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Romans 13:9: Commandments Are Summed Up In This Word: "You Shall Love Your Neighbor As Yourself"


Romans 13:9
[9] For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (ESV)

There are theologians who have added up all of the laws found in the Old Testament Law of Moses. The number is 613. Can you imagine trying to keep 613 laws? I cannot even imagine trying to remember what all the laws were about. How in the world could an average person know whether or not they were obeying or disobeying one of the 613?

Paul gives us the secret. All of the laws are summed up in this concept of loving our neighbor as ourselves. He references specific laws as examples. If you love your neighbor as yourself you will not commit adultery against your neighbor. You will not murder your neighbor. You will not covet what your neighbor has. It makes sense that loving our neighbor means looking out for their interests.

The Jews tried to trip up Jesus on the question of what was the most important of all the commandments. What intrigues me is that Jesus was the author of the Scriptures. So, of course he cannot be tripped up on what they mean. His accusers could misinterpret, but Jesus could not possibly be wrong on his own understanding of truth. Here is his answer:

Matthew 22:37–40
[37] And 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. [38] This is the great and first commandment. [39] And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. [40] On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (ESV)

In your daily walk with the Lord you do not have to memorize 613 laws. Aren't you glad? Love the Lord. Love your neighbor as yourself. The Holy Spirit will help you. Ask him.

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