Friesen, Jared Peter. “"Fulfilling the Law" in Paul's Epistles: The Connection Between the Old Testament Law and Christian Ethics.” M.Div., Tyndale University College & Seminary, 2017.
Although the Bible is not strictly or primarily moralistic, ethics continue to be an important and unavoidable concern of the Christian life. The role of the OT in developing ethics is frequently debated. One common position begins from Paul's statements that we are no longer under the law (Rom 6: 14; Gal 5: 18; cf. Rom 3:21; 1 Cor 9:20; Gal 3:10) or have died to the law (Rom 7:4). However, these declarations appear to be in tension with Paul's other statements that Christians fulfil the law (Rom 8:3-4; 13:8-10; Gal 5:13-14). This thesis endeavours to understand the relationship between the OT law and ethics implied by Paul's "fulfilment" statements. Paul never systematizes a hermeneutical approach to the law or a complete ethical code. Rather, he endorses rational ethical discernment employing a renewed mind (Rom 12:1-2) with the aid of the Spirit (7:6; 8:4-7). Significantly, Paul never explicitly encourages his communities to base their ethics on the law, but his "fulfilment" passages imply that the law retains a potential role in Christian ethics. One purpose of the law, as Paul understands it, was to produce a proper pattern of behaviour in Israel. Paul asserts that love is the foundational characteristic of that lifestyle. So the Christian's practice of love preserves the essence of what the law was meant to produce. While Paul discards some specific instructions in the law, this model also implies that significant portions of the law must point toward this same loving practice. Paul's understanding of the OT law thus implies that the law can be used constructively (if selectively) for Christian ethics, even though he did not himself actively encourage such a use for his communities.
Thesis (M. Div.)—Tyndale University College & Seminary, 2017