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The ordinance of God?
The word ordinance is defined today as "a piece of legislation enacted by a municipal authority." But when we see the term in the Bible it may have been used in a different sense.

The first place we see the term in the New Testament is Luke 1:6

And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances [1] of the Lord blameless.

The word here is dikaioma which is translated ordinance three times[2] but four times[3] it is translated righteousness.

It is also translated judgment twice[4]. It is even translated justification once[5] in Romans 5:16 where the word judgment had already appeared from the word krima [6]

The next time we see the word Ordinance in the Bible it is translated from a different Greek word diatage [7] which actually means disposition[8] or arrangement.

Romans 13:2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.

It should be clear that the appearance of the word ordinance in the Bible does not have to mean "a piece of legislation enacted by a municipal authority."

So again another word is used the third time we see the word ordinance in the Bible which is paradosis [9]

1 Corinthians 11:2 Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you.

The word paradosis is normally translated traditions a dozen times[10] It is from the word paradidomi [11] which means to give into the hands (of another) and commonly translated deliver or betray. This word paradosis is probably closest to our modern use of the word ordinance.

There is still another word sometimes translated ordinance which is dogma [12] which can mean a public decree by a ruler like a king or Senate or government authority but is also defined as a doctrine which should normally mean teaching.

Ephesians 2:15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;

The word appears five times[13] in the Biblical text. Twice it references the decrees of Caesar in Luke 2:1 and Acts 17:7 and once the decrees of the Apostles Acts 16:4 but the apostles were forbidden to exercise authority one over the other like the Benefactors of the world. It should be clear that the apostles did not enforce their decrees like Caesar enforced his because Christ ordained a different kind of government or kingdom.

This is why we see in Colossians 2:14 that Jesus blotted out the handwriting of ordinances for true Christians who followed Christ in their hearts and in their minds.

Colossians 2:14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;

Here is where we come to another Greek word dogmatizo [14] which is from that word dogma and translated "subject to ordinances".

Colossians 2:20 Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances,

Here we might want to examine the word which also appears as rudiments and Elements.

Finally we find one more word translated ordinance which is in 1 Peter 2:13 "Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme;"

The word is ktisis [15] appears in 12 verses as creature[16], and creation 6 times[17] and even building once[18] and of course ordinances in 1 Peter 2:13 but means something you establish or create by agreements or contracts such as institutions like civil municipalities.

1 Peter 2:13 Submit yourselves to every ordinance <2937> of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme;


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  1. 1345 ~δικαίωμα~ dikaioma \@dik-ah’-yo-mah\@ from 1344; n n AV-righteousness 4, ordinance 3, judgment 2, justification 1; 10
    1) that which has been deemed right so as to have force of law
    1a) what has been established, and ordained by law, an ordinance
    1b) a judicial decision, sentence
    1b1) of God
    1b1a) either the favourable judgment by which he acquits man and declares them acceptable to Him
    1b1b) unfavourable: sentence of condemnation
    2) a righteous act or deed
  2. Of course Luke 1:6 but also Hebrews 9:1 Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances <1345> of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary.
    Hebrews 9:10 Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances <1345>, imposed on them until the time of reformation.
  3. : Romans 2:26 Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness <1345> of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision?
    Romans 5:18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness <1345> of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.
    Romans 8:4 That the righteousness <1345> of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
    Revelation 19:8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness <1345> of saints.
  4. : Romans 1:32 Who knowing the judgment <1345> of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
    Revelation 15:4 Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments <1345> are made manifest.
  5. : Romans 5:16 And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification <1345>.
  6. 2917 ~κρίμα~ krima \@kree’-mah\@ from 2919; n n AV-judgment 13, damnation 7, condemnation 5, be condemned 1, go to law + 2192 1, avenge + 2919 1; 28
    1) a decree, judgments
    2) judgment
    2a) condemnation of wrong, the decision (whether severe or mild) which one passes on the faults of others
    2b) in a forensic sense
    2b1) the sentence of a judge
    2b2) the punishment with which one is sentenced
    2b3) condemnatory sentence, penal judgment, sentence
    3) a matter to be judicially decided, a lawsuit, a case in court
  7. 1296 ~διαταγή~ diatage \@dee-at-ag-ay’\@ from 1299; n f AV-disposition 1, ordinance 1; 2 1) a disposition, arrangement, ordinance
  8. Acts 7:53 Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept [it].
  9. 3862 ~παράδοσις~ paradosis \@par-ad’-os-is\@ from 3860; n f AV-tradition 12, ordinance 1; 13
    1) giving up, giving over
    1a) the act of giving up
    1b) the surrender of cities
    2) a giving over which is done by word of mouth or in writing, i.e. tradition by instruction, narrative, precept, etc.
    2a) objectively, that which is delivered, the substance of a
    2b) of the body of precepts, esp. ritual, which in the opinion of the later Jews were orally delivered by Moses and orally transmitted in unbroken succession to subsequent generations, which precepts, both illustrating and expanding the written law, as they did were to be obeyed with equal reverence
  10. Matthew 15:2 Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition <3862> of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread.
    Matthew 15:3 But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition <3862>?
    Matthew 15:6 And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition <3862>.
    Mark 7:3 For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition <3862> of the elders.
    Mark 7:5 Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition <3862> of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands?
    Mark 7:8 For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition <3862> of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.
    Mark 7:9 And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition <3862>.
    Mark 7:13 Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition <3862>, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.
    1 Corinthians 11:2 Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances <3862>, as I delivered them to you.
    Galatians 1:14 And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions <3862> of my fathers.
    Colossians 2:8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition <3862> of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
    2 Thessalonians 2:15 Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions <3862> which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.
    2 Thessalonians 3:6 Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition <3862> which he received of us.
  11. 3860 ~παραδίδωμι~ paradidomi \@par-ad-id’-o-mee\@ from 3844 and 1325; v AV-deliver 53, betray 40, deliver up 10, give 4, give up 4, give over 2, commit 2, misc 6; 121 1) to give into the hands (of another) 2) to give over into (one’s) power or use 2a) to deliver to one something to keep, use, take care of, manage 2b) to deliver up one to custody, to be judged, condemned, punished, scourged, tormented, put to death 2c) to deliver up treacherously 2c1) by betrayal to cause one to be taken 2c2) to deliver one to be taught, moulded 3) to commit, to commend 4) to deliver verbally 4a) commands, rites 4b) to deliver by narrating, to report 5) to permit allow 5a) when the fruit will allow that is the time when its ripeness permits 5b) gives itself up, presents itself
  12. 1378 ~δόγμα~ dogma \@dog’-mah\@ from the base of 1380; n n AV-decree 3, ordinance 2; 5
    1) doctrine, decree, ordinance
    1a) of public decrees
    1b) of the Roman Senate
    1c) of rulers
    2) the rules and requirements of the law of Moses; carrying a suggestion of severity and of threatened judgment
    3) of certain decrees of the apostles relative to right living
  13. Luke 2:1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree <1378> from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.
    Acts 16:4 And as they went through the cities, they delivered them the decrees <1378> for to keep, that were ordained of the apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem.
    Acts 17:7 Whom Jason hath received: and these all do contrary to the decrees <1378> of Caesar, saying that there is another king, one Jesus.
    Ephesians 2:15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances <1378>; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;
    Colossians 2:14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances <1378> that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;
  14. 1379 ~δογματίζω~ dogmatizo \@dog-mat-id’-zo\@ from 1378; v AV-be subject to ordinances 1; 1 1) to decree, command, enjoin, lay down an ordinance
  15. 2937 ~κτίσις~ ktisis \@ktis’-is\@ from 2936; n f AV-creature 11, creation 6, building 1, ordinance 1; 19
    1) the act of founding, establishing, building etc
    1a) the act of creating, creation
    1b) creation i.e. thing created
    1b1) of individual things, beings, a creature, a creation
    1b1a) anything created
    1b1b) after a rabbinical usage (by which a man converted from idolatry to Judaism was called)
    1b1c) the sum or aggregate of things created
    1c) institution, ordinance</Ref> which is also translated creature 11 times
  16. Mark 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature <2937>.
    Romans 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation <2937> of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
    Romans 1:25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature <2937> more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
    Romans 8:19 For the earnest expectation of the creature <2937> waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. Romans 8:20 For the creature <2937> was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, Romans 8:21 Because the creature <2937> itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
    Romans 8:39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature <2937>, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
    2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature <2937>: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
    Galatians 6:15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature <2937>.
    Colossians 1:15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature <2937>:
    Colossians 1:23 If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature <2937> which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;
    Hebrews 4:13 Neither is there any creature <2937> that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.
  17. Mark 10:6 But from the beginning of the creation <2937> God made them male and female.
    Mark 13:19 For in those days shall be affliction, such as was not from the beginning of the creation <2937> which God created unto this time, neither shall be.
    Romans 8:22 For we know that the whole creation <2937> groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.
    2 Peter 3:4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation <2937>.
    Revelation 3:14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation <2937> of God;
  18. : Hebrews 9:11 But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building <2937>;

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