A judge in Alabama fights to have the Ten Commandments on the wall of his courtroom in order to say that the law enacted in his court is based on God's law.
This idea seems good in principle, but something is missing. The Ten Commandments are not general guidelines for humanity at large. They should be read and lived within the biblical context of a saving God who chooses a people to worship him in a certain way.
This article will attempt to highlight the relationship between our ethics and our theology. We behave in a certain way because we believe and worship in a certain way.
One of the distinctive notes of Old Testament law, particularly the Ten Commandments, is its enclosure in narrative. This is not true of the Code of Hammurabi, the Babylonian legal system of the 18th century B.C. The Old Testament integration of law and story is unique in the cultures of the ancient Near East. Therefore, if we rip the Ten Commandments our of the context of the narrative, we overlook the lively, pulsating relationship God and the people he has called had formed.
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