Mark 12:33
And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.
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(33) Is more than all whole burnt offerings . . .—There is a fervour in the eloquence of the scribe’s answer which indicates the earnestness, almost the enthusiasm, of conviction. Such teaching as that of 1Samuel 15:22, Ps. 1. 8-14, Micah 6:6, had not been in vain for him.

12:28-34 Those who sincerely desire to be taught their duty, Christ will guide in judgment, and teach his way. He tells the scribe that the great commandment, which indeed includes all, is, that of loving God with all our hearts. Wherever this is the ruling principle in the soul, there is a disposition to every other duty. Loving God with all our heart, will engage us to every thing by which he will be pleased. The sacrifices only represented the atonements for men's transgressions of the moral law; they were of no power except as they expressed repentance and faith in the promised Saviour, and as they led to moral obedience. And because we have not thus loved God and man, but the very reverse, therefore we are condemned sinners; we need repentance, and we need mercy. Christ approved what the scribe said, and encouraged him. He stood fair for further advance; for this knowledge of the law leads to conviction of sin, to repentance, to discovery of our need of mercy, and understanding the way of justification by Christ.This answer of the scribe is not found in Matthew.

Is more than all - Is of more importance and value.

Discreetly - Wisely, according to truth.

Not far from the kingdom of God - Thou who dost prefer the "internal" to the "external" worship of God - who hast so just a view of the requirements of the law - canst easily become a follower of me, and art almost fit to be numbered among my disciples. This shows that a proper understanding of the Old Testament, of its laws and requirements, would prepare the mind for Christianity, and suit a person at once to embrace it when presented. One system is grafted on the other, agreeably to Galatians 3:24.

And no man after that durst ask him any question - That is, no one of the scribes, the Pharisees, or the Sadducees durst ask him a question for the purpose of "tempting" him or entangling him. He had completely silenced them. It does not appear, however, but that his "disciples" dared to ask him questions for the purpose of information.

33. And to love him with all the heart … and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices—more, that is, than all positive institutions; thereby showing insight into the essential difference between what is moral and in its own nature unchangeable, and what is obligatory only because enjoined, and only so long as enjoined. See Poole on "Mark 12:29"

And to love him with all the heart,.... That is, the one God, with a sincere hearty love and affection;

and with all the understanding; of his being, perfections, and works, which will serve to draw the affections to him: this clause answers to that, "with all thy mind", in Mark 12:30;

and with all the soul; with all the powers and faculties of it;

and with all the strength; a man has, or is given him; with all the vehemency and fervency of soul he is master of:

and to love his neighbour as himself; which are the two great commandments of the law:

is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices; that is, more excellent in their nature, more acceptable to God, and more useful among men, than all the rituals of the ceremonial law, than any sacrifice whatever: for the two words here used, "burnt offerings and sacrifices", include all offerings; as those which were wholly consumed upon the altar, and those of which part was given to the priests; and all sin offerings, meat offerings, and peace offerings, and whatever else. This man had now at least a different sense of things, from the rest of his brethren; who placed religion chiefly in the observance of the rituals of the law, and the traditions of the elders; and neglected the duties of the moral law, respecting God and their neighbour: things which are to be preferred and attended to, before any ceremonial institutions, and especially the inventions of men. This entirely agrees with the sense of the passage in Hosea 6:6. "For I desired mercy and, not sacrifice"; that is, willed and required, that men should show mercy to one another; or that every one should love his neighbour as himself, and attend to this, rather than to the offering of any ceremonial sacrifice: this being more delightful and well-pleasing to God, than that: "and the knowledge of God"; of his unity, perfections, and glory: "more than burnt offerings"; which were entirely devoted to him: and it also agrees with the ancient sentiments of the people of God; so Samuel says to Saul, "Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? behold, to obey is better than sacrifices, and to hearken, than the fat of rams", 1 Samuel 15:22. And yet it may be observed, that there is some likeness between these things, burnt offerings and sacrifices, and the love of God and love to our neighbour; though the latter are greatly preferable to the former; true love to God being no other than the offering up of the soul, as a whole burnt offering to God, in the flames of love to him; and love to the neighbour, or doing good and communicating to him, is a sacrifice well-pleasing to God.

And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.

33. burnt offerings and sacrifices] The Scribe gathers up in his reply some of the great utterances of the Prophets, which prove the superiority of love to God and man over all mere ceremonial observances. See 1 Samuel 15:22; Psalms 51; Hosea 6:6; Micah 6:6-8.

Mark 12:33. Ὁλοκαυτωμάτων, whole burnt-offerings) The most noble species of sacrifices.—θυσιῶν, victims in sacrifice) of which very many commandments treat.

Verse 33. - Is more (περισσότερόν) - according to the most approved reading, more - than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices. This scribe was evidently emerging out of the bondage of ceremonial things, and perceiving the supremacy of the moral law. Mark 12:33Understanding (συνέσεως)

A different word from that in Mark 12:30. From συνίημι, to send or bring together. Hence συνίημι is a union or bringing together of the mind with an object, and so used to denote the faculty of quick comprehension, intelligence, sagacity. Compare συνετῶν, the prudent, Matthew 11:25.

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