St Paul and the Law

Paul has been criticized by believers and nonbelievers alike. It still happens today.

Paul has been criticized by believers and nonbelievers alike. It still happens today. His use of the term “the Law” is one of the chief sticking points. Jews used the Hebrew word Torah for “Law.” It acquired variant meanings: the first five biblical books; instruction or revelation; whatever is required by the Mosaic covenant, especially the Ten Commandments. Paul, however, used the Greek word nomos for law. It did not imply the variant meanings of Torah. Consequently Paul did not always clarify the meanings, and so he is criticized for being imprecise or  sloppy. Origen (d. 254), one of the Greek fathers of the church, estimated that the Pauline letters use the term law

with six different meanings. Paul switches the meaning of law in Romans 7 without blinking. For this reason some think him unfair in his insistence that we are released from the law thanks to Christ.

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