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ETA: Dumb question can this be answered without regard to denominations? I forgot about denominations when I moved from Christianity stackexchange...


Do we have [commandment in first verse] if and only if [commandment in second verse and commandment in third verse]?

Jn 13:34 (ESV)

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.

Dt 6:5 (ESV)

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.

Lev 19:18 (ESV)

You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.

That is,

  1. In order to love one another as Jesus has loved me, I have to love my neighbour as myself and love the Lord my God with all my heart, soul and might.
  2. If I say that I love one another as Jesus has loved me, then that means I love my neighbour as myself and love the Lord my God with all my heart, soul and might.
  3. If I love my neighbour as myself but do not love the Lord my God with all my heart, soul and might, then it does not follow that I love one another as Jesus has loved me.
  4. If I do not love my neighbour as myself but love the Lord my God with all my heart, soul and might, then it does not follow that I love one another as Jesus has loved me.
  5. If I do not love one another as Jesus has loved me, then I do not love the Lord my God with all my heart, soul and might or I do not love my neighbour as myself.

Context:

My understanding is that since I cannot love my neighbour more than I love myself at any given time, loving one's neighbour as one's self does not necessarily mean that I love one another the way Jesus has loved me.

For example, I might have a personality disorder with low self-love (e.g. narcissists who are extremely selfish due to their low self-love) due to childhood trauma and the like. However, if I find myself renewed by a newfound conversion, in therapy or both, I may begin to love the Lord my God with all my heart, soul and might, then [missing step here] and so love myself more and thus increase my capacity to love others.

closed as off-topic by Dan, Abu Munir Ibn Ibrahim, curiousdannii, James Shewey, Nigel J Nov 29 '17 at 19:47

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    Firstly it is a new commandment,therefore not a combination of old ones. Secondly it relates solely to one another, therefore does not incorporate a commandment which relates to Deity. – Nigel J Nov 26 '17 at 0:12
  • @NigelJ Fine. Rephrase: Do we have (1) iff ((2) and (3)) ? – BCLC Nov 27 '17 at 12:33
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    Jesus summed up the Law in two commandments. But he also gave a new commandment.And then John adds another new commandment, to make two new commandments.Old covenant and new covenant. – Nigel J Nov 27 '17 at 15:36
  • @NigelJ yeah the law is a summary of a summary (yo dawg) right? Thanks for commenting – BCLC Nov 28 '17 at 4:21
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I don't think it makes sense to read Scripture as a sort of collection of algorithms.

Jesus' commandments were a fulfillment of the Old Testament commandments. They were the Old Testament commandments brought to perfection. We see this in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:21ff):

You have heard that it was said 'You shall not kill' ... But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment

You have heard that it was said, 'You shall not commit adultery' ... But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery

It was also said, 'Whoever divorces his wife ...' But I say to you ...

Again you have heard that it was said 'You shall not swear falsely' ... But I say to you ...

You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye' ... But I say to you ...

As Jesus Himself said, He did not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it (Matthew 5:17).

John 13:34 is another example of this. As you point out, there is already an Old Testament commandment to love one's neighbor. But the understanding of this commandment was that it applied strictly to those who are most deserving of our love, not to all men in general. Jesus had put this antiquated understanding of the commandment to rest in the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke's Gospel. Here is the same teaching in a different form. Theophylact's commentary on the passage explains:

One might ask, "Lord why is the commandment to love called new when it is found in the Old Testament?" The Old Testament commandment - Thou shalt love thy neighbor - means, "Pay back to your friend the love that you owe him, because he loved you first." Jesus teaches, "As I have loved you, that you also love one another. I freely loved you when you had not yet accomplished anything good. When your human nature was still idle and hostile, I took it upon Myself and made it holy. Therefore, you should also love one another freely. When your brother offends you, do not remember the offense." This is the new commandment of the New Testament: freely love your neighbor when you owe him nothing.1


1. Explanation of the Holy Gospel According to St. John (tr. from the Greek, Chrysostom Press, 2007), p.222

  • I like this idea of fulfillment. I think that perfectly describes Jn13:34 and strongly supplements the idea that we cannot love our neighbour more than we love ourselves. The Good Samaritan shows strong self-love to be able to love a rival race or whatever. Now that we're done nitpicking is Jn13:34 a fulfillment of Lev19:18 and Dt6:5? I mean yeah it doesn't make sense to make Jn13:34 and Lev19:18 equivalent. And don't nitpick when I say equivalent I mean Lev 19:18 is not sufficient for Jn 13:34. And that's fine because Jesus quoted Lev 19:18 along with Jn 13:34. – BCLC Nov 28 '17 at 4:17
  • Also does the context in anyway make things less algorithmic? Also I'm not sure you answered the question directly. Wonder if this is a non-STEM thing. Lots of my mental health professionals don't answer my questions directly. Maybe it's a me-thing. Hehe. Thanks for posting an answer. Hope to understand how it is an answer :p – BCLC Nov 28 '17 at 4:19

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