
1 Jesus returned to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish holy days. 2 Inside the city, near the Sheep Gate, was the pool of Bethesda, with five covered porches. 3 Crowds of sick people - blind, lame, or paralyzed - lay on the porches. 5 One of the men lying there had been sick for thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him and knew how long he had been ill, he asked him, "Would you like to get well?" 7 "I can't, sir," the sick man said, "for I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred up. While I am trying to get there, someone else always gets in ahead of me." 8 Jesus told him, "Stand up, pick up your sleeping mat, and walk!" 9 Instantly, the man was healed! He rolled up the mat and began walking!
But this miracle happened on the Sabbath day. 10 So the Jewish leaders objected. They said to the man who was cured, "You can't work on the Sabbath! It's illegal to carry that sleeping mat!" 11 He replied, "The man who healed me said to me, 'Pick up your sleeping matand walk.'" 12 "Who said such a thing as that?" they demanded. 13 The man didn't know, for Jesus had disappeared into the crowd. 14 But afterward Jesus found him in the Temple and told him, "Now you are well; so stop sinning, or something even worse may happen to you." 15 Then the man went to find the Jewish leaders and told them it was Jesus who had healed him. 16 So the Jewish leaders began harassing Jesus for breaking the Sabbath rules.
17 But Jesus replied, "My Father never stops working, so why should I?" 18 So the Jewish leaders tried all the more to kill him. In addition to disobeying the Sabbath rules, he had spoken of God as his Father, thereby making himself equal with God.
John chapter 7 (NLT)
14 Jesus went up to the Temple and began to teach. 15 The Jewish leaders were surprised when they heard him. "How does he know so much when he hasn't studied everything we've studied?" they asked. 16 So Jesus told them, "I'm not teaching my own ideas, but those of God who sent me. 17 Anyone who wants to do the will of God will know whether my teaching is from God or is merely my own. 19 None of you obeys the law of Moses! In fact, you are trying to kill me." 20 The crowd replied, "You're demon possessed! Who's trying to kill you?" 21 Jesus replied, "I worked on the Sabbath by healing a man, and you were offended. 22 But you work on the Sabbath, too, when you obey Moses' law of circumcision. (Actually, this tradition of circumcision is older than the law of Moses; it goes back to Abraham.) 23 For if the correct time for circumcising your son falls on the Sabbath, you go ahead and do it, so as not to break the law of Moses. So why should I be condemned for making a man completely well on the Sabbath? 24 Think this through and you will see that I am right."
Romans chapter 2 (NLT)
25 The Jewish ceremony of circumcision is worth something only if you obey God's law. But if you don't obey God's law, you are no better off than an uncircumcised Gentile. 26 And if the Gentiles obey God's law, won't God give them all the rights and honors of being his own people? 27 In fact, uncircumcised Gentiles who keep God's law will be much better off than you Jews who are circumcised and know so much about God's law but don't obey it. 28 For you are not a true Jew just because you were born of Jewish parents or because you have gone through the Jewish ceremony of circumcision. 29 No, a true Jew is one whose heart is right with God. And true circumcision is not a cutting of the body but a change of heart produced by God's Spirit.
Acts chapter 15 (GWT)
1 Some men came from Judea and started to teach believers that people can't be saved unless they are circumcised as Moses' Teachings require. 2 Paul and Barnabas had a fierce dispute with these men.
So Paul and Barnabas and some of the others were sent to Jerusalem to see the apostles and spiritual leaders about this claim. 3 The church sent Paul and Barnabas [to Jerusalem]. As they were going through Phoenicia and Samaria, they told the whole story of how non-Jewish people were turning to God. This story brought great joy to all the believers.
4 The church in Jerusalem, the apostles, and the spiritual leaders welcomed Paul and Barnabas when they arrived. Paul and Barnabas reported everything that God had done through them. 5 But some believers from the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, "People who are not Jewish must be circumcised and ordered to follow Moses' Teachings."
6 The apostles and spiritual leaders met to consider this statement. 7 After a lot of debating, Peter stood up and said to them, "Brothers, you know what happened some time ago. God chose me so that people who aren't Jewish could hear the Good News and believe. 8 God, who knows everyone's thoughts, showed that he approved of people who aren't Jewish by giving them the Holy Spirit as he gave the Holy Spirit to us. 9 God doesn't discriminate between Jewish and non-Jewish people. He has cleansed non-Jewish people through faith as he has cleansed us Jews. 10 So why are you testing God? You're putting a burden on the disciples, a burden neither our ancestors nor we can carry. 11 We certainly believe that the Lord Jesus saves us the same way that he saves them--through his kindness."
12 The whole crowd was silent. They listened to Barnabas and Paul tell about all the miracles and amazing things that God had done through them among non-Jewish people.
Acts chapter 15 (TEV)
13 When they had finished speaking, James spoke up: "Listen to me, my friends! 14 Simon has just explained how God first showed his care for the Gentiles by taking from among them a people to belong to him. 15 The words of the prophets agree completely with this. As the scripture says,
16 "After this I will return, says the Lord, and restore the kingdom of David. I will rebuild its ruins and make it strong again. 17 And so all the rest of the human race will come to me, all the Gentiles whom I have called to be my own. 18 So says the Lord, who made this known long ago.'
19 "It is my opinion," James went on, "that we should not trouble the Gentiles who are turning to God. 20 Instead, we should write a letter telling them not to eat any food that is ritually unclean because it has been offered to idols; to keep themselves from sexual immorality; and not to eat any animal that has been strangled, or any blood. 21 For the Law of Moses has been read for a very long time in the synagogues every Sabbath, and his words are preached in every town."
22 Then the apostles and the elders, together with the whole church, decided to choose some men from the group and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They chose two men who were highly respected by the believers, Judas, called Barsabbas, and Silas, 23 and they sent the following letter by them:
"We, the apostles and the elders, your brothers, send greetings to all our brothers of Gentile birth who live in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia.
24 We have heard that some who went from our group have troubled and upset you by what they said; they had not, however, received any instruction from us. 25 And so we have met together and have all agreed to choose some messengers and send them to you. They will go with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul, 26 who have risked their lives in the service of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 We send you, then, Judas and Silas, who will tell you in person the same things we are writing. 28 The Holy Spirit and we have agreed not to put any other burden on you besides these necessary rules:
You will do well if you take care not to do these things.
With our best wishes."
30 The messengers were sent off and went to Antioch, where they gathered the whole group of believers and gave them the letter. 31 When the people read it, they were filled with joy by the message of encouragement. 32 Judas and Silas, who were themselves prophets, spoke a long time with them, giving them courage and strength. 33 After spending some time there, they were sent off in peace by the believers and went back to those who had sent them.
35 Paul and Barnabas spent some time in Antioch, and together with many others they taught and preached the word of the Lord.
1 Corinthians chapter 10 (NLT)
23 You say, "I am allowed to do anything" - but not everything is helpful. You say, "I am allowed to do anything" - but not everything is beneficial. 24 Don't think only of your own good. Think of other Christians and what is best for them. 25 Here's what you should do. You may eat any meat that is sold in the marketplace. Don't ask whether or not it was offered to idols, and then your conscience won't be bothered. 26 For "the earth is the Lord's, and everything in it."
27 If someone who isn't a Christian asks you home for dinner, go ahead; accept the invitation if you want to. Eat whatever is offered to you and don't ask any questions about it. Your conscience should not be bothered by this. 28 But suppose someone warns you that this meat has been offered to an idol. Don't eat it, out of consideration for the conscience of the one who told you. 29 It might not be a matter of conscience for you, but it is for the other person. Now, why should my freedom be limited by what someone else thinks? 30 If I can thank God for the food and enjoy it, why should I be condemned for eating it?
31 Whatever you eat or drink or whatever you do, you must do all for the glory of God. 32 Don't give offense to Jews or Gentiles or the church of God. 33 That is the plan I follow, too. I try to please everyone in everything I do. I don't just do what I like or what is best for me, but what is best for them so they may be saved.
Acts chapter 17 (GWT)
16 While Paul was waiting for Silas and Timothy in Athens, he saw that the city had statues of false gods everywhere. This upset him. 17 He held discussions in the synagogue with Jews and converts to Judaism. He also held discussions every day in the public square with anyone who happened to be there. 18 Some Epicurean and Stoic philosophers had discussions with him.
Some asked, "What is this babbling fool trying to say?" Others said, "He seems to be speaking about foreign gods." The philosophers said these things because Paul was telling the Good News about Jesus and saying that people would come back to life.
19 Then they brought Paul to the city court, the Areopagus, and asked, "Could you tell us these new ideas that you're teaching? 20 Some of the things you say sound strange to us. So we would like to know what they mean." 21 Everyone who lived in Athens looked for opportunities to tell or hear something new and unusual.
22 Paul stood in the middle of the court and said, "Men of Athens, I see that you are very religious. 23 As I was going through your city and looking closely at the objects you worship, I noticed an altar with this written on it: 'To an unknown god.' I'm telling you about the unknown god you worship.
24 The God who made the universe and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth. He doesn't live in shrines made by humans, 25 and he isn't served by humans as if he needed anything. He gives everyone life, breath, and everything they have. 26 From one man he has made every nation of humanity to live all over the earth. He has given them the seasons of the year and the boundaries within which to live. 27 He has done this so that they would look for God, somehow reach for him, and find him. In fact, he is never far from any one of us. 28 Certainly, we live, move, and exist because of him. As some of your poets have said, 'We are God's children.'
29 So if we are God's children, we shouldn't think that the divine being is like an image made from gold, silver, or stone, an image that is the product of human imagination and skill.
30 "God overlooked the times when people didn't know any better. But now he commands everyone everywhere to turn to him and change the way they think and act. 31 He has set a day when he is going to judge the world with justice, and he will use a man he has appointed to do this. God has given proof to everyone that he will do this by bringing that man back to life."
32 When the people of the court heard that a person had come back to life, some began joking about it, while others said, "We'll hear you talk about this some other time." 33 With this response, Paul left the court.
34 Some men joined him and became believers. With them were Dionysius, who was a member of the court, and a woman named Damaris, and some other people.
1 Peter chapter 4 (TEV)
2 From now on, then, you must live the rest of your earthly lives controlled by God's will and not by human desires. 3 You have spent enough time in the past doing what the heathen like to do. Your lives were spent in indecency, lust, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and the disgusting worship of idols. 4 And now the heathen are surprised when you do not join them in the same wild and reckless living, and so they insult you. 5 But they will have to give an account of themselves to God, who is ready to judge the living and the dead.
The next file in this section (Part 6), is entitled: "What The Bible Says About Trying To Become Right With God By Obeying The Law Of Moses".
If you have found parts of the Old Testament or the Book of Revelation offensive, please read An Attempt to Explain Gruesome Bible Passages.
The selections of Bible quotations have been put together by Diana Holbourn.
Throughout this series, wherever the initials TEV appear, they stand for Today's English Version (The Good News Bible).Other initials: