Biblical Foundations of Law Series 1: Biblical Basics on Human Authority


The Biblical Foundations of Law studies are intended to provide you with accessible Bible studies on topics of interest to law students and professionals who are seeking to understand the law from a biblical perspective.

After reading the brief scriptural passage (perhaps with a couple of different translations available in the group to add nuances of meaning), use the questions as prods for discussion. Please add your own questions, because the concerns and interests of each study group are different. In some cases, leader's notes are provided to help guide the conversation.

Some discussion "Do's":

  1. Do resist the temptation to make Bible study a mere intellectual inquiry or to parade your finely tuned analytical skills.
  2. Do provoke each other into finding concrete ways to apply and incorporate scriptural insights into your lives.
  3. Do commit yourselves to encouraging each other to stick to these commitments through friendship and prayer.

We're grateful to the Christian Legal Society for sharing these studies with us.


First read Genesis 4:8-16.

  1. What is the fear that Cain voices in verse 14?
  2. Why would he have this fear? (Consider, for example, verse 11).
  3. How does God respond to Cain's fear?

Next read Genesis 9:1-7.

  1. What is God communicating to Noah in this passage?
  2. Does it bring to mind similar passages in other parts of Scripture?
  3. What instruction does Noah receive about those who shed another human's blood? What is the basis for this instruction?
  4. Has the human role in punishment from murder changed since the time of Cain?

Now read Romans 12:14-13:7.

  1. What is Paul communicating in the passage from Romans 12? To whom is he speaking? What problems might he be addressing?
  2. What is the point of the passage from chapter 13? Contrast it with the passage from the end of 12. What are the interesting parallels?
  3. It appears that the "ruler" in 13:4 is carrying out "vengeance" or "wrath" on other human beings. How does that square with Romans 12:19?

Can we draw any broad conclusions about the source of human law from these passages?

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