When we are asked to do something or to believe something in regards to Scripture, we should always be like the Bereans and test everything against Scripture itself (Acts 17:11), the whole of Scripture (2 Timothy 3:16-17). If a person feels "led by the spirit" to speak, behave, or believe a certain way, they should test that spirit (1 John 4:1) to determine if it is in agreement with Scripture or not.
Let's journey together through Scripture and see what it says about the matter of being "under the law". As we go, may we say, believe, and do what is right, be merciful in our speech and actions, and walk humbly with the Lord (Micah 6:8).
This article addresses every instance of the phrase "under the law" or "under law" in the Bible. If you know of a verse we have not included and think it should be, please contact us!
Scriptural quotations are from the New American Standard Bible unless otherwise noted. Bolded text or other emphases in the Scriptural references are the author's.
Context and Intent
It is critical that we, the 21st-century readers of Scripture, conform our understanding of the words of Scripture to the intent of the Author and the original meaning set forth by those who were Divinely inspired and penned the Words we now read and treasure. We should not import our 21st-century understanding or issues into the text but should be informed by the text of Scripture itself as well as the historical context of when it was delivered.
Words can change meaning over time.
If a mayor of a major American city in 1908 were to announce that he was "gay" many would not think twice about their mayor declaring that he was "happy". If a mayor of a major American city in 1998 (a mere 90years later) were to announce that he was "gay" his announcement would be met with some measure of uproar at his declaration that he was a homosexual. Words can change meaning over time.
The same word is used in both instances, but its use conveys two completely different messages. Many words do not undergo the severe change that the word "gay" has undergone, but we must be careful to consider that the meaning and emotional charge of an English word chosen by an interpreter may or may not accurately reflect the intent of the Author.