Mark 12:30 reads, “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.” King James Version (KJV)
|ESV||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.’|
|NASB||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.’|
|NIV||Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’|
|NLT||And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’|
Love the Lord Your God: Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary
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.
Mark 12:30 | Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
And thou shalt—We have here the language of law, expressive of God’s claims. What then are we here bound down to do? One word is made to express it. And what a word!
Had the essence of the divine law consisted in deeds, it could not possibly have been expressed in a single word; for no one deed is comprehensive of all others embraced in the law.
But as it consists in an affection of the soul, one word suffices to express it—but only one. Fear, though due to God and enjoined by Him, is limited in its sphere and distant in character.
Trust, hope, and the like, though essential features of a right state of heart towards God, are called into action only by personal necessity, and so are—in a good sense, it is true, but still are properly—selfish affections; that is to say, they have respect to our own well-being.
But LOVE is an all-inclusive affection, embracing not only every other affection proper to its object, but all that is proper to be done to its object; for as love spontaneously seeks to please its object, so, in the case of men to God, it is the native well spring of a voluntary obedience.
It is, besides, the most personal of all affections. One may fear an event, one may hope for an event, one may rejoice in an event; but one can love only a Person.
It is the tenderest, the most unselfish, the most divine of all affections. Such, then, is the affection in which the essence of the divine law is declared to consist.
Thou shalt love—We now come to the glorious Object of that demanded affection.
Thou shalt love the Lord, thy God—that is, Jehovah, the Self-Existent One, who has revealed Himself as the “I Am,” and there is none else; who, though by His name Jehovah apparently at an unapproachable distance from His finite creatures, yet bears to Thee a real and definite relationship, out of which arises His claim and Thy duty—of LOVE. But with what are we to love Him?
Four things are here specified. First, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God”
with thy heart—This sometimes means “the whole inner man” (as Pr 4:23); but that cannot be meant here; for then the other three particulars would be superfluous. Very often it means “our emotional nature”—the seat of feeling as distinguished from our intellectual nature or the seat of thought, commonly called the “mind” (as in Php 4:7).
But neither can this be the sense of it here; for here the heart is distinguished both from the “mind” and the “soul.” The “heart,” then, must here mean the sincerity of both the thoughts and the feelings; in other words, uprightness or true-heartedness, as opposed to a hypocritical or divided affection.
But next, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God” with thy soul. This is designed to command our emotional nature: Thou shalt put feeling or warmth into thine affection. Further, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God”
with thy mind—This commands our intellectual nature: Thou shalt put intelligence into thine affection—in opposition to a blind devotion, or mere devoteeism. Lastly, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God”
with thy strength—This commands our energies: Thou shalt put intensity into thine affection—”Do it with thy might” (Ec 9:10). Taking these four things together, the command of the Law is, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy powers—with a sincere, a fervid, an intelligent, an energetic love.”
But this is not all that the Law demands. God will have all these qualities in their most perfect exercise. “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God,” says the Law, “with all thy heart,” or, with perfect sincerity; “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy soul,” or, with the utmost fervor; “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy mind,” or, in the fullest exercise of an enlightened reason; and “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy strength,” or, with the whole energy of our being! So much for the First Commandment.