The Ten Commandments: Ethics for the twenty-first century by Mark Rooker is a good and quite concise look at the meaning of each of the ten commandments, comparing them to the laws of other nations, looking at the repetition(or the significance of their non-repetition) in the New Testament, their application in the lives of Christians and their significance, or comparison to our modern culture.
Have you ever wondered about the statement some people make, that other nations had laws similar to the ten commandments before the ten commandments were given out to Moses and Israel? I really liked Rooker's point about how the how the Ten commandments express God's eternal will, and how "This is known by the conviction of the human conscience but more explicitly by the ancient pagan law codes discovered in the Near East. Many of these law codes contain statutes similar to the Ten commandments which indicate their recognition of basic intrinsic moral values. Indeed, the law sin the Decalogue are not entirely new to Israel. The Bible presupposes a moral code long before the theophany on Mount Sinai. This is indicated in earlier biblical events such as the slaying of Abel by his brother Cain(Gen 4)…." This is also supported by Romans 2:15.
The rather intricate looks at each individual commandment were quite insightful, here are a couple of comments to demonstrate this: In his section on the 2nd commandment he comments: "Idolatry has never been connected to ethical behavior……Wrong thoughts about God lead to wrong behavior." And looking at the 3rd, taking the Lord's name in vain he states that, "This commandment addresses any insincere reference to the Lord, as His name is the revelation of His person. This would include offering praise or singing to God out of routine without any thought to what one is singing or praying."
Also, I really appreciate Rooker's explanation of how the ten commandments function in the lives of Christians, "It could be said that the law illuminates sanctification. It provides a guide for the believer to what is pleasing in God's sight."He explains that they functioned in a similar manner in the old testament, "Works have never been the instrument of salvation; they are the evidence of salvation. Obedience to the laws should be placed in the domain of sanctification rather than justification wherein by adherence to these laws a social distinction was maintained between the Israelites and the rest of the world."
There were some statements that I didn't quite agree with, but overall I liked it. It is interesting, well written and is a good overview of the moral law of God.
Many thanks to B&H publishing group for sending me a free review copy of this book. (My review did not have to be favorable)
This book may be purchased at Amazon