"What is written in the Law?" he replied. "How do you read it?" He answered: " \’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind\’; and, \’Love your neighbor as yourself."

You have answered correctly," Jesus replied. "Do this and you will live." (Luke 10:26-28)

A young man came to Jesus in his teaching and asked him what he must do to receive eternal life. You\’d have thought God in the flesh would\’ve given the young man a great doctrinal dissertation on Old Testament law. Afterall, the Pharisees stressed the need to religiously obey every aspect of the law, to scientifically break down every command, to strain out even the slightest meaning from each word. But Jesus had a very simple answer. "Love God, love your neighbor."

I’ve been to churches that seem to follow the same route the Pharisees took. They want to be so scientific in their search of scripture, they so want to stress the need of learning and obeying every syllable, every jot and tittle of the scripture, they end up exalting the scriptures to the point that the truth is loved for its own sake, instead of for the freedom it offers its adherents. In their attempts to observe even the most minute parts of the scripture, they lose sight of the big picture: love. Many churches like this become rigid and religious, more and more meticulous and zealous, and yet less loving. Like the Pharisees, they "strain out a gnat and swallow a camel."

Maybe you’re a young man or woman in a setting like this, and you\’re zealous to serve God and dissect the scriptures accurately. You dive into a commentary, dig in a bible dictionary, meditate on the word; you loath the untruths and presuppositions floating around the church, your heart’s desire is to see to it that only biblical Christianity is observed and upheld by your peers. You\’re well versed in deep topics like election, sovereignty, free will. You have a handy list of scriptures by which you define categorically what is or isn\’t a Christian, what a Christian does and doesn’t do. You’re armed and dangerous with knowledge and you study to show yourself approved.

Or maybe you’re a new believer, and you’re lost in the quest to navigate the endless differences between church denominations and their beliefs. For every answer you find in the bible, ten more questions pose themselves within the same text. You don\’t know whether speaking in tongues is for today, whether you need to be filled with the Spirit once or multiple times, whether babies need to be baptized or communion has to be given by a priest, or whether baptism is a sprinkling of or an immersion in water. All you know is that you believe God loves you and has saved you. What do you do with this knowledge?

Before you become immersed in scripture to the point of obsession, know this: If you misinterpret EVERY part of the bible (except of course, the death and resurrection of Jesus for your sins), you would uphold the entire will of God, you would fulfill every word of the law of God, if you only loved God with all your heart, and loved your neighbor as yourself.

It is said that the apostle John (the disciple whom Jesus loved), when he was stricken with old age, would be carried into his congregations simply muttering "love one another." When someone asked him why he would say nothing else, he replied: "Do this, and it is enough."


1 Comment
  1. mattmic 14 years ago

    You’re right, love is the most important. We know Christ because he loved us…as long as we have accepted him and walk in love towards God and man…we are doing well.


    Of course we should follow the bible too…but everything is in the context of extreme love

    0 kudos

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