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Principles of Conduct: Aspects of Biblical Ethics Paperback – July 17, 1957


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company (July 17, 1957)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802811442
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802811448
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #297,867 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

(1898-1975) John Murray was born in Scotland, educated in Glasgow, Edinburgh, and Princeton, and spent most of his distinguished career teaching systematic theology at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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Customer Reviews

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Extremely well written, recommended to anyone.
R Campbell Sproul
This truth infuses obedient love into the believer's heart, by the power and person of the Holy Spirit, through faith.
Mike Robinson
Though the implications are deep, Murray writes in a way that is so logical that it is very easy to understand.
Sean J. Whitenack

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Sean J. Whitenack on July 21, 2001
Format: Paperback
The biggest problem with books like Principles of Conduct is that they are so good, so full, and so rich, that the each principle written about is so easily forgotten when the next principle is elucidated. I realized that this had happened to me as, when I was almost finished with the book, I skimmed over the pages I had read just days previously and discovered that I wished I had time to read it again. The book is completely biblical. One look at the scripture index will quickly show that Murray's use of scripture is pervasive. This is not a book where Murray expresses his opinion about various topics, but is a book where the issues of biblical ethics are soundly dealt with from the primary source - the Bible itself. In this light I found that (of all the strong aspects of this book) the strongest characteristic to be the sound exegesis of often-mistranslated passages of scripture such as Matthew 5, 1 Corinthians 7 and 9, and Romans 6.
The description on the back of the book mentions, "Though the Ten Commandments furnish the core of the biblical ethic, Murray points the reader again and again to all of Scripture as the basic authority in matters of Christian conduct." The Ten Commandments are not explicitly dealt with in this book, but the ethical considerations that begin in creation and continue through the time of Christ and His church are explained. The methodology of discovering God's continuing revelation to mankind is known as biblical theology and Murray is a model for Christian theologians in this method. Murray is showing that the Ten Commandments were not a new thing God decided to mention at Sinai, but are rooted in the nature of God's creation. The Ten Commandments were neither new at creation, nor did they cease to be valid after the coming of Jesus Christ.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mike Robinson on March 1, 2010
Format: Paperback
Scottish born John Murray (1898-1975) was a professor of systematic theology at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, rightly esteemed as one of the most exceptional Reformed theologians of the 20th century. He studied under J. Gresham Machen at Princeton Theological Seminary. In "Principles of Conduct: Aspects of Biblical Ethics" Murray discusses ethical issues such as:

- Marriage
- Divorce
- Capital punishment
- Lying and deception
- The Sermon on the Mount
- Law and Grace.

Professor Murray guides the reader to the Bible and the Decalogue as the indispensable foundation to discern proper Christian conduct and morals.

The author insists on a clear distinction between the law of God and grace provided by the Gospel of Christ. Hence a Christian is saved and perseveres by grace alone as he obeys God's word because he IS saved and desires to please the Lord. The "truth is that if law is conceived of as contributing in the least degree towards our acceptance with God and our justification by him, then the gospel is" nullified (p. 182).

I would personally assert: Our epistemological means of discerning what is good and right is found in the Bible. That is our authority and our guide. Man is not the standard. Reason is not the standard. Pragmatism is not the standard. And utilitarianism is not the standard. Why? Because only the Bible can provide a standard based on an all-knowing and unchanging being, God. The standard must be based on an immutable and omniscient source or ethics could change. Only an all-knowing being could make laws that should be universally applied to all men at all times. If moral laws were based on finite humanity: lying and murder could be good.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By theologicalresearcher on July 20, 2005
Format: Paperback
Any book by John Murray is a reliable source for sound biblical Reformed theology. In this book, Murray expounds ethics from a conservative evangelical Reformed perspective. Though many postmodern, neo-orthodox, postliberal, or moderate Christians will find Murray's positions outdated he admirably does a good job sticking to Scripture even if the view he expounds is distasteful to modern sensibilities (for instance, Murray's take on slavery). The great thing about this book is that it is not only theological but also practical. He deals with ethical issues that are very pertinant to how Christians are to live in this sinful world. The topics he treats include such things as marriage, work, preservation of life, and speaking the truth. He also give us an explanation of the meaning of the Sermon on the Mount (chap. 7) and how law and grace are related (chap. 8). Many lay Christians will find these chapters very relevant to their Christian existence on earth.

Having said that, Murray's understanding of the relationship between the law and gospel is questionable. It appears that Murray knocks down the wall that divides the law and gospel (a position that has been held by Protestants for the last 500 years). In fact, in one place Murray espouses the traditional Reformed view of the law and gospel: "The simple truth is that if law is conceived of as contributing in the least degree towards our acceptance with God and our justification by him, then the gospel of grace is a nullity" (p. 182). And then he later writes in the same chapter what seems to nullify his previous statement: "In all of this the demand of obedience in the Mosaic covenant is principally identical with the same demand in the new covenant of the gospel economy" (p. 199).
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