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Thy Will Be Done

The Ten Commandments and the Christian Life

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This short, accessible, but theologically substantive volume unfolds the significance of the Ten Commandments for the Christian life.

Gilbert Meilaender, one of today's leading Christian ethicists, shows that one of the best and historically most influential ways to think about the Christian life has been to examine that life in terms of the Ten Commandments. Meilaender places the commandments in the larger context of the biblical history of salvation, from creation, to the healing Christ brings, to the hoped-for redemption at the end of time.

According to Meilaender, the commandments invite us to think about five ways in which our lives are bound together: in marriage, in families, in the gift of life we share, in possessions, and in the spoken word. But the commandments also require that we wrestle with how all of these human loves and ties should relate to the first and great commandment: to love God above all else. As he approaches the Decalogue from this perspective, Meilaender helps Christians learn what it means to say, "Thy will be done."

1. The Law of Christ
2. The Marriage Bond
3. The Family Bond
4. The Life Bond
5. The Possessions Bond
6. The Speech Bond
7. The Great and First Commandment


"Many fine commentaries have been written on the Ten Commandments, and Gilbert Meilaender has made an excellent contribution to this collection. But what sets this book apart from the others is that it provides a prism on the Christian moral life more broadly. Each chapter illumines aspects of the gospel as command, invitation, and grace. As always, Meilaender writes in a compelling, engaging, and insightful manner."

Brent Waters, Stead Professor of Christian Social Ethics, director, Stead Center for Ethics and Values, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary

"This little book on a familiar topic is full of enduring questions and bracing insights, of piquant definitions and memorable lines that lift and nerve the heart. Meilaender offers an interpretation of the Decalogue that is focused on the bonds that sustain human life and community, and presents it as God's gift to us, giving shape to a life of love."

Sondra Wheeler, Wesley Theological Seminary

"Gilbert Meilaender is among the few master theologians at work today. Brilliantly and constructively Lutheran, freely at odds with Catholic teachings on this or that matter, Meilaender at the same time draws deeply from the moral teachings of Pope John Paul II and the Catechism of the Catholic Church. There are few things more worth doing than pondering the Decalogue, and few theologians more worth doing it with than Meilaender."

Matthew Levering, James N. Jr. and Mary D. Perry Chair of Theology, Mundelein Seminary

"This book is what we have come to expect from Gilbert Meilaender: clarity and elegance in expression, engagingly plotted chapters, rich with wise illustration. This is serious theological reflection, and always with a concern to relate the commandments of God to our lives before him today. It takes a master to cover this well-worn territory and show us fresh light. Thy Will Be Done has done just this."

Christopher R. Seitz, senior research professor of biblical interpretation, Wycliffe College, University of Toronto

"Thy Will Be Done is not a volume of unbending legalism, but a mature meditation on the grace of law in the Ten Commandments by a seasoned servant of Christ. Gil Meilaender helps us better appreciate the bonds of love that unite us to God, life, family, marriage, and one another. Read this with an open heart and you'll be richly rewarded."

C. Ben Mitchell, Graves Professor of Moral Philosophy, Union University

The Author

  1. Gilbert Meilaender

    Gilbert Meilaender

    Gilbert Meilaender (PhD, Princeton University) is senior research professor at Valparaiso University in Valparaiso, Indiana. He was a Ramsey Fellow at the Center for Ethics and Culture, University of Notre Dame, from 2014 to 2018. He has written numerous...

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