What does Mark 12:30 mean?
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.’
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.'
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.’
CSB: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, 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.’
KJV: 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.
"Love" here doesn't just mean to have affections for. It is from the Greek root word agapao, which many are more familiar with through the noun agape. To agape-love someone is a choice. It is to choose to see them in a favorable light. To choose to delight in them. And to choose to faithfully act on their behalf. When we agape-love God, we see Him as honorable, true, and loving. We trust Him and respond to that trust with obedience.
Jesus adds more nuance to this love. "Heart" is from the Greek root word kardia, and means the center of one's life, whether physical, spiritual, or mental. The heart drives one's beliefs, emotions, thoughts, and intentions. "Soul" is from the Greek root word psychē which is similar to the heart, but focuses on the vital force that keeps us alive. "Mind" is not found in the original Old Testament quote (Deuteronomy 6:5), but is certainly appropriate to add for an audience influenced by more logical Greek culture. It comes from the Greek root word dianoia and, again, has a similar definition to heart but with a more mental bent.
So, "heart…soul…and mind" cover every aspect of our personalities, being, and thoughts, and everything which influences our feelings, beliefs, desires, and intentions.
"Strength" is a little different. It is from the Greek root word ischyos, and means force, power, and ability. The original Hebrew is from the root word me'ōde, which is also translated as "greatly, exceedingly, and diligently." This "strength," also translated into English as "might," is the effort and passion with which we love God. Where the heart, soul, and mind direct how we feel and what we do, might is the force that determines the extent.
We're not exactly sure of the scribe's intent, here. Unlike the previous two challenges, there's no clear "trap" involved (Mark 12:13). He might simply be asking a deliberately provocative question, expecting Jesus to pick one of the many commandments in the Mosaic law and declare it the greatest. What Jesus has done is give a commandment that encompasses the first four of the Ten Commandments, all of which concern how we interact with God. In the third part of Jesus' answer, to love our neighbors as ourselves, He brings in the last six of the Ten Commandments. In doing so, He reveals that God's laws are not meant to control us, they are meant to describe what it means to love.
Mark 12:28–34 occurs during the last week before the crucifixion. Jesus spends time in the temple courtyard, teaching the people and debating Jewish religious and civil leaders. Intrigued by how Jesus proves the resurrection of the dead to a group of Sadducees (Mark 12:18–26), a scribe of the Pharisees (Matthew 22:34–35) asks Jesus about the greatest commandment in the Mosaic law. The central idea of Jesus' answer is to love God and love others. But He starts at the beginning of the Shema prayer: acknowledge God is your God and He is one. This story is also in Matthew 22:34–40.
This chapter contains lessons taught by Jesus in various circumstances. He explains the eventual destruction of traditional Judaism, the relationship between secular and sacred obligations, the nature of the resurrection, and the most important of God's commandments. Jesus also expounds on Messianic statements in the Old Testament. Jesus also condemns the glory-seeking shallowness of the scribes, and extolls the virtues of sincere, faith-based giving.
Days before, Jesus has entered Jerusalem, hailed as a hero by the people (Mark 11:1–11). While teaching in the temple courtyard, Jesus shows superior understanding of Scripture over the chief priests, scribes, and elders (Mark 12:27–33), the Pharisees and Herodians (Mark 12:13), the Sadducees (Mark 12:18), and the scribes again (Mark 12:35, 38). Sadly, even in the instance where a scribe does understand Scripture, that is no guarantee he will follow it to its logical conclusion: Jesus (Mark 12:28–34). In contrast, a humble widow exemplifies the faithfulness and piety the leaders lack (Mark 12:41–44). Jesus leaves the temple for the last time to teach the disciples on the Mount of Olives (Mark 13). In Mark 14, He prepares for the crucifixion.
The Gospel of Mark emphasizes both Jesus' servanthood and His role as the promised Messiah: the Son of God. This is done through a concise, action-packed style. Mark provides relatively few details, instead focusing on actions and simple statements. This relates to the Gospel's authorship, which is believed to be based on the memories of the apostle Peter. These include many of Jesus' miracles, in contrast to other Gospels which include many more of Jesus' teachings and parables. Mark also makes frequent mention of Jesus' ministry being misunderstood by others.
Accessed 11/30/2023 6:28:31 AM
© Copyright 2002-2023 Got Questions Ministries. All rights reserved.
Text from ESV, NIV, NASB, CSB, NLT, KJV © Copyright respective owners, used by permission.