The Greatest Commandment

Matthew 22:34-40

34 But when the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced [the objections of] the Sadducees, they gathered together [i.e., to continue plotting against Jesus. See verse 15]. 35 One of them, a teacher of the law of Moses, asked Him a question [in an attempt] to test Him. 36 "Teacher, which one is the greatest commandment in the law of Moses?" he asked.

37 Jesus replied, [Deut. 6:5] "'You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind.' 38 This is the foremost and greatest commandment. 39 A second one, similar to it is [Lev. 19:18], 'You must love your neighbor the same way that you love yourself.' 40 The entire law of Moses and the prophets hinge on these two commandments."

Mark 12:28-34

28 Then one of the experts in the law of Moses [Note: Matt. 22:34 identifies him as being a Pharisee also], came and heard Jesus and the Sadducees discussing together [i.e., the subject of the resurrection], and knowing that Jesus had refuted the Sadducees successfully, asked Him, "Which commandment is foremost, above all the others?"

29 And Jesus answered, "The foremost one is this [Deut. 6:4-5], 'Hear this, you Israelites, the Lord our God is the only Lord, 30 and you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength.'

31 The second one is this, 'You must love your neighbor the same way that you love yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these [i.e., love for God and man]."

32 The expert in the law of Moses said to Jesus, "Truly, Teacher, you are right in saying that God is [the only] one and that there is no other God but Him. 33 And that to love Him with all one's heart, with all one's understanding, and with all one's strength, and to love one's neighbor the same way he loves himself, are far more [important] than all the burnt offerings and sacrifices [in the world]."

34 When Jesus saw that this man answered wisely, He said to him, "You are not [very] far from the kingdom of God." And after that, no one dared to ask Him any more questions.