The Function and Purpose of the Old Testament Law

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When God brought the people of Israel out of Egypt with “a mighty hand and an outstretched arm,” that deliverance from slavery to freedom became a central orienting event in the minds and hearts of God’s people. What happened next, with the giving of the Law, especially as it finds expression in the book of Deuteronomy, was meant to formalize the covenant between God and his people as he brought them into the promised land. The Law highlighted the holiness of God and offered parameters for kind of people God wanted to represent him to the world. With over 600 specific laws, they were to be taken together as a whole to help them navigate life in community.

Watch this Seven Minute Seminary video with Dr. Brent A. Strawn as he offers helpful orienting information for understanding the purpose of the Old Testament Law.

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Dr. Brent A. Strawn is Professor of Old Testament at Candler School of Theology. He has a special interest in ancient Near Eastern iconography, the Dead Sea Scrolls, Israelite religion, comparative Semitic philology, legal traditions of the Old Testament, and Old Testament theology.

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