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Matthew 22:36-39 meaning...

This records a significant interaction between Jesus and a Pharisee, where Jesus summarizes the core teachings of the Law. 

  • The Pharisee's Question:

A Pharisee poses a question to Jesus, seeking to test His knowledge of the Law. He asks which commandment is the greatest among all the commandments in the Jewish law.

  • The Greatest Commandment:

In response, Jesus provides a profound and concise summary of the Law. He quotes the Shema from the Old Testament (Deuteronomy 6:5): "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind." This is the first and greatest commandment.

  • Love for God:

Loving God with all one's heart, soul, and mind implies wholehearted devotion, a deep spiritual connection, and intellectual engagement. It calls for an undivided commitment to God, recognizing Him as the ultimate source of love, purpose, and meaning.

  • The Second Commandment:

Jesus adds a second commandment, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself," emphasizing the importance of love for one's fellow human beings. This commandment comes from Leviticus 19:18 and underscores the significance of treating others with empathy, compassion, and kindness.

  • The Unity of Love:

Jesus asserts that these two commandments, love for God and love for neighbor, are inseparable. They form a unified ethical framework for living a righteous and meaningful life.

  • The Fulfillment of the Law:

Jesus goes further to state that "the whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments." In essence, all the teachings and principles found in the Old Testament are encapsulated in these two commandments. Loving God and loving one's neighbor fulfill and embody the essence of the Law and the Prophets.

  • Practical Application:

Matthew 22:36-39 challenges individuals to live out their faith in practical ways. It prompts believers to actively seek God's will, to worship Him sincerely, and to serve Him and others with dedication and love. It calls for compassion, justice, and empathy in one's interactions with fellow human beings.


Deuteronomy 6:5: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might." This is the original Shema from the Old Testament.

Leviticus 19:18: "You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people; but you shall love your neighbor as yourself. I am Yahweh." This is the source of the second commandment.

Matthew 22:36-39 contains Jesus' profound teachings on the greatest commandments. It emphasizes the core principles of love for God and love for neighbor as the foundation of the entire Law and the Prophets. These commandments call believers to wholehearted devotion, sincere worship, and active service to God and fellow human beings. They remain central to Christian ethics and provide a guiding light for living a life of love, compassion, and righteousness.

Matthew 22:36-39. “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the law?” Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. A second likewise is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”


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