What are the Noahide Laws?

by Matt Slick

The Noahide Laws are seven laws based on the words of God to Adam and Noah. They consist of six prohibitive laws given to Adam and Eve before The Fall, and one affirmative command given to Noah after The Flood. However, positive commands are derived from them all. Since mankind was wiped out in the flood, the Noahide Laws are for all people since all people are descendants of Noah. The Gentiles who adhere to these laws are considered righteous Gentiles.

Where do the seven Noahide Laws come from in the Bible?

The seven Noahide Laws are not explicitly listed in the Bible. Instead, they are derived according to the Talmud's interpretation of Genesis 2:16 given to Adam, and Genesis 9:4-6 given to Noah. The Talmud is a "Jewish literary collection of teachings, laws, and interpretations based on the Old Testament Torah. It has two parts, the Mishnah and that Gemera."1

The seven Noahide Laws are listed in different orders, but basically, they are as follows:

  1. Idolatry is forbidden
  2. Blasphemy is forbidden
  3. Murder is forbidden
  4. Theft is forbidden
  5. Sexual Immorality is forbidden
  6. Eating flesh of living animals is forbidden
  7. Justice laws

These seven laws are further subdivided. Following is a partial listing of those laws as derived from the seven Noahide Laws.

  1. Idolatry
    1. Must worship God alone
    2. Jesus cannot be worshipped since it is considered blasphemy2
    3. No idols or statues
    4. Do not bow before any statues or idols
    5. Do not offer sacrifices before any statues or idols
  2. Blasphemy
    1. Do not curse God
    2. Worship and pray to the true God alone
    3. Do not use God's name in vain
  3. Murder
    1. Against murdering anyone
    2. Self-defense is permitted
  4. Theft
    1. Do not steal
    2. Do not rob
    3. Do not overcharge
    4. Do not kidnap
    5. Do not move a landmark
    6. Do not use false weights and measurements
    7. Do not covet
  5. Sexual Immorality
    1. No incest
    2. No bestiality
    3. No homosexuality
  6. Eating flesh of living animals
    1. Prevention of animal cruelty
    2. Do not eat an animal while it is alive
    3. Do not eat the flesh of an animal torn by a wild animal
  7. Justice Laws
    1. Against bribery
    2. Against favoritism
    3. Against condemning the innocent
    4. Administer the death penalty
    5. Treat people equally before the law

The United States Congress recognized the Noahide Laws in 1991 when it passed the Education Day Bill.

"Whereas Congress recognizes the historical tradition of ethical values and principles which are the basis of civilized society and upon which our great Nation was founded; Whereas these ethical values and principles have been the bedrock of society from the dawn of civilization, when they were known as the Seven Noahide Laws"3

  • 1. carm.org/what-is-the-talmud
  • 2. Of course, the prohibition against the worship of Christ is from the Jewish perspective, not the Christian one.
  • 3. 102nd Congress of the United States of America, March 5, 1991.

About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.