What Does the Bible Say About..? Logo

What Does the Bible Say About..Spirit of the Law?

What does the bible say about the "spirit of the law" philosophy, where one says you can break the rules if you know what the rulemaker intended and are not hurting him/her or anybody else. A few examples would be driving 5 miles over the speed limit or lying about your age online to get access to certain conveniences.

Answer

In most people it would be very presumptuous of them to say they knew what the lawmaker intended if it isnít what the law says. Unless the persons who made the law specifically say they intended something else, we have to assume the law says what they intended. Even if they intended something else, however, the law is what exists, not the intention. Therefore, all we can do is follow the law as stated. This is not a biblical principle; it is a principle of law. The Bible does say, however, that we are supposed to obey the laws (Romans 13:1-10). This would be the law as written, regardless of the intent of the person who wrote it.

The examples you give have nothing to do with the concept of what the lawmakers intended. The clear intent of the speed limit is given in the sign expressing it. If the speed limit is 65, then that is the clear intent, not 70. If it is not enforced for five miles over that says nothing about the intent of the law but the laxness of the law enforcers. The clear, and stated, intent of age limits on certain sites is that someone who is not of that specific age not be given access to the site. Therefore, lying about oneís age is going against the intent of the law. Even if one could justify following the intent, these examples would be wrong. (And now that I will post this for everyone to see, I had better be more careful about following the speed limit.)