Academic Theology
R. L. Solberg  

Introducing the Principle & Expression Framework

Here is an interesting conundrum. Scripture is full of passages that teach us to delight in the Law of the Lord and meditate on it day and night (Ps 1:2), that God’s law is perfect, right, and pure (Ps 19:7-8), and that it is eternal (Ps 119:111-113). Yet, other passages in the Bible teach things like “Now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code” (Rom 7:6), and “[Jesus] abolished the law of commandments expressed in ordinances” (Eph 2:15), and “you are not under law but under grace” (Rom 6:14). As Bible-believing Christians who accept all of Scripture as true, how can we reconcile these two seemingly contradictory positions on God’s law? Allow me to introduce a biblical framework called Principle & Expression. It is a lens for viewing Scripture that offers a significant degree of explanatory power and can be a helpful key for unlocking difficult passages about the law. 

The Framework

The concept behind the P&E framework is nothing new. It is based on the distinction between a general principle and a specific expression of that principle.

For example, consider the moral principle “murder is wrong.” All nations and cultures at all times have regarded murder—the unlawful killing of one human being by another—to be immoral. However, the way countries and cultures express this principle varies. For example, prior to 2005, a husband in Haiti who killed his wife while discovering her in the act of committing adultery was not guilty of murder.1 Then, in 2005, the Haitian government abolished that right. Murdering one’s wife under adulterous circumstances was no longer tolerated.

So, while the moral principle “murder is wrong” never changed, there was a clear change in the Haitian legal expression of this principle before and after 2005. What was allowed under one expression became prohibited under the next. Yet, the general principle that “murder is wrong” held true. Further, while the Haitian government changed the law that addressed killing an unfaithful wife, the rest of their murder laws were left untouched. Thus, (1.) the new expression did not wipe out or replace the previous expression, and (2.) the two expressions—before 2005 and after 2005—are far more alike than different. This is because both expressions are grounded in the same unchanging principle: “murder is wrong.”

When it comes to Scripture, the premise of the Principle & Expression framework is this: There exists a set of perfect principles grounded in God that never change. And God has expressed these unchanging principles to His people differently at different times in history. Every commandment given by Yahweh in every expression across time is grounded in one or more of His unchanging principles. And although Scripture reveals that the expressions have changed, they each reflect the unchanging heart of God and, as such, are vastly more alike than different.

Our Terminology

Before we continue, let’s establish our terminology. In this article, we will use the phrase Law of God to refer to the unchanging, universal principles God set for mankind from the very beginning. And it is important to note that this definition may not always correspond to the definition of the “Law of God” intended by the biblical authors. Each use of this phrase in Scripture has to be understood in its own context. 

The Law of God (as we’re defining it) has been in effect and unchanging since creation. However, it has been expresse in different ways throughout history. The most prominent and formal expression occurred at Mount Sinai. Over the course of a year, God gave Israel a set of holy commands through Moses, which the Bible refers to as the Law of Moses.2 So we will use that phrase to refer to the body of mitzvot (commandments) given at Sinai as recorded in the Torah.3 We will alternately refer to the Law of Moses as the Mosaic Expression since it was the specific way God expressed His unchanging universal principles to Israel through Moses.

Scripture later explains ­that this Mosaic Expression was given to Israel as a tutor or guardian to help guide God’s people until Christ came.

So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian.

Galatians 3:24-25

This passage offers an excellent opportunity to try an application of the Principle & Expression framework, under which we might understand it as saying something like:

The Mosaic expression of the Law of God was our guardian until Christ came. And now that Christ has come, we no longer live by that expression but rather by a New Expression of the same Law of God.

In other words, God’s people always have been—and always will be—under the Law of God. The New Covenant did not change that. But because of the work of Christ, it is now expressed differently. So we can refer to the Law of God as expressed under the New Covenant as the New Expression. Thus, we have a Mosaic Expression and a New Expression of the same unchanging Law of God. And it’s important to remember the two observations from the example of Haitian murder laws. (1.) The new expression did not wipe out the previous expression, and (2.) the two expressions are far more alike than different. This is because each expression is grounded in the same unchanging Law of God.

Applying the P&E lens can help harmonize the passages in Scripture that tell us about God’s perfect unchanging law with those passages that say we are no longer under the law. This tension is at the heart of the debate between Torahism and mainstream Christianity. And the P&E framework reveals that the running disagreement between these two theologies occurs at the level of expression rather than principle. And it allows us to affirm two seemingly paradoxical truths at the same time: The Law of God is unchanging, and yet Christians are not required to keep the Law of Moses.

Why Change it?

A common question arises at this point. If God has a universal Law or set of principles grounded in Himself, why would He ever change how He expresses them to mankind? It is not because He has changed, but because His people have, in two significant ways.

First, throughout history, like a maturing child, God’s people have grown in their knowledge of Him. He first spoke directly to individuals; men like Adam, Noah, Abraham, and Moses. Then at Sinai, the Law of God was expressed in writing for an entire people group. He gave Israel stone tablets with the Ten Commandments. Then came the Torah and the prophets and the writings of the Tanakh. Mankind’s knowledge of God grew continually as God’s revelation about Himself increased. And centuries later, God gave His people a new revelation through Jesus and the New Testament authors. The author of Hebrews describes His progressive revelation in this way.

Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.

Hebrews 1:1-2

The second reason for the change in expressions is that Yahweh has stepped into history over time to affect change in the world. As a result, the circumstances of His people have changed dramatically throughout history. Many acts of God brought with them a new expression of His same, unchanging principles. At one point, it was just God and the first two humans living in the Garden together. Later, God’s people spent four centuries enslaved in Egypt, where they grew from a small tribe into a large people group. And Yahweh eventually stepped in. He rescued them, brought them to the mountain, and gave them the Law of Moses. That Law was given to grow His people from a band of slaves into an orderly nation that would serve Him and show the world His greatness. And later, God sent His only Son to inaugurate His New Covenant and redeem His people from sin and death. Scripture unmistakably reveals that God moves and acts in the timeline of history.

Of course, God’s plan for all of this was established from the very beginning. But in His sovereignty, He choses to enact it sequentially, little by little, over thousands of years. Yahweh does not tell us everything He plans to do all at once. Rather He reveals His will to us on a need-to-know basis. So while God himself is outside of time—indeed, He is the creator of time!—He chose to condescend to humanity by stepping into our timeline of history and working out his plan of redemption there. 

For reasons we cannot know, God did not choose to send Jesus to save His people at Mount Sinai. Instead, He made a covenant with Israel and gave them a set of laws to serve as its terms. If Israel obeyed the laws, she would be blessed. If she disobeyed, she would be cursed (Deut 28). God chose Moses to present this law to Israel. And, as Yahweh would later reveal, many aspects of this Mosaic Law were given as foreshadowing of the New Covenant He would eventually make with His people through Christ.

Testing a Principle

To test this framework, let us examine the universal principle in the Law of God that “atonement for sin comes through the shedding of blood.” By tracing this principle through Scripture its various expressions become evident. The principle is first hinted at in the Garden when, as a result of their sin, Adam and Eve suddenly became aware of their nakedness. What did God do in response to this first sin? He instituted the first shedding of blood in history. 

And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.

Genesis 3:21

The phrase “garments of skins” suggests the original institution of blood sacrifice. Ross explains it this way,

An animal was sacrificed to provide garments of skin, and later all Israel’s animal sacrifices would be part of God’s provision to remedy the curse—a life for a life. The sinner shall die! (Ezek. 18:20; Rom. 6:23) Yet he will live if he places his faith in the LORD, who has provided a Substitute. The skin with which God clothed Adam and Eve perpetually reminded them of God’s provision. Similarly in the fullness of time, God accepted the sacrifice of Christ, and on the basis of that atonement. He clothes believers in righteousness (Rom. 3:21–26).

Ross, A. P. (1985), “Genesis.” In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 1, p. 33).

Centuries after being ejected from Eden, just prior to the giving of the Mosaic Law, God’s unchanging principle of blood atonement becomes even more apparent. While His people were still in slavery in Egypt, God gave the commandment to sacrifice the Passover lamb. And here we first explicitly see the shedding of blood secure the salvation of God’s people.

The whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill their lambs at twilight. Then they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat it . . . The blood shall be a sign for you, on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you, when I strike the land of Egypt.

Exodus 12:6b–7, 13

This first Passover was a foreshadowing of the blood of Christ. Fifteen centuries later, Jesus would be explicitly referred to as “our Passover Lamb” (1 Cor 5:7). God’s principle is clear; it is blood that saves His sinful people from His wrath. Then, shortly after that first Passover, which led to Israel’s great exodus out of Egypt, God’s people arrived at Mount Sinai. There they received the Mosaic expression of the Law of God, and Yahweh revealed more about the nature of His principle of blood atonement. 

For the life of the flesh is in the blood; and I have given it to you for making atonement for your lives on the altar; for, as life, it is the blood that makes atonement.

Leviticus 17:11

The Passover sacrifice that ended Israel’s slavery in Egypt marked the beginning of ritual sacrifice. Under the Mosaic Law, Yahweh expressed His unchanging principle of blood atonement in the form of animal sacrifices at the tabernacle. He instituted a new requirement to atone for sin, the blood of bulls and goats (Lev 16). His universal principle was now expressed as a continual ceremony in the temple services. And then, centuries later, under the New Covenant, things changed dramatically. The author of Hebrews wrote:

For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, how much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!

Hebrews 9:13-14

Scripture reveals that God’s principle of blood atonement remains under the New Expression. It was not abolished, and it did not come to an end. But the specific expression of this principle changed significantly. Atonement was now to be found in the blood of Christ.

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.

Romans 3:23-25

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace.

Ephesians 1:7

For by a single offering [Jesus] has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.

Hebrews 10:14

So, on the issue of blood atonement, we can clearly trace the evolution of the various expressions of the Law of God. His unchanging principle was first expressed in the Garden through the skins of animals. This was a shadow of Christ’s sacrifice (Heb 10:1-5). The shadow took on more detail in the Passover sacrifice and the ritual sacrifice of bulls and goats under the Mosaic Expression. And finally, under the New Covenant, the shadow gave way to the real thing. God’s principle of blood atonement was ultimately expressed in Christ, “whom God put forward as a sacrifice of atonement by his blood, effective through faith” (Rom 3:25 NRSV).

Do Christians today still have a sacrifice? Yes, we do! Christ is our sacrifice.  Under the New Covenant, “we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (Heb 10:10). The blood sacrifice required by the unchanging Law of God is now fulfilled in the sacrifice of Jesus, and the animal sacrifices required under the Mosaic expression are no longer necessary.

Conclusion

The Principle & Expression framework offers a significant degree of explanatory power in reconciling difficult and seemingly contradictory passages in Scripture. It allows us to affirm God’s unchanging nature while accounting for the apparent changes we see regarding the law.


1https://2001-2009.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2005/61731.htm

2 Joshua 8:31-32, 23:6; Judges 4:11; 1 Kings 2:3; 2 Kings 23:35; 2 Chronicles 23:18, 30:16; Ezra 3:2, 7:6, Nehemiah 8:1; Daniel 9:13; Luke 2:22, 24:44; John 7:23; Acts 13:39, 15:5, 28:23; 1 Corinthians 9:9; Hebrews 10:28.

3 The Bible doesn’t provide an exact number of laws given to Israel, but Jewish tradition holds there were 613.

14 thoughts on “Introducing the Principle & Expression Framework

  1. Jeremy S

    So if I understand what you are saying about thr expression changing we are not under the law anymore but under grace we can sin all we want? Doesn’t Paul address that by saying grace is no reason to keep sinning?
    I mean if we are no longer under a law then we don’t have to follow it then,right?
    Because I was shown grace by a judge then I am not under that law if i follow your framework.
    So let’s play that out.
    I don’t think the Haitian adultery law example shows what you are saying about “under a law” now that we have grace through Christ.
    In my town there are posted speed limits on the streets. If I am a licensed driver I am under the law to not travel over the posted limit. If I do my acuser or police officer in this example brings me before the judge and says I was speeding. I am guilty of breaking the law. The judge is supposed to determine my guilt under the law and give me the penalty for breaking that law.
    In scripture it says the penalty of “Sin” is death. All sin…not just some or a bunch. One sin calls for death.
    So bless my stars the judge shows grace and says I don’t have to die for speeding. Now having been shown grace does that now mean I can speed all I want because I am now no longer under the law but under grace?
    Nope….still can’t speed but I now have a new advocate that has saved me from death…
    I love that judge. he says don’t break the law but now you dont have to die if you do. Also, don’t use that as an excuse to speed all you want either
    My grace was and is not free.

    I am praying for you Mr. Solberg.

    The Law is not just about sacrificial temple things but he gave the law as a loving way to keep us on the road…read his love story without man’s traditions and viewpoint. The God of the Universe gave his instruction for life. It is not a burden or to dificult.

    1. R. L. Solberg

      Hi Jeremy. I hope you were being tongue-in-cheek when you suggested we can sin all we want. Maybe you missed the part where I said “There exists a set of perfect principles grounded in God that never change.” The “laws” of God that run the universe and define right and wrong were true long before the Law of Moses was given. So when God commands us not to murder today, it’s not because of the Ten Commandments. It’s because of His universal principle against murder. Long before God gave Israel the Law of Moses, Cain was judged for murdering his brother Abel (Gen 4:8-16). Same thing with sexual morality. Under the New Covenant, God doesn’t forbid adultery because of the Ten Commandments. Unfaithfulness and sexual immorality were wrong long before the Law of Moses, as we see, for example, in the story of Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen 18-19). Because mankind was made in God’s image, we have a compass of objective morality, so to speak, baked into our human DNA. And God’s moral “laws” have not changed under the New Covenant.
      Shalom, Rob

      1. Dave

        I just found you Rob!
        Loving your writings… Thanks 🙏
        God’s law is in every heart… This isn’t Moses law but the undercurrent of God heart teachings…
        Romans 1:20 (NKJV)
        20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.
        Romans 2:14-15 (NKJV) 4 for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, 15 who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them)

        1. R. L. Solberg

          Thank you, Dave!

        2. Eric L

          Hi Dave,

          Unfortunately God’s Law is not in every heart. You seem to be conflating the unrighteous idol worshippers of chapter 1 who know “what can be known about God” through creation (general revelation), with the righteous gentiles of chapter 2 who are both hearers and doers of the Law. Here is a verse breakdown of the attributes Paul ascribes to the two different groups.

          Ungodly and unrighteous men:
          *Have been shown by God what can be known about him through creation alone (1:19, 20)
          *Clearly see God’s invisible attributes (1:20)
          *Understand God’s invisible attributes by observing creation (1:20)
          *Have no excuse to ignore God’s eternal power and Godhead (1:20)
          *Do not honor or give thanks to God (1:21)

          Certain gentiles:
          *Will be justified because they are “doers of the Law” (2:13)
          *Do not “have the Law” (in the same way the Jews do? 2:14, 18, 20)
          *Do the things in the Law “by nature”
          *Are a Law to themselves when they do what the Law requires (2:14)
          *Show the Law is written on their hearts (2:15)
          *Have their conscience and thoughts guding them as they obey the Law (2:15)
          *Will be judged by God on “that day” (2:16)

          All men:
          *Will have rendered to them by God according to their works (2:6)
          *Those who seek glory and honor by patiently doing well will receive life eternal (v. 7)
          *Those who do not obey the truth and righteousness will receive wrath and fury (2:7-8)

          Blessings,
          Eric

  2. Jeremy S

    Yes there was tongue and cheek but you are missing my point that universalism is not part of my point. Yes, there is a theme with his instructions that murder is wrong and adultery is wrong. Those were both considered wrong in the societies that God told the isrelities to take over. The difference was what God told the Isrealites to do to separate themselves with. To make themselves Holy as he was Holy. His word, the scriptures, is what separates us from the world. His standards are what He calls us to live by to shine a light on the world. Just because death was taken through Messiah does not exclude the Law. He came to fulfill the death penalty. Not one jot or tittle will be removed. The Law was never given to bring salvation rather it was given to show salvation in Him was needed. Faith in what Yahweh says is credited to us righteousness as life for a life. It’s the essence of Hebrews which you quote. Once and for all the penalty for Sin was given so that we may obey the Father and his precepts and ordinances.
    You are a very intelligent man and I do not doubt your faith in Messiah. Reconcile Ezekiel and Jeremiah when they state that the Two houses will become one in the end days. That we will worship the Messiah and be taught by Him with no other teacher. The Truth will stand when all else has burned up.
    Shalom

    1. Jeremy S

      See concepts like doesn’t even an evil man not give his son a snake? Don’t make your concepts of right or wrong by universalism. Use all scripture to determine evil from good and right from wrong.
      You will need this line of demarcation in the end. Isaiah 5:20

  3. Jeremy S

    And as for the Law of so and so was not given due to the 10 Commandments. The word was there from the beginning. To say just because it was written down when Moses wrote it discredites John. In the beginning was the word….
    Right? It’s always been there. How else would anyone without the actual book know Yahweh? Or know about Messiah? The Spirit speaks to us the truth. Our words mean nothing really. His truth will settle our debate.

    Shalom,
    Jeremy

    1. R. L. Solberg

      I’m not sure what you mean by “universalism,” Jeremy. That’s not what I’m talking about at all. The Law of Moses (which includes the ten commandments) was not given until 430 years after Abraham (Gal 3:17). And yet murder has been wrong since the very beginning.
      John 1:1 “In the beginning was the word…” (John 1:1). The “word” John is talking about is Jesus, not the law. “..and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (John 1:14).
      There are two ways that people without the actual book could know Yahweh. First, God is evident to everyone through His creation. “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse” (Rom 1:20). And second, through direct revelation. God talked directly with Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses and others. In addition, people instinctively know right from wrong because we are made in God’s image. A sense of morality is baked into every human conscience.
      Shalom, Rob

  4. Sheryl Redmond

    *Key: “seemingly contradictory”

    Acts 17:
    11Now these were more noble than those in Thessalonike, who received the word with great eagerness, and searched the Scriptures daily, if these words were so.

    Comparing scripture with scripture:

    Psalm 1:
    1Blessed is the man who shall not walk in the counsel of the wrong, And shall not stand in the path of sinners, And shall not sit in the seat of scoffers,
    2But his delight is in the Torah of יהוה, And he meditates in His Torah day and night.
    3For he shall be as a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That yields its fruit in its season, And whose leaf does not wither, And whatever he does prospers.
    4The wrong are not so, But are like the chaff which the wind blows away.
    5Therefore the wrong shall not rise in the judgment, Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
    6For יהוה knows the way of the righteous, But the way of the wrong comes to naught.

    Isaiah 24:
    5For the earth has been defiled under its inhabitants, because they have transgressed the Torot, changed the law, broken the everlasting covenant.

    16From the ends of the earth we shall hear songs, “Splendour to the Righteous One!” But I say, “I waste away, I waste away! Woe to me! The treacherous betray, with treachery the treacherous betray.”

    Isaiah 29:
    13And יהוה says, “Because this people has drawn near with its mouth, and with its lips they have esteemed Me, and it has kept its heart far from Me, and their fear of Me has become
    a command of men that is taught!
    14“Therefore, see, I am again doing a marvellous work among this people, a marvellous work and a wonder. And the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their clever men shall be hidden.”

    22Therefore thus said יהוה, who ransomed Aḇraham, concerning the house of Ya‛aqoḇ, “Ya‛aqoḇ is no longer put to shame, no longer does his face grow pale.
    23“For when he sees his children, the work of My hands, in his midst, they shall set apart My Name, and set apart the Set-apart One of Ya‛aqoḇ, and fear the Elohim of Yisra’ĕl.
    24“And those who went astray in spirit
    shall come to understanding, and the grumblers accept instruction.”

    Ephesians 2:
    13But now in Messiah יהושע you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of the Messiah.
    14For He is our peace, who has made both one, and having broken down the partition of the barrier,
    15having abolished in His flesh the enmity – the torah of the commands in dogma – so as to create in Himself one renewed man from the two, thus making peace,
    16and to completely restore to favour both of them unto Elohim in one body through the stake, having destroyed the enmity by it.
    17And having come, He brought as Good News peace to you who were far off, and peace to those near.
    18Because through Him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.

    Isaiah 11:
    12And He shall raise a banner for the nations, and gather the outcasts of Yisra’ĕl, and assemble the dispersed of Yehuḏah from the four corners of the earth.
    13And the envy of Ephrayim shall turn aside, and the adversaries of Yehuḏah be
    cut off. Ephrayim shall not envy Yehuḏah,
    and Yehuḏah not trouble Ephrayim.

    Ephesians 3:
    6The nations to be co-heirs, united in the same body, and partakers together in the promise in Messiah through the Good News,
    7of which I became a servant according to the gift of the favour of Elohim given to me, according to the working of His power.

    Colossians 2:
    20If, then, you died with Messiah from
    the elementary matters of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to dogmas:
    21“Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle” –
    22which are all to perish with use – according to the commands and teachings of men?
    23These indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed worship, humiliation and harsh treatment of the body – of no value at all, only for satisfaction of the flesh.

    Matthew 15:
    15“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees,
    hypocrites! Because you go about the land and the sea to win one convert, and when he is won, you make him a son of GĕHinnom twofold more than yourselves.

    Matthew 15:
    1Then there came to יהושע scribes and Pharisees from Yerushalayim, saying,
    2Why do Your taught ones transgress
    the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread.
    3But He answering, said to them, “Why do you also transgress the command of Elohim because of your tradition?
    4“For Elohim has commanded, saying, ‘Respect your father and your mother,’ and, ‘He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.’
    5“But you say, ‘Whoever says to his father or mother, “Whatever profit you might have received from me has been dedicated,”
    6is certainly released from respecting his father or mother.’ So you have nullified the command of Elohim by your tradition.
    7“ Hypocrites! Yeshayahu rightly prophesied about you, saying,
    8‘This people draw near to Me with their mouth, and respect Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me.
    9‘But in vain do they worship Me, teaching as teachings the commands of men.’ ”
    10And calling the crowd near, He said to them, “Hear and understand:
    11“Not that which goes into the mouth defiles the man, but that which comes out of
    the mouth, this defiles the man.
    12Then His taught ones came and said to Him, “Do You know that the Pharisees stumbled when they heard this word?”
    13But He answering, said, “Every plant which My heavenly Father has not planted shall be uprooted.
    14“Leave them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both shall fall into a ditch.

    Return to Psalm 1:3

  5. Eric L

    Agreed: “The Principle & Expression framework offers a significant degree of explanatory power in reconciling difficult and seemingly contradictory passages in Scripture.” You do a great job of explaing it, too.

    Luckily, the P&E principle is not needed to reconcile the controversies that have been “read into” the Word to make these Scriptures:
    Ps 1:2
    Ps 19:7-8
    Ps 119:111-113

    . . .appear to contradict these Scriptures:
    Rom 7:6
    Eph 2:15
    Rom 6:14

    It is much simpler than that:

    Romans 7 – Under the New Covenant the law is written on our hearts by the spirit, not confined to the inferior law written on stones. We obey the law with holy-spirit empowerment and not in the old way. The biblical HALLMARK of the New Covenant is the Torah – but not in the old way – yay!

    Ephesians 2 – Not referring to the written Torah but to the two-tier caste system between Jews and Gentiles established the oral tradition and the commandments of the Judaioi. This is a well-known explanation apart from Hebrew Rotos teachers, or I thought it was – I was taught this 25 years ago in intro to NT anyway, standard evangelical school, and have read it in multiple “usual” places since.

    Romans 6 – In the context of Romans chapters 5-8, the thrust of the argument, after explaining the relationship between sin, flesh, and the law is: “For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do” (8:3). Now, through the 2nd Adam, the righteous requirement of the law are now met in those of us who appropriate the sacrifice through faith. Now our minds are set on the Spirit, life, and peace; we now have a new relationship with God and his law – one of LIFE, not DEATH!

    “For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot do so” (8:7). We, on the other hand, do not live by the flesh any longer and are no longer under the penalty of the law (DEATH), and CAN happily submit to God’s law.

    “But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed” (6:17). To what standard of teaching were they committed? I’ll give you three guesses, and the first two don’t count!

  6. darcymckee

    Thank you, Dr. Solberg, for articulating a premise that I have been trying to articulate myself for the better part of a year. In our micro-church we mostly deal with believers or former believers of Word of Faith theology. They make many of the same mistakes, for the same reasons, as our Torah Keeping brothers and sisters. I shared this article last weekend with our group and many lightbulbs went on.

    On another note, I stumbled on to your work only recently and wouldn’t you know, a lady reached out to us last week that her husband is dabbling in Torah Keeping. I am extremely grateful that you have taken the time to develop this apologetic framework for reconciling the Torah between the two testaments. God has me moving down the road of Old Testament scholarship, so I understand how much time and study you have put into this endeavor.

    God bless you and your family and may God continue to guide your work.

    1. R. L. Solberg

      Thank you, Darcy!
      Blessings to you, Rob

  7. Jason Jones

    Hi R.L.! Love your stuff -thank you for putting the work in to do all this for the body of Christ. I purchased you book “Torahism” as well. We have some dear friends who have fallen into the more extreme strains of Torahism, and I hope to perhaps reason with them so as to bring them back in line with the truth of Scripture, and hopefully save our friendship in the process. I have a question about this article. Where did you learn this? I believe this is a true thing, I just wonder where I can reference this outside of your work (like to do more study myself on it), though your work is certainly fit for referencing!

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