Presbyterians/List of all moral laws of God


Hello Pastor G,
these last few weeks I have been thinking about the Lordship of Christ over His children's life, and the moral laws of God---I supposed the translations I have been working on which refute dispensationalism made me think more about God's moral laws.

Such leads me to my question: Have any reformed theologian compiled a list of all the moral laws of God in the whole Bible?

For example, in this Jewish website lists all 613 biblical laws:

However, for the non-theonomist Christian, we only obey the moral laws of God.

The idea of an enumeration of laws is part of the Jewish legalism that the apostle Paul opposed.

Martin Luther (in some ways laying the foundation for later Dispensationalism) made a hard and fast distinction between law and gospel. He took it as a given that the Scribes and Pharisees used the law properly, and that the gospel, in standing in opposition to them, stood in opposition to the law.

Later Reformers (Calvin among them) understood that the Scribes and Pharisees were misusing the law, and that Paul's "opposition to the law" was actually an opposition to the way it was misused.

Although it's popular to say that legalism is "adding to the law of God," all legalism has as it's goal to diminish the law of God to make it something easy to keep. This has been done in Judaism (and may be done by some Christians) by reducing the commandments to a certain discrete number.

Reformed theology understood the moral law to have myriad implications and applications. E.g. the law of putting a parapet (or fence) around one's roof (Dt. 22:8) was a keeping of the sixth commandment. Because the (sodded) roof was used as living space, putting a fence around it protected one's own life, and the life of neighbor and family, thus showing that the command "Thou shalt not kill" was not restricted merely to the deliberate unjust taking of the life of another, but imposed a certain responsibility (in what the hearer had authority over) to preserve the life of himself and his neighbor.

The Westminster Larger Catechism's dealing with the Ten Commandments illustrates this beautifully. It is indicative, rather than exhaustive and shows that every commandment is myriad and cannot be reduced.

What are the duties required in the sixth commandment? A. The duties required in the sixth commandment are, all careful studies, and lawful endeavours, to preserve the life of ourselves and others by resisting all thoughts and purposes, subduing all passions, and avoiding all occasions, temptations, and practices, which tend to the unjust taking away the life of any; by just defence thereof against violence, patient bearing of the hand of God, quietness of mind, cheerfulness of spirit; a sober use of meat, drink, physick (medicine), sleep, labour, and recreations; by charitable thoughts, love, compassion, meekness, gentleness, kindness; peaceable, mild and courteous speeches and behaviour; forbearance, readiness to be reconciled, patient bearing and forgiving of injuries, and requiting good for evil; comforting and succouring the distressed, and protecting and defending the innocent. (WLC 1:135 WCS)

WLC 136  What are the sins forbidden in the sixth commandment? A. The sins forbidden in the sixth commandment are, all taking away the life of ourselves, or of others, except in case of publick justice, lawful war, or necessary defence; the neglecting or withdrawing the lawful and necessary means of preservation of life; sinful anger, hatred, envy, desire of revenge; all excessive passions, distracting cares; immoderate use of meat, drink, labour, and recreations; provoking words, oppression, quarrelling, striking, wounding, and whatsoever else tends to the destruction of the life of any. (WLC 1:136 WCS)


All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Pastor G


I am glad to answer questions about the Scriptures, Systematic, Biblical and Historic Theology, New Testament Greek, Biblical Hebrew (although my Greek is stronger than my Hebrew); and I am also glad to give pastoral advise and counsel.


A minister ordained in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church since 1993. Prior to that I served as an elder. Former Senior Police Chaplain. College and Seminary-level lecturer.

B.A. Psychology and Theology, M.Div., Westminster Theological Seminary D.Min., Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary Law Enforcement Chaplaincy certification, ICPC

©2016 All rights reserved.