What Are Statutes In The Bible

What Are Statutes In The Bible?
Statutes, which can also be referred to as commandments, are much more than just laws. Statutes are guidelines given by God for living a life of adherence to the Lord. The Bible is full of statutes that God has instructed us to follow. Some statutes are moral, some are spiritual, and some are ceremonial. Nearly every book of the Bible mentions statutes in some form or another, with the first and most famous being found in the Ten Commandments.
When looking at the Bible and its laws, it is easy to become overwhelmed. With hundreds of laws spread throughout the Old and New Testaments, it can be difficult to comprehend them all. It is important to keep in mind that many of these statutes were targeted at the Israelite people in particular; however, the principles behind them can still be applied to us today.
The most famous statutes are those found in the Ten Commandments. These are the most widely known of all the statutes in the Bible, and are spoken of in the Books of Exodus and Deuteronomy. Each of the Ten Commandments is a moral or spiritual law based on honoring God, as well as loving others. The commandments are:
1. Thou shalt have no other gods before Me
2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image
3. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain
4. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy
5. Honor thy father and thy mother
6. Thou shalt not kill
7. Thou shalt not commit adultery
8. Thou shalt not steal
9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor
10. Thou shalt not covet
These statutes serve as the foundation of morality in the Bible and guide our relationship with God and others.
Apart from the Ten Commandments, there are other statutes throughout the Bible which bring a more specific approach to moral behavior. These include the passing of the Edict of Cane, which established laws to protect racial diversity, as well as laws protecting children and animals from cruelty. Additionally, the Old Testament gives numerous laws that cover every aspect of life from what to eat, to how to worship, to how to conduct business.
Throughout the New Testament, there are practically no new laws. Instead, the focus is on a relationship with God and living in a way that honors Him. Thus, Jesus did not teach us a new set of laws, but instead, a new way of living in response to the greatest law, to love God and our neighbor.

Statutes in the Book of Leviticus

The Book of Leviticus is especially known for its list of statutes for the Israelites to abide by. This book is filled with statutory laws given by God to His people, in order to keep them in line with His teachings. There are laws pertaining to animal and food sacrifice, religious festivals, and priestly responsibilities, and laws regarding how to show mercy and justice.
The notable thing about these laws is that they all reflect God’s desire to keep His people in a spiritual alignment with Himself. For example, the Levitical dietary laws are sometimes misunderstood to simply be a set of rules meant to restrict the freedom of the Israelites. In reality, these laws were a means of keeping the people from being physically and spiritually impure.
Also unique to Leviticus are the laws of forgiveness and atonement for sins. These laws set out a plan for making restitution, and even provided a payment of expensive animals by the offender to gain forgiveness from God. These atonement laws were also a means of teaching the lesson of integrity and humility before the Lord.

Statutes in the Book of Deuteronomy

The Book of Deuteronomy is written like a legal code which reiterates many of the statutes from Exodus and Leviticus. While some of the statutes cover the same topics, they are additionally written with greater clarity and purpose, emphasizing the importance of God’s rules. The statutes found in Deuteronomy are intended to show the people how to live in right relationship with the Lord, and with each other.
One of the more significant laws in Deuteronomy is the one which demands the Israelites to keep the Sabbath holy (Deuteronomy 5:12-15). This law reminds us that we need to find space in our schedules to spend time with the Lord and is an integral part of honoring God with our lives. Many of the other statutes found in the book are similar in nature and are meant to instruct us on how to properly live.

Statutes in the New Testament

The New Testament does not introduce any new laws separate from the Old Testament. Instead, it is focused on living out the commandments in the spirit of love and obedience. Jesus spent much of His ministry preaching on various topics such as offering hospitality, giving to the needy, and turning the other cheek. These teachings were aimed at teaching the people how to show love and honor to each other and to the Lord.
The New Testament statutes represent a shift in gathering with the Lord. Rather than using specific sacrifices and ceremonies, Jesus sought to bring the people into a relationship with God through faith. Jesus taught that the Law is to be observed, but it is not to be the only indication of one’s relationship with God. Rather, Jesus emphasized living according to the principles of love and mercy.

Statutes and Legalism

It is important to remember that statutes in the Bible are not meant to be a form of legalism. Legalism is adhering to the letter of the law without understanding its spirit or purpose. The Bible clearly states that it is not the observance of the law that brings salvation, but trust and belief in Jesus.
We must make sure that when looking at the Bible and its statutes, that our focus stays on putting our faith in the Lord. We ought to use the decrees in the Bible as symbols of guidance and encouragement, rather than neglecting our relationship with God in favor of following the letter of the law.

Modern Relevance Of The Statutes

The statutes found in the Bible, both in the Old and New Testaments, still carry relevance today. While many of the ceremonial laws in the Old Testament no longer apply to us, the moral and ethical statutes still remain applicable, and are guiding principles for living a righteous life. The Ten Commandments especially provide an important foundation for understanding how to properly love and honor the Lord.
The New Testament statutes have relevance in regards to the manner in which we relate to each other and God. Jesus taught that the commandments are meant to be followed, but that it is more important to live in obedience to Him. We can also find comfort in Jesus’ teachings because He does not expect us to accomplish perfection, but rather a lifestyle of grace and mercy.

The Gift and Grace Of the Statutes

The statutes which come from God are a source of comfort and strength to our everyday lives. They guide us in how to live before the Lord in ways which bring glory and honor to Him. These laws speak truth and give instruction, and they ultimately point us to Jesus and our need for Him.
The laws of the Bible are not meant to be harsh dictations; instead, they are a gift of love and grace to each of us. We can trust that these statutes are enough to bring us closer to our Creator and Savior. The decrees of the Bible remind us of God’s ultimate control and timeless wisdom.

God’s Grace Always Trumps Obedience To The Statutes

The Bible teaches us that it is not the doing of the law or our own righteousness which bring salvation. Instead, we need to humbly accept the gift of grace and mercy which come from the Lord. We can trust that obedience to the statutes is important, and that without adherence to the laws, we cannot come into a relationship with God. However, it is important to remember that our ultimate salvation comes from trusting Jesus as our Savior, knowing that His grace is greater than our own attempts to accomplish the law.

Trust In the Statutes To Guide Us

The statutes of the Bible provide great instruction and guidance in how we ought to live. When followed, they can bring honor to God, discipline to our lives, and provide a good example for those around us. It is important to remember to treat the statutes as sources of guidance, rather than legalistic regulations.
At the same time, we need to depend on the Lord to equip us in being able to live according to His statutes. We need to lean on the power of the Lord and the gift of the Holy Spirit to help guide us in following the laws of the Bible.

Marcos Reyna is a Christian author and speaker. He is dedicated to helping create disciples of Christ through spreading the power of the gospel to others. He has written several books and articles on a variety of theological topics, including matters of faith, worship, biblical studies, practical ethics, and social justice. A trained theologian and devotee of spiritual writing, Marcos has a mission to spread Christian love everywhere. He lives with his family in Nashville, TN where he spends his days encouraging others to seek Christ's grace in all things.

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