The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Law & gospel both necessary

Scripture leads us to God in fear, in love

When Lutherans talk about Scripture as “law and gospel,” we are referring to the effect or impact of the Bible on human lives.

This month, on March 15, we will read the story of God giving the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17). In his Small Catechism, Martin Luther discusses each of the Ten Commandments by saying, “We are to fear and love God, so that ....”

It may be helpful to think of law and gospel this way: the Bible functions as law when it causes us to fear God, and it functions as gospel when it causes us to love God. When we do both—fear and love God—we are able to tackle all the “so that’s” included in Luther’s catechism.

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