Matthew 19:19

ESV Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself."
NIV honor your father and mother,’ and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’ "
CSB honor your father and your mother; and love your neighbor as yourself.
NLT Honor your father and mother. Love your neighbor as yourself.’ '
KJV Honor thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
NKJV ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ ”

What does Matthew 19:19 mean?

A wealthy young man (Luke 18:18; Matthew 19:20) is asking Jesus what good thing he must do to have eternal life, to be included in the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 19:16). It is the essential question at the heart of nearly every religion.

Jesus has insisted only God is good. This is Jesus' first clue to the man that his own goodness will not be enough to save him. At the same time, Jesus' response sets the stage for the rest of the encounter. Jesus is subtly asking the man if he's willing to see Jesus as good—meaning to see Him as God—and obey accordingly (John 14:15).

Jesus' response (Matthew 19:17) is not meant to be taken out of context. His intent is to walk through the question with the rich man from the perspective of Judaism. He tells the man to keep the commandments if he would enter life. In other words, to commit no sins at all.

Perceptively, the man asks, "which commands?" Likely, he wanted to know if the additional commands added over the years by the Pharisees were necessary or only the commands of Moses. Jesus begins to list five of the Ten Commandments (Matthew 19:18), ending with the two in this verse: Honor your parents, and love your neighbor as yourself.

As with prior verses, Jesus is not saying that if a person could obey these five commands from God perfectly, they would receive eternal life. Instead, He is exposing to this man that he cannot keep even these five commandments. Jesus wants this rich, young ruler to know that he is not truly good.

Understanding that we are not good, that we are sinful, is the first step toward understanding the gospel of Jesus: We need His goodness to be saved. That trusting, dependent humility is something Jesus recently highlighted (Matthew 19:13–15). He came to die on a cross in Jerusalem to pay for our sin. God gives those who come to Him through faith in Jesus credit for Jesus' goodness instead of judging us based on our own goodness. That humble faith in Christ is the only path to eternal life (John 14:6; Ephesians 2:1–10).
What is the Gospel?
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