Matthew 22:36-40 - The Greatest Commandment.

Matthew 22:36-40 - The Greatest Commandment.

Matthew 22:36-40 (NIV) "Teacher, which is the greatest 
commandment in the Law?"  Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all 
your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'  This is 
the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: 
'Love your neighbor as yourself.'  All the Law and the Prophets hang 
on these two commandments." 

Matthew 22:36-40 (CWR) "Teacher, which do you think is the most 
important commandment that God gave?"  The lawyer was hoping to get Jesus 
to prioritize God's laws, then challenge Him on His reasons for 
doing so.  But instead, Jesus summarized God's laws. "You should love 
the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul and all your 
mind," said Jesus.  This is the first and most important commandment.  
And the next one is just like it.  You should love and value your 
neighbor as much as you love and value yourself.  You see, the entire law 
rests on both these principles because they're interrelated; you can't 
separate them." 


Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your 
soul and with all your mind. Deut. 6:4, 5 

Jesus quoted from the great Jewish confession of faith called 
the Shema in Deut. 6:4, 5. The confession is called this because it 
begins with the Hebrew word shema meaning "hear." [Nelson SB] 


The Greek verb is not phileo which expresses friendly affection, 
but agapao, the commitment of devotion that is directed by the will 
and can be commanded as a duty. [NIV SB] 

There must first be love in the heart before a person can, in 
the strength and by the grace of Christ, begin to observe the 
precepts of God's law (Rom. 8:3, 4). Obedience without love is as 
impossible as it is worthless. But where love is present a person will 
automatically set out to order his life in harmony with the will of God as 
expressed in His commandments (John 14:15; 15:10). [SDA Bible Commentary] 


The heart, soul, and mind represent the whole person. [Nelson SB]

With all your heart, soul and mind i.e. with your whole being. 

Christ's purpose here in enumerating different parts of one's 
being is simply another way of saying that love for God, if truly 
present, will permeate every aspect of the being. [SDA Bible Commentary] 

In the time of ancient Israel every offering brought as a 
sacrifice to God was carefully examined. If any defect was discovered in 
the animal presented, it was refused; for God had commanded that the 
offering be "without blemish." So Christians are bidden to present their 
bodies, "a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God." In order to do 
this, all their powers must be preserved in the best possible 
condition. Every practice that weakens physical or mental strength unfits 
man for the service of his Creator. And will God be pleased with 
anything less than the best we can offer? Said Christ: "Thou shalt love 
the Lord thy God with all thy heart." Those who do love God with all 
the heart will desire to give Him the best service of their life, 
and they will be constantly seeking to bring every power of their 
being into harmony with the laws that will promote their ability to do 
His will. They will not, by the indulgence of appetite or passion, 
enfeeble or defile the offering which they present to their heavenly 
Father.  GC473,4 


Love your neighbor as yourself. Lev. 19:18

Like it in being based on the great principle of love, and like 
it in requiring the concerted attention and cooperation of all 
parts of one's being. [SDA Bible Commentary] 

This command from Lev. 19:18 is not an imperative to love one's 
self. People naturally love themselves and are at least somewhat 
self-centered. Because we love ourselves, we want the best for ourselves; 
likewise, we should be concerned for the welfare of others. [Nelson SB] 


"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with 
all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength. This 
is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this: Thou 
shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment 
greater than these." These two great principles embrace the first four 
commandments, showing the duty of man to God, and the last six, showing the 
duty of man to his fellowman. 1BC1104 

Christ was the first to combine these two texts (Deut. 6:5 and 
Lev. 19:18) into a summary of the law. [Ryrie SB] 

The law of love toward God and man was by no means new. Jesus 
was the first, however, to unite the thoughts of Deut. 6:4, 5 and 
Lev. 19:18 as summing up "the whole duty of man," though Micah comes 
very close to the same idea (see Micah 6:8). [SDA Bible Commentary] 

The Ten Commandments can be divided into two categories: those 
dealing with love for God (the first four Commandments) and those 
dealing with responsibilities toward other people (the last six 
Commandments). The same may be said for all the Law and the Prophets. [Nelson 

Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with 
all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind." If 
this commandment is obeyed, it prepares the heart to obey the second, 
which is like unto it: "Love thy neighbor as thyself." All the Ten 
Commandments are embodied in the two specified. The first includes the first 
four commandments, which show the duty of man to his Creator. The 
second embraces the last six, which show the duty of man to his fellow 
man. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. 
They are two great arms sustaining all ten of the commandments, the 
first four and the last six. 2T42,3 

Man's natural tendency is to make self first, irrespective of 
obligations incumbent upon him in his relations to God and to his fellow 
men. To be completely selfless in dealing with his fellows, a man 
must first love God supremely. This is the very foundation of all 
right conduct. [SDA Bible Commentary] 

Personal character grows out of love for God. Loving God leads 
us to love other people. Such love will result in actions which 
comply with all God's moral demands. Love is the starting point for 
Christian ethics. [Disciple SB] 

The divine law requires us to love God supremely, and our 
neighbor as ourselves. Without the exercise of this love, the highest 
profession of faith is mere hypocrisy.  SD52 

Jesus says that if we truly love God and our neighbor, we will 
naturally keep the commandments. This is looking at God's law positively. 
Rather than worrying about all we should 'not' do, we should 
concentrate on all we 'can' do to show our love for God and others. [Life 
Application SB] 

Christian love is the active, vitalizing power necessary in 
Christian living. Jesus' command to love God is directed primarily to the 
will rather than the emotions. It means to esteem God, to regard Him 
above all else, to give Him unchallenged first place, and to give His 
claims unquestioned priority. This love means, likewise, to esteem all 
that God esteems, to love what God loves to the extent not only of 
doing but of being. Our lives are to radiate Christ's love 
continuously. Christian relationships must be built on love; Christian 
fellowship must be maintained in love; and Christian service must be 
motivated by love. Love, of its own nature, produces the fruits of 
Christian devotion and service. The love Jesus commands eliminates 
injustice in human relations. It fulfills the law by abstaining from all 
that law forbids. See Ro 13:10. Jesus states that the twofold love 
commandment fulfills "the Law" and "the Prophets," which when combined 
indicates the whole Old Testament. [Disciple SB] 

The law of God, from its very nature, is unchangeable. It is a 
revelation of the will and the character of its Author. God is love, and 
His law is love. Its two great principles are love to God and love 
to man.... Such a law, being an expression of the mind and will of 
God, must be as enduring as its Author. GC467 

The law of God existed before the creation of man or else Adam 
could not have sinned. 1BC1104 


A common Hebrew idiom designating the entire OT (see on Luke 
24:44). In other words, Jesus affirms that the OT is nothing more nor 
less than an exposition of the two great principles here 
enunciated--love for God and love for man. [SDA Bible Commentary] 

Jesus provided the best summary possible of all the Old 
Testament revelation. He focused all Scripture on the priority of a right 
relationship with God and then with neighbors [Disciple SB] 

The Law and the Prophets hang on the two commandments to love 
God supremely and to love neighbor as self. We have to let God plant 
His love so deep within us that we respond to every situation in 
love, seeking God's will and the best for the other person(s). Acting 
in self-giving love is obeying God. As we act in love, we will 
fulfill the Law's deepest demands (5:17). [Disciple SB] 

All the Law and the Prophets spoke was intended to nurture love 
for God and love for one's neighbor. We pervert the Scriptures if we 
use them as did the various Jewish parties in the first century to 
build themselves up and cut their brothers down.  If we come to the 
Bible to discover how to better love God and others, we will avoid the 
attitudes which led to the corruption of first-century Judaism, and which 
were so strongly condemned by our LORD (see Matt. 23). [The 365-Day 
Devotional Commentary] 


   The Pharisees labored to distinguish important laws from the 
less important ones. Jesus blew their artificial system away when he 
pointed to the simple way one could fulfill the entire Law - by loving 
God and loving our neighbor as ourselves. 
   God made us for relationships. He created us in his image so 
that we could have a relationship with him. Although human sin 
fractured that relationship, God made a way through Jesus Christ for that 
relationship to be restored. Love for God is our highest calling and the path 
to true fulfillment as a human being. 
   Love for God always leads to love for one's neighbors. 
Although the world says, "Look out for number one," true happiness is 
found when we put the needs of our family, friends, neighbors, and 
even total strangers before our own. 
   Learn to love. Love God. Love others. When you do that, 
you'll find fulfillment that worldly ways of living for oneself simply 
can't provide. [The One Year Bible for New Believers] 

   If loving God is not our highest priority in life, we're 
missing our purpose. No other dream or desire or search for significance 
will satisfy. To love and be loved by Him are paramount.  
   But how do we love Him well? Is it a feeling of affection? 
Worship services and songs? Simply obeying Him? All are part of the 
upward flow of love, but they aren't enough. It's possible to feel 
affection for Him without any sense of commitment, to attend worship 
services and sing songs without feeling any affection, to obey without 
love. Jesus said those who love Him will obey Him, but not everyone 
who obeys Him loves Him. In fact, this is why obedience is such an 
enigma in Scripture. In those who loved God, it was heaven on earth. In 
the religious hypocrites of Jesus' day, it was nauseating. The 
motive made all the difference. Obedience isn't the key; obedience that 
flows out of love is.  
   In order to love God well, think of how you show love to any 
other person. It involves deep affection, being attentive, developing 
the same passions, and taking that person's words seriously. However 
you show heartfelt love to others, apply that to God. Cultivate 
affection. Stoke your feelings. Pay attention to His every move. Notice His 
desires and interests. Spend time talking to Him. Care for His heart. 
Whatever He says, take it seriously. Follow His instructions, not because 
you have to but because you're passionate about pleasing Him. And if 
anything gets in the way of your loving Him, see it as an intruder on 
your highest priority. Every day you love Him well is a day you have 
fulfilled your purpose in life.  
   Lord, I want to love You with all oj my being - my emotions, 
my thoughts, my words, my will, my actions - everything. Help me 
maintain this desire as my highest priority. And help me to love You 
well. [The One Year Experiencing God's Presence Devotional by Chris 

   Let him who glories glory in this, that he understands and 
knows Me. This world you inhabit is increasingly complex and 
confusing. You have more information at your fingertips than you could 
process in a lifetime. There are so many demands on you - from the 
world, the church, other people, yourself. As a result, it's easy to 
feel lost and perplexed. To find Peace in this chaotic clutter, you 
need to set priorities according to My will. It is crucial to make 
your relationship with Me the top priority - nurturing and 
strengthening your connection with Me.  
   Nothing is as important as understanding Me: knowing and 
loving Me as I truly am. This requires focused time with Me as well as 
ongoing communication with Me throughout your day. The clearest, most 
trustworthy teaching about Me is in the Bible. The beauty of nature also 
proclaims Me and reveals My Glory.  
   Making Me your highest priority gives focus to your thinking. 
Other priorities fall into their proper place when I am first and 
foremost in your life. (Jer. 9:24; Psa. 19:1, 2; Mat. 22:37, 38) [Jesus 
Today by Sarah Young] 

I have tried giving myself to other gods - the gods of education 
and knowledge, success and money, accomplishment and work.  I have 
given good works First Place in my affection.  I have tried to get 
other people to be god for me; I have even let the church assume top 
priority in my time and energy.  I have placed my neck in other worldly 
nooses and yokes, but only the yoke of Christ grants me freedom.  
Surrendering my will to His yoke is a constant process. As I continue to 
allow the presence of God to permeate the various parts of my life, I 
am understanding more clearly that anything or anyone, other than 
God, to whom I turn for meaning, purpose or strength will ultimately 
disappoint me or destroy me.  God affirmed the first commandment for my 
benefit; He knew I would never be whole as long as I worshipped anything 
or anyone besides Himself.  I have tried to fill my life with other 
people, pleasure, work, and acquisition, but these things only partially 
satisfy.  I am learning that the God of Abraham, Joseph, and Isaac is 
indeed the Source of everything I need and that His intent is always 
for good.  [Jeanie Miley; Time with God devotional SB] 

Are You Obsessed by Something?; The total being of our life 
inside and out is to be absolutely obsessed by the presence of God. If 
we are obsessed by God, nothing else can get into our lives - not 
concerns, tribulation, nor worries. To be obsessed by God is to have an 
effective barricade against all the assaults of the enemy. [In His Time; 
My Utmost For His Highest re Psa.25:12] 

Our single most important purpose - the very thing we were 
designed for - is to love God with everything in us. Not to accomplish 
great things, not to be good people, but to love the Lord. This is the 
greatest commandment. If we fail at this, every other success suddenly 
doesn't matter. If we work diligently to spread God's Word, keep his 
commands and treat others well - all highly important matters - but 
aren't motivated by love for him, we fall short of our purpose. That's 
a sobering thought, but one that certainly rearranges our 
priorities. Above all else in life, we need to learn to love God well. [NIV 
Once A Day Bible] 


   Mother Teresa gives us this simple challenge: "See what love 
can do." 
   She tells of a day when she picked up a dying man from the 
gutter whose body was covered with worms. She brought him to her house, 
and it took three hours to clean him up. She was impressed that he 
didn't curse or blame someone. Instead, he said, "I've lived like an 
animal in the street, but I'm going to die like an angel, loved and 
cared for. I'm going home to God." 
   Mother Teresa says she has never seen such a radiant smile as 
she saw on his face before he died. "He went home to God. See what 
love can do?" 
   She tells another story that illustrates something most of us 
could do for someone. She was walking down a street in London when she 
saw a tall, thin man sitting huddled and miserable. She went up to 
him, shook his hand, and asked him how he was. 
   He looked up at her and said, "Oh! After such a long, long 
time, I feel the warmth of a human hand!" 
   And she says he then sat up, with a beautiful smile. "Just 
shaking his hand had made him feel like somebody." 
   Who needs to feel the warmth of a human hand today? Whom do 
we ignore who desperately needs a little attention? 
   Mother Teresa emphasizes that it's the depth of our love that 
counts, not our carrying out grand things. We start in our own homes and 
with our neighbors. She urges us to be "the good news" to someone in 
our sphere of influence who does not feel loved--perhaps a family 
member or a disgruntled neighbor. 
   "True love is love that causes us pain, that hurts, and yet 
brings joy," she says. That is why we must pray to God and ask him to 
give us the courage to love. 
   "We have been created in order to love and be loved."
   Father in heaven, I get all wrapped up in my own needs and 
concerns. Help me to reach out to those who need a warm hand of 
encouragement. Help me to see others through your eyes. [The One Year Book of 
Encouragement by Harold Myra] 


With All Your Heart, Soul and Mind: Destiny Of The Greatest: 


Special Video Clip On Seeking God: http://vimeo.com/31489782

Your Choice: http://creationhealth.com/CREATION-Health/Choice