How do we love the Lord with all our heart, soul and mind?

Q. Please Explain Matthew 22:36-40. Why was this question asked in the first place, (verse 36), and what does it mean to love the Lord with all of one’s heart, and soul and mind? What is the distinctions we are to see here?


Matthew 22:36-40

36* “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?”
37* And He said to him, “‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’
38* “This is the great and foremost commandment.
39* “The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’
40* “On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”

Why was this question asked? – Because Jesus had just been answering questions in such a way as to put the religious leaders to shame. The Jewish scholars believed that the commandments of Moses numbered in the hundreds, some saying that there were over 600 commanments. In asking this question they were hoping to get an answer that would discredit Jesus and make themselves look good.

Which is the great commandment in the Law? – According to the statement of Jewish writers, there had been an old and interminable dispute among the rabbis as to which was the greatest commandment. Some held that it was the law which commanded sacrifices:

Num 28:3

“You shall say to them, ‘This is the offering by fire which you shall offer to the LORD: two male lambs one year old without defect as a continual burnt offering every day.

Others that which commanded the wearing of phylacteries

Num 15:38

“Speak to the sons of Israel, and tell them that they shall make for themselves tassels on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and that they shall put on the tassel of each corner a cord of blue.

Num 15:39

“It shall be a tassel for you to look at and remember all the commandments of the LORD, so as to do them and not follow after your own heart and your own eyes, after which you played the harlot,

Deut 22:12

“You shall make yourself tassels on the four corners of your garment with which you cover yourself.

Others contended for those about purification

Le 10:10
and so as to make a distinction between the holy and the profane, and between the unclean and the clean,

Others for those about the great feasts

Ex 12:15
*
‘Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, but on the first day you shall remove leaven from your houses; for whoever eats anything leavened from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel.
16* ‘On the first day you shall have a holy assembly, and another holy assembly on the seventh day; no work at all shall be done on them, except what must be eaten by every person, that alone may be prepared by you.
17* ‘You shall also observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread, for on this very day I brought your hosts out of the land of Egypt; therefore you shall observe this day throughout your generations as a permanent ordinance.
18* ‘In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at evening, you shall eat unleavened bread, until the twenty-first day of the month at evening.

The commentator Vincent says, “the scribes declared tthat there were 248 affirmative precepts, as many as the members of the human body; and 365 negative precepts, as many as the days in the year; the total being 613, the number of letters in the Decalogue. Of these they called some light and some heavy.

Jesus says to them – 37* And He said to him, “‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’
38* “This is the great and foremost commandment.

This is a quotation by Jesus from :

Deut 6:5

“You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.

Here is a very important point, many will attempt to make metaphysical distinctions in the analysis of this required love, but the sum of it is that we are to love God with our whole being.

You love God with your HEART by loving Him will all of your emotions.
You love God with your Soul by loving Him will all of your the powers at your desposal.
You love God with your mind by using your BRAIN! Many co-called Christians seem to be “anti-intellectual” in their thinking.

So what does it mean to love God with your mind? It involves the pursuit of understanding God and His universe – whether it be in philosophy, theology, science, economics, law, politics or the arts. When Christians refuse to love God with their minds, they open the door for naturalistic humanists to dominate our education system and places of learning. Princeton University was founded on Christian principles and promoted the Christian worldview and ethic. Yet recently, its administrators hired Dr Peter Singer who not only endorses, but agressively pushes euthenasia and abortion (for children up to 2 years old!) And we wonder why, as Christians, we confront naturalism, humanism, Marxism and postmodernism when presenting the Gospel… How can we know what God’s will is (let alone worship Him intelligently!) when we are not loving God with our mind? How can we expect the world to listen to us when our answers to the real problems of life are shallow, stupid or just plain wrong!?! God’s word DOES have the answers, but we must devote our minds to discovering those answers. They will not always jump out at us!

And He also said:

39* “The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’
40* “On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”

This is a quotation from Leviticus 19:18. Love is the cure for sin, for we cannot sin against those whom we truly love. Where we love, we desire to bless. But sin always carries with it a willingness to injure or to curse.

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