Should Christians Drive Below the Speed Limit?

Speed LimitAn honest question.

Comments 13

  1. I’ve been giving it a shot lately, and I actually like it. I don’t like the punks riding my tail, but that just needs to be let go. I found that the reason I used to speed is pride, especially in the sense of wanting to feel superior to other drivers.
    Also, there is the wonderful added benefit of sweet fuel savings. Driving at 35 in 35 zones saves a lot of gas; we squeezed 50 more miles out of our car.
    So I get the benefit of fighting my own personal pride and my own personal poverty at the same time.

  2. Good point. However, when the speed limit is 65 on the interstate and a safe speed is 75 should we go the faster speed? Do the highway authorities make the speed limit 65 b/c they know people will go 75? As for the limit of the speed, should Christians be content driving 30 mph since the maximum is supposed to be 35?

  3. this has always been a struggle for me…. I’ve been on both sides of the issue at times. I’ve found Wayne Grudem’s teaching on the issue helpful. He says the posted speed limit is not always the speed limit, since the cops will not pull you over on the freeway for doing 69 in a 65. They will, however, if you are doing 75. i might be mis-representing him, but i found his insight intriguing.

  4. So this could mean that the speed limit is up to our discretion. It is obvious that those who drive over the speed limit are not being penalized. Deductively, then, we can reason that law enforcement does not see speeding at a ‘reasonable’ speed is not breaking the law. That is, driving 74 in a 65 zone is not breaking the law. However, law enforcement would be justified in pulling all of us over who violate the limit. So the question remains, do we owe some kind of obedience to the speeding limit law as though it were engraved in stone? Or is it the spirit of the law that is more important?

  5. that is the difficulty…. Spirit or Letter? I’ll clarify again that I may not have accurately portrayed Grudem’s view.

  6. Speeding is not a black and white issue to me. Let me put this in perspective for you:
    God law is supreme. It never changes and it is never OK to break it. It is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
    I think to place fallible man made law on the same level as God’s law is wrong. Man’s law changes with a majority vote. These are the same “men” that passed both the abortion law and the law to take prayer out of school and I don’t think God would approve of either.

    Let me go deeper on man made law for you. If you place traffic laws on the same level as the bible, then you better get you state traffic book and study it like a text book! I promise your probably breaking at least three laws and don’t even know it. And by the way, we are held accountable for sin whether we do it knowingly or not.

    Here’s an example, here in Alabama, we have a law where you have to blow your horn when going around a blind curve. 99.9% of the people have never heard of the law and do not do it. Are they sinning by not doing it? Don’t you see the legalism of making man’s laws as high as God’s?…..And even if you go the speed limit, do you make a complete stop at every stop sign? Is your tag light working? Do you always use a blinker, etc, etc……

    The reason the laws were made is to make our roads an orderly and safe place where we could all drive. There are two problems with this. The people that passed the laws were probably city council people who didn’t know three hoots about traffic laws. They were just good people who wanted the streets safe and the city not to get sued for any reason. So they had to make the laws according to the lowest common denominator. That means a speed that is safe for granny to a handicapped veteran.

    In some cities they simply make the speed 55 because they know people are going to go 75. And if they made the speed limit 65, people would go 85. I know some people are going to say “well that don’t make it right”. But look, remember that ol’ term “In Rome, do as the Romans do?” Well, that applies in street laws as well. The councilmen who passed the law probably doesn’t abide by it either. In Germany the Audubon used to let you go as fast as you wanted. Were they sinning because we thought that was too fast in this country and over there they didn’t? Here in Alabama everyone commonly goes 10-15 over. Are we less Christian because we see things a little differently than where you live?

    Here is the bottom line. We don’t need to be so concerned about following man made laws perfectly. We need to make sure we are following their PRINCIPAL. Take for instance a stop sign. A stop sign is there to regulate traffic and keep people safe. But lets say you roll through a stop sign at 1 MPH at 2:30AM in the morning in the middle of nowhere with no other cars within 20 miles of you after you made sure it was safe to do so. Does it really matter? Was the regulation of traffic kept and safety maintained? If so, I don’t think God really cares. Without going into a million scenarios, I think you get the point. God just wants us to be orderly and safe with each other. He wants us to show love for him and others as we drive and that is the whole biblical law summed up. If we do that, I don’t think He wants us to gets legalistic about it.

  7. Thank you, Will, for a very thoughtful comment. Given your reasoning, how does one get away from mere subjective rationale for one lives in the world? If all it comes down to is obeying the principle of the law, then who is to say how far away from the principle the person has veered?

    I agree, God does not want us to be legalists. There surely are plenty of silly laws that states have passed over the years that should be reviewed and done away with. However, this is a pretty blatant, clear, and well-reasoned law that we should think critically about.

    I really appreciate your desire to be clear-headed, but I fear that if we are left to trying to guess the motives and rationale, we will be left with subjective laws – left to the post-modern interpreter…

  8. Dear, dear, Christians, this topic is just too much! You’ve got me laughing as I imagine slogans like “Drive 55? What would Jesus do?” …then again, you’ve now got me wondering whether Jesus would cut off the Buddha when trying to make a lane change!

  9. Christians are obligated to keep the laws of the area where they are residents. The laws are in place to keep things orderly and peaceful. If a law seems ridiculous or out of date, citizens need to work with lawmakers to have them changed. No one has the right to just pick and choose what they will do. The bottom line is, are we trying to do our best the laws, or are we trying to give support to what we would rather do?

    If a speed limit is posted, that is the legal limit a person may go. Police set their radars higher BECAUSE people do not obey and the machine will be steadily going off… they have to set it higher to keep it from going off so much and to concentrate on those breaking the law at higher, more dangerous speeds. Rationalize all you want, but when you go above a limit, you have exceeded what is allowed, period. Every person knows whether or not they are trying to meet the limit, or if they are trying to “fudge a little”.

    I would expect the Christian to be the one obeying the speed limit even if no one else is… Aren’t we obligated to be the best citizens we can be? The answer lies in what our motives are… to do what’s right, or to do what is convenient or most pleasing to self.

  10. No, Christian’s shouldn’t drive below the speed limit (that is they can, but doing so is not a good practice), but they also shouldn’t drive above it. The Bible is pretty clear that we are to follow what the government says to do (Romans 13:1-2, Titus 3:1-2, 1 Peter 2:13-15 to name a few). Following the posted speed limit isn’t “legalism” (as Will suggested), it is following the Bible’s teachings. And saying “[we don’t have to follow a government] that passed both the abortion law and the law to take prayer out of school” is flat out anarchy.

    Granted I can be a fan of “the spirit of the law”, but that doesn’t mean that “the spirit of the law” is OVER “the letter of the law”. That is to say if you find yourself going over the speed limit you don’t have to slam on your brakes until you meet the limit, but it is another thing to drive 5+ MPH over the limit purposefully and on a regular basis. The spirit of the law is to keep you safe, and driving over the speed limit is NOT safer in most cases (and is never safer when driving extended periods of time).

    The problem for me is “the spirit of the law over the letter of the law” is a slippery slope. At what point is it a sin? If the speed limit is 60 MPH, is 61 MPH a sin? 65? 70? 80? None of the above! We won’t be judged on our actions but our heart, IE: our intentions. The mentality of “everyone else is doing it” or “the cops won’t pull me over so it must be OK” is not the right intention. Not speeding because we are to follow the government’s law is the right intention.

    Instead of looking for excuses to speed, why not ask “What would God have me do? What is the RIGHT thing to do? What is the honorable thing to do?”

    Will posts above: “But look, remember that ol’ term “In Rome, do as the Romans do?” Well, that applies in street laws as well.” So I can say “Everyone else looks at pornography, enjoys prostitutes, and uses drugs for fun, so I can too”? Sorry, but the bandwagon fallacy doesn’t work on me, and it certainly isn’t a Christian perspective.

    J.Majors says “He says the posted speed limit is not always the speed limit, since the cops will not pull you over on the freeway for doing 69 in a 65.” So if a cop won’t arrest you for stealing something for less than $20, does that make it right and OK? If I can’t get arrested for stealing a stick of gum, is it OK to do so? NO! Lack of prosecution does not make something right or moral!

    Instead of deciding what is moral by looking at other people (IE: culture), Christians should look back to Jesus and other teachings in the Bible and draw our morality from there.

    For another perspective (and where I got some of the above information from): http://www.lookinguntojesus.net/20020519.htm

    Matthew

  11. I agree with Matthew. I’ve struggled with this issue. I’m surprised by the number of Christians who intentionally drive five miles over the speed limit and think it’s fine. I sometimes drive over the speed limit, but usually it’s accidental. At those times I dont’ beat myself up. I just adjust because I know that that’s life; these things happen; and that’s why the cops give five miles per hour leeway. At times I have driven over, I must admit. At those times it was a crucial situation or I didn’t want to end up being an hour late (stuff and myself :) got in the way) and I lost patience. But I try not to speed and feel better not speeding, even though it’s a bit uncomfortable seeing many cars moving from behind me in order to go faster. At first, it was hard to adopt the practice of driving the speed limit, but I got used to it. Not to be judgmental, but I think if intentional speeders (for lack of a better term) tried driving the speed limit, they would find that it’s not as unpleasant or hard as they thought it’d be. I mean, we all make mistakes, but it’s our intentions that count. I’m tired of 97% of the cars on the road speeding around me and feeling like I’m the odd one out, so I’m thankful for the support I got from reading Matthew’s and Debbie’s comments. Thanks again! :)

  12. i must confess that now i speed. it has been too much of a burden driving at the speed limit while many people were passing me. plus, due to scheduling problems and a physical condition, i have trouble getting up and getting out of my house on time.

  13. J. Majors,

    This is a very interesting subject. Could you please tell me which book by Wayne Grudem is the one where he talks about speeding. I would like to look it up.

    Thank you so much.

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