An important term in the New Testament is the Greek word nomos which the King James Version translates law in all of its 195 occurrences. However, this term conveys a wider range of meaning in the New Testament than many people realize, including the following:
1. law in general
2. the normal order of things
3. the guidelines God gave people so they could enjoy a better life
4. the traditions which contradict God’s guidelines
5. the Pentateuch (first five books of the Old Testament)
6. the Old Testament as a whole
7. the teachings of Christ
In Paul’s letter to the Romans, he uses this term 67 times to convey several of these meanings in various contexts. The problem with translating the term as law in every instance is that the reader may apply a meaning that Paul did not intend. The reader might even conclude that Paul contradicts himself, since in Romans 7:6 he says, we have been delivered from the law, implying that the law is bad, while in verse 12 he says, the law is holy, and in verse 16, the law is good.
In my translation of Romans in The Better Life Bible, I tried to clarify the meaning Paul intended for each context so the reader does not become confused. For example, I clarified that Paul’s remark in Romans 7:6 is a reference to delivering people from traditions which contradict God’s guidelines.