Friday, May 9, 2014

A Harmony of the Greatest Commandment

The Best

I'm beginning a study on The Greatest Commandment over the summer. Therefore, I will likely begin posting information coming from my studies on the topic. I will begin (now) with generic talk about the passage as a whole. My starting point will be Mark 12:29 & 30, where Jesus states that the greatest commandment is as follows:
“The foremost is, ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’"

(New American Standard Bible)
After general comments, I will begin addressing the following questions monthly:
  1. What does it mean to love The Lord with all your heart?
  2. What does it mean to love The Lord with all your soul?
  3. What does it mean to love The Lord with all your mind?
  4. What does it mean to love The Lord with all your strength?

The Background Stuff

When studying (anything, but specifically scripture) it is important to have a clear picture of how the two main verses you are interested in fit in with the rest of scripture. All cross-references should be inspected to highlight both differences and similarities in each scenario. The obvious reference is the one that Jesus quoted in Deuteronomy 6:5, but this incident is reported in each of the synoptic gospels. The references in question are as follows:
  • Deuteronomy 6:5
  • Matthew 22:37
  • Mark 12:30
  • Luke 10:27
Each reference is slightly different. Clearly, everything about Deuteronomy is different than the incidents in the Gospels. Matthew and Mark are the most similar. Luke stands out as unique in its own right. This exercise in comparison and contrast may or may not highlight significant differences. However, it affords a degree of familiarity with the passage in question.

The Elements

The most obvious elements in this topical study is the presence and order of the topics in question. Notice that the gospels add the "mind" topic which is not present in the Old Testament text. Notice also that the order of the topics are shuffled somewhat. Again, it is not a big issue. Just something to be aware of.

Next, look at context within the passages. We take note of the action surrounding these verses. The elements we consider are as follows:
  • Speaker: Who is talking?
  • Audience: Who are they talking to?
  • Narrative: Where does this take place in the story?
  • Pre-Context: What happens before?
  • Post-Context: What happens After?
Once we are clear on these things, then we can delve into deeper analysis of the text. After deeper analysis, we can begin with applications.


Here is a pdf of this comparison. Check it out and be sure to a) correct any mistakes I made and b) suggest any more elements we could compare/contrast between these passages. How can you do this? Just leave me a comment below!

Christopher M. Jimenez. Powered by Blogger.

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