The word torah is a commonly used Hebrew word in the Old Testament and is often translated as law.
The New Testament uses the Greek, nomos, (law) to translate torah. Torah means ‘direction’ or ‘guidance’. Because the Bible is a record of God’s relationship with humans, law in the Bible generally refers to all of God’s instructions to His people. Because God Himself is good and righteous, and guides and instructs His people in goodness and righteousness, we rightly assume that His law reveals His goodness and righteousness. Or, as we like to say, the law is a reflection of God’s character.
It is by way of the Bible that God has explicitly revealed Himself to humankind. As one reads through the sacred texts, one comes across an abundance of materials that are, basically, directions or instructions that cover many aspects of human life: morality, ethics, health, sexuality, diet, work, et cetera. Some of these instructions are clearly universal; others appear to be more limited in time and scope. But because all of them are God’s instructions (torah), the greatest care is needed in the development of principles that help us to understand what is universal and what is limited. Seventh-day Adventists and many other Christian groups generally make a distinction between ‘ceremonial’ laws (regulations that teach the plan of salvation by symbols and ritual practices), ‘civil’ laws (instructions regarding the community life of the nation of ancient Israel), and ‘moral’ laws (instructions of God’s pattern of conduct for humanity).
The book of Leviticus contains a great deal of ceremonial laws, especially with regard to the sanctuary service and its ritual system. The nature of civil laws and the principle of justice underlying them can be seen, for example, in Exodus 23:1-9. Then there is the moral law, the Ten Commandments, which most Christians (in theory at least) believe are still God’s law for all humanity.
Look through Exodus 23:1-9. What universal moral principles can we take from what was given specifically to ancient Israel?