Leviticus can seem an alien and forbidding book, full of strange regulations which it is hard to make sense of, let alone find contemporary applications for. The New Testament declares that many of the laws in Leviticus have been made obsolete with the coming of Christ (see Mk. 7:19; Heb. 10:18). But Leviticus is part of the Old Testament Scriptures which by the Lord Jesus told his disciples to study and live out (Matt. 5:17-20). We cannot ignore Leviticus, therefore.
This overview aims to address some of the problems Christians have in reading Leviticus. It sets Leviticus within the narrative framework of the Pentateuch, and goes through the different sections of Leviticus, suggesting how the teaching of the whole book hangs together. It considers different ways of understanding Leviticus’s teaching regarding holiness, noting the importance of two key themes: ‘graded holiness’ and ‘order vs disorder’.
Other topics to be considered are: sacrifice; clean/unclean; atonement and purification/integrity. The overall question addressed in this overview and in the sermon series with which it is linked is: what is the Christian meaning of Leviticus?
View the talk by Dr Philip Satterthwaite, held via Zoom on 19 July 2021.