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Friends in Christ Weekly Message
October 25, 2014

“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
Matthew 22:36-40 (NRSV*)

What principle of interpretation (hermeneutic is the technical term for this) do you use to understand Biblical texts? The principles you use can make a lot of difference in your understanding of the meaning of scripture.

Fortunately the scripture reports that Jesus laid out for us a basic principle to use in understanding Biblical texts. All the law and the prophets (a typical description of the scripture used at that time) hang on the principle of loving God and your neighbor.

So when you see Biblical interpretations that are not consistent with the greatest commandments, you have reason to question them. Sometimes such interpretations are due to failure to consider the broader scriptural context and/or the cultural context applicable to the text. Sometimes they are due to ideologies which are not fully consistent with the call to love God and our neighbor.

When you are trying to understand scripture, look at it from the perspective which Jesus laid out here. What does the scripture mean in the context of the primacy of the call to love?

Bill Samuel

* New Revised Standard Version © Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.

©2014 Friends in Christ, Inc.

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Document last modified on Saturday, 01-Nov-2014 21:09:46 EDT