Can the Ten Commandments be referred to as the precepts of the Lord?
The Ten Commandments (save for the dietary laws, kashrut in Hebrew) really sum up the “categories” of the Law. We are still bound by the morality of Torah under the Law of Christ, not in itself. We are not, however, bound by the judicial and legalistic laws like avoidance in the eating of unclean animals or being obliged to stone a blasphemer.
The Seven Laws of Noah are a better way to sum it up in light of the Law of Christ, given in the Jewish Oral Torah, though not in the Bible.
However, the Law is for love and for God’s own purposes, it is not a Law unto itself (if God had not given it, it would simply be stately ordinances given by Israelite Jews to their descendants and to themselves):
For all the Law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. (Galatians 5:14, KJV)
I would think so. But I am no theologian.
We are released from the whole of the Law (Torah):
But 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. (Romans 7:6, ESV)
We are now under the Law of Christ, the New Covenant (Hebrews 8:8, etc). The Torah’s Law of the Old Covenant was summed up in the command of love (Galatians 5:14). We do not need to avoid unclean animals and we do not need to stone a blasphemer (anymore)…
We are certainly called to morality, and Paul gives some basic commands in Romans 13:1-10, saying that they are out of love.
So love is the law. Morality comes from God Who is Love (1 John 4:8). The Ten Commandments are good “categories” into which we may divide our morality as Christians.
However, the Seven Laws of Noah (from the Jewish Oral Torah) are more explicit and clear in their meaning and are said to apply universally to everyone in Judaism. The seventh is a biblical command, but it does not apply to us as individuals.
…the term precepts seems to imply a general rule to be followed (ie: if you’re going to drink, leave your car keys at home); this, in my estimation, comes quite short of Commandment–explicitly ordered to be complied with, no wiggle room for “choice” or alternative understanding (ie: don’t drink and drive).
This is an incomplete theological view, from the Catholic perspective, and seems to only hold credence if one subscribes to the doctrine of Sola Scriptura, which Catholics do not.
Actually, it could be argued that your perspective is not so much steeped in Sola Scriptura as it is an act of cherry picking, and more likely proof texting.
Scripture tells us several occasions that Christ did not come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it. And, the very precepts of the 10 Commandments are, as he told the scholar, are encapsulated in loving God and loving our neighbor…if we do that, we can go right down the list of the 10 Commandments and find by loving God and loving our neighbor we are keeping the 10 Commandments, which validates that they are still very much relevant rather than have been replaced.
Your perspective, with all charity, (and only in my perspective) denigrates the 10 Commandments to the 10 Suggestions, and from a salvation standpoint, that is a very dangerous proposition.
I’m aware, unfortunately, that this is dangerous territory from pretty much anyone’s perspective. They are commandments nonetheless, and divine ones overall. Abolished, not fulfilled, as well. But I did mention, however, that they are commands of love, which is the most important of the sort.
I need to read up on this more… :o