Matthew 22:37
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
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(37) Thou shalt love the Lord thy God.—In St. Mark’s report (Mark 12:29) our Lord’s answer begins with the Creed of Israel (“Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord”), and so the truth is in its right position as the foundation of the duty. It is significant (1) that the answer comes from the same chapter (Deuteronomy 6:4-5) which supplied our Lord with two out of His three answers to the Tempter (see Notes on Matthew 4:4; Matthew 4:7); and (2) that He does but repeat the answer that had been given before by the “certain lawyer” who stood up tempting Him, in Luke 10:25. In their ethical teaching the Pharisees had grasped the truth intellectually, though they did not realise it in their lives, and our Lord did not shrink, therefore, so far, from identifying His teaching with theirs. Truth was truth, even though it was held by the Pharisees and coupled with hypocrisy.

Matthew 22:37-40. Jesus said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart — Concerning this first and great commandment, and the words wherewith Moses prefaced it, see note on Deuteronomy 6:5; and for the elucidation of this whole paragraph, see the notes on Mark 12:28-34, where the conversation which our Lord had with this scribe is related more at large. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets — That is, they contain the substance or abridgment of all the religious and moral duties contained in the law and the prophets, which therefore may be all said to hang or depend on them. The expression, says Dr. Whitby, is a metaphor taken from a custom mentioned by Tertullian of hanging up their laws in a public place to be seen of all men; and it imports that in these precepts is compendiously contained all that the law and prophets require, in reference to our duty to God and man; for though there be some precepts of temperance which we owe to ourselves, yet are they such as we may be moved to perform from the true love of God and of our neighbour; whom if we truly love we cannot be wanting in them. For the love of God will make us humble and contented with our lot; it will preserve us from all intemperance, impatience, and unholy desires; it will make us watchful over ourselves, that we may keep a good conscience, and solicitous for our eternal welfare. And the love of our neighbour will free us from all angry passions, envy, malice, revenge, and other unkind tempers: so that both taken together will introduce into us the whole mind that was in Christ, and cause us to walk as he walked.

22:34-40 An interpreter of the law asked our Lord a question, to try, not so much his knowledge, as his judgment. The love of God is the first and great commandment, and the sum of all the commands of the first table. Our love of God must be sincere, not in word and tongue only. All our love is too little to bestow upon him, therefore all the powers of the soul must be engaged for him, and carried out toward him. To love our neighbour as ourselves, is the second great commandment. There is a self-love which is corrupt, and the root of the greatest sins, and it must be put off and mortified; but there is a self-love which is the rule of the greatest duty: we must have a due concern for the welfare of our own souls and bodies. And we must love our neighbour as truly and sincerely as we love ourselves; in many cases we must deny ourselves for the good of others. By these two commandments let our hearts be formed as by a mould.Jesus said unto him ... - Mark says that he introduced this by referring to the doctrine of the unity of God "Hear, O Israel! the Lord thy God is one Lord" - taken from Deuteronomy 6:4. This was said, probably, because all true obedience depends on the correct knowledge of God. None can keep his commandments who are not acquainted with his nature, his perfections, and his right to command,

Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart - The meaning of this is, thou shalt love him with all thy faculties or powers. Thou shalt love him supremely, more than all other beings and things, and with all the ardor possible. To love him with all the heart is to fix the affections supremely on him, more strongly than on anything else, and to be willing to give up all that we hold dear at his command,

With all thy soul - Or, with all thy "life." This means, to be willing to give up the life to him, and to devote it all to his service; to live to him, and to be willing to die at his command,

With all thy mind - To submit the "intellect" to his will. To love his law and gospel more than we do the decisions of our own minds. To be willing to submit all our faculties to his teaching and guidance, and to devote to him all our intellectual attainments and all the results of our intellectual efforts.

"With all thy strength" (Mark). With all the faculties of soul and body. To labor and toil for his glory, and to make that the great object of all our efforts.

Mt 22:15-40. Entangling Questions about Tribute, the Resurrection, and the Great Commandment, with the Replies. ( = Mr 12:13-34; Lu 20:20-40).

For the exposition, see on [1343]Mr 12:13-34.

See Poole on "Matthew 22:40".

Jesus said unto him,.... Directly, without taking time to think of it; and though he knew with what design it was put to him, yet, as an answer to it might be useful and instructive to the people, as well as silence and confound his adversaries, he thought fit to give one; and is as follows, being what is expressed in Deuteronomy 6:5.

thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind; that is, with all the powers and faculties of the soul, the will, the understanding, and the affections; in the most sincere, upright, and perfect manner, without any dissimulation and hypocrisy, and above all objects whatever, for this the law requires; and which man, in his state of innocence, was capable of, though now fallen, he is utterly unable to perform; so far from it, that without the grace of God, he has no true love at all to God, in his heart, soul and mind, but all the reverse; his carnal mind is enmity against God, and everything that is divine and good, or that belongs unto him: and though this is now the case of man, yet his obligation to love the Lord in this manner is still the same; and when the Spirit of God does produce the grace and fruit of love in his soul, he does love the Lord sincerely; because of the perfections of his nature, and the works of his hands, and because of the blessings of grace bestowed, and especially for Christ, the unspeakable gift of his love; and most affectionately does he love him, when he is most sensible of his everlasting and unchangeable love to him, and when that is shed abroad by the Spirit; "for we love him, because he first loved us", 1 John 4:19 instead of, "with all thy mind", as here, in Deuteronomy 6:5 it is read, "with all thy might"; and which clause is here added by the Syriac, Persic, and Ethiopic versions, as it is in

Mark 12:30. The Hebrew phrase seems to denote the vehemency of affections, with which God is to be beloved. Though the Jewish writers (s) paraphrase and interpret it, "with all thy substance", or "money"; and in the Misna (t), the following interpretation is given of the whole,

""with all thy heart", with thy imaginations, with the good imagination, and with the evil imagination; and "with all thy soul", even if he should take away thy soul; and "with all thy strength", with all thy "mammon", or riches; or otherwise, "with all thy might", with every measure he measures unto thee, do thou measure unto him;

that is, as one of the commentators says (u), whether it be good or evil; or, as another (w), in every case that happens give thanks to God, and praise him. And certain it is, that as God is to be loved in the strongest manner we are capable of, and with all we have, and are; so always, at all times, under all dispensations of his providence, and upon all accounts, and for all he does towards, in, upon, and for us,

(s) Targum Onk. & Jarchi in Deut. vi. 5. (t) Beracot, c. 9. sect. 5. Vid. Targum Jon. in Dent. vi. 5. (u) Bartenora in Misn. ib. (w) Maimon. in ib.

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy {p} soul, and with all thy mind.

(p) The Hebrew text in De 6:5 reads, with thine heart, soul, and strength; and in Mr 12:30 and Lu 10:27 we read, with soul, heart, strength and thought.

Matthew 22:37. ἀγαπήσεις, etc. Jesus replies by citing Deuteronomy 6:5, which inculcates supreme, devoted love to God, and pronouncing this the great (μεγάλη) and greatest, first (πρώτη) commandment. The clauses referring to heart, soul, and mind are to be taken cumulatively, as meaning love to the uttermost degree; with “all that is within” us (πάντα τὰ ἐντός μου, Psalm 103:1). This commandment is cited not merely as an individual precept, but as indicating the spirit that gives value to all obedience.

37. See Deuteronomy 6:5.

heart … soul … mind] St Mark and St Luke add “strength.” In Deut. the words are heart … soul … might. Heart includes the emotions, will, purpose; soul, the spiritual faculties; mind, the intellect, the thinking faculty. This greatest commandment was written on the phylactery which the “lawyer” was probably wearing. See ch. Matthew 23:5.

St Mark (Mark 12:32-34) adds the lawyer’s rejoinder and the commendation of Jesus, “thou art not far from the Kingdom of God.”

Matthew 22:37. Ἀγαπήσεις, κ.τ.λ., thou shalt love, etc.) Moses repeats this in Deuteronomy 6:8, from the Decalogue in Ib. Matthew 5:10; and it is frequently repeated in the same book, of which it is the sum, the last time with a most solemn adjuration; Ib. 30:19, 20.—ἐν ὅλῃ καρδίᾳ σου καὶ ἐν ὅλῃ ψυχῇ σου, καὶ ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ διανοίᾳ σου,[972] with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. Those who have copied or collated MSS., have for the most part treated the article with indifference; but as far as can be gathered from MSS. lately collated, St Matthew introduced the article only in the last clause. In the Hebrew it is ובכל מאדך, q.d., and with all thy strength (et in omni validitate tuâ). The LXX. render it καὶ ἐξ ὅλης τῆς δυνάμεώς σου, and with all thy might. In St Mark it is, ΚΑῚ ἘΞ ὍΛΗς Τῆς ΔΙΑΝΟΊΑς ΣΟΥ, ΚΑῚ ἘΞ ὍΛΗς Τῆς ἸΣΧΎΟς ΣΟΥ, and with all thy mind and with all thy strength. In St Luke 10:27, it is καὶ ἐξ ὅλης τῆς ἰσχύος σου καὶ ἐξ ὅλης τῆς διανοίας σου, one Hebrew word, מאד[973] being expressed by two Greek ones. [sc. ἸΣΧΎΟς, strength, and διανοίας, mind, or understanding.] Even the Hebrew accents[974] distinguish this third clause from the two previous ones, which are closely united. They all form an epitasis,[975] with which St Matthew’s introduction of the article only in the third clause agrees. John James Syrbius, Philos. primæ, Part I., ch. i., § 1, thus expresses himself,—“Of ALL those things which are ever found in man, there are three fundamental principles, idea, desire, and emotion.” ALL ought to be animated and governed by the love of God.

[972] E. M. has ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ καρδίᾳ σου, καὶ ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ ψυχῇ σου, καὶ ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ διανοίᾳ σου.—(I. B.)

[973] מְאד— 1)subst. m. strength, force, from the root אוּד. No. 3, Deuteronomy 6:5, “And thou shalt love Jehovah thy God with all thy heart, with all thy mind, וּבְכל מְא̇דֶף, and with all thy strength,” i.e. in the highest degree. Gesenius.—(I. B.)

[974] For some account of the Hebrew accents, see p. 132, f. n. 5.—(I. B.)

[975] See explanation of technical terms in Appendix—(I. B.)

DZ. support the articles before καρδιά, and before διανοίᾳ: the reading of B. is doubtful. Only inferior uncial MSS. Δ., etc., omit the articles.—ED.

Verse 37. - Thou shalt love the Lord thy God; Κύριον τὸν Θεόν σου (Deuteronomy 6:5, from the Septuagint, with some slight variation). Christ enunciates the two great moral precepts of God's Law, not, indeed, stated in these words in the Decalogue, but implied throughout, and forming the basis of true religion. Heart... soul... mind. The Septuagint has "mind, soul, strength." The expressions mean generally that God is to be loved with all our powers and faculties, and that nothing is to be preferred to him. It is difficult to define with any precision the signification of each term used, and much unprofitable labour has been expended in the endeavour to limit their exact sense. "Quum," as Grotius says, "vocum multarum cumulatio nihil quam intensius studium designet." It is usual to explain thus: Heart; which among the Hebrews was considered to be the seat of the understanding, is here considered as the home of the affections and the seat of the will. Soul; the living powers, the animal life. Mind; διαμοίᾳ, intellectual powers. These are to be the seat and abode of the love enjoined. Matthew 22:37
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