Imperatives in the Bible

Just because something is an imperative in Scripture doesn’t mean it’s a command to you and me. Always read the context.

Let everyone beware of his neighbor, and put no trust in any brother, for every brother is a deceiver, and every neighbor goes about as a slanderer. (Jer 9:4)

Likewise, just because something isn’t an imperative doesn’t mean it’s not a command to you and me. The moral examples of Jesus and Paul, especially, constitute a command: Go and do likewise!

When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. (Mat 9:36)

Mark Ward

PhD in NT; theological writer for Faithlife; former high school Bible textbook author for BJU Press; husband; father; ultimate frisbee player; member of the body of Christ.

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