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The vast majority of translations of Deuteronomy 6:4-5 read something like this:

"Hear, O Israel, YHWH is our god; YHWH is one. And thou shalt love YHWH thy god with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might."

Assuming that the tradition of reciting this phrase (the Shema) is maintained almost universally in temple and home rituals and later on in synagogues, why does Luke 10:27 have the addition of the clause, 'and with all your mind?'

"And he answering said, 'Thou shalt love the Lord thy God out of all thy heart, and out of all thy soul, and out of all thy strength, and out of all thy understanding, and thy neighbour as thyself.'"

Is this something that happened when Hellenistic Jews redacted the Septuagint and made minor additions? Was it an inclusion by the third evangelist (Luke) for his Greek audience to understand better the first clause of 'all your heart'?

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  • These are the words of the lawyer who asked the initial question. Luke is reporting what the lawyer said. Your heading is incorrect in stating 'Jesus' wording of the ...' What Jesus said was 'What is written in the law ? How readest thou ?'
    – Nigel J
    May 29 '18 at 3:03
  • It appears to be in the least an interpolation of Deuteronomy 6:6.
    – user21676
    May 29 '18 at 8:51
  • 1
    The addition is possibly understood from verse 6. "And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart." (ESV, Dt 6:6)
    – Perry Webb
    May 29 '18 at 8:59
  • 3
    Because the New Testament was written in Greek, and, in that particular language, the word heart did not, at that time, carry the same deep meaning as in Hebrew. In order to express the latter, the word mind was employed.
    – Lucian
    May 30 '18 at 5:28
  • Welcome to the forum, Uriah. Be sure to include sources for all your assertions, your last paragraph in this case. What evidence can you cite in support of your assertion that "Hellenistic Jews redacted the Septuagint"? Thanks and kind regards.
    – Dieter
    Jun 1 '18 at 2:36
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I believe that the reference to “all your mind” is just a further explanation of the depth of the commitment required by the Old Testament Law. The OT law required perfection and complete obedience to the specified ordinances. So, the inclusion of “all your mind” is just expressing the true intent of the law understood by students of the scripture at the time.

You will notice that this phrase was spoken by Christ in Matthew 22:37 and Mark 12:30 and also spoken by the lawyer in Luke 10:27. So, again, this was a general understanding of the depth of the commitment of the OT law.

Matthew 22:37 (KJV)

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

Mark 12:30 (KJV)

And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.

In addition, you will notice, in Luke 10:27, the lawyer also includes “and thy neighbour as thyself”. This was not included in Deuteronomy 6 but specified in Leviticus 19:18.

Lev 19:18 (KJV)

Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the Lord.

This is further evidence of the general understanding of the commitment to love God in every way possible, which included the people He created. The law is full of commands to treat your neighbor well which was fully understood by the scholars of Christ's day.

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Uriah, I would say that your last suggestion for an answer is probably on the right track.

The writers of the gospels were apparently more concerned with bringing the full sense of the command in a way that was understandable to their audience rather than copying the LXX (or Hebrew) word for word.

Even in Matthew, who wrote to the Jews, there is a slight change. While Deut 6:5 has heart, soul and might/strength, and we can assume that this was also what Jesus said, Matthew has heart, soul and mind. It is possible that Matthew was first written in Hebrew, and if so, the third word could well have been the same Hebrew word as in Deut. Then the "mind" would come from the Greek translator of Matthew. We cannot know. In any case, all three gospel writers considered it important to include the mind, because they were writing in Greek.

It is true that the Hebrew concept of "heart" included both feelings and thoughts. (Gen 6:5 - thoughts of his heart; Deut 15:9 - an unworthy thought in your heart; 1 Chron. 28:9 - the LORD searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought; 1 Chron 29:18 - keep forever such purposes and thoughts in the hearts of your people; Prov 14:33 - Wisdom rests in the heart; Prov 15:28 - The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer; Prov 16:1 The plans of the heart belong to man; Prov 18:15 - An intelligent heart acquires knowledge; Matt 15:19 - for out of the heart come evil thoughts; Heb 4:12 - discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.)

In Greek as in English, the thoughts are in the mind, not the heart, so it is good communication to include "mind" for a Greek audience. To cover the meaning of Hebrew "heart" one needs both heart and mind in Greek and English.

Both Mark and Luke include the strength, but they use a different word for strength than found in the LXX - ischus rather than dunamis. The two words are synonyms. Mark and Luke also have the two last words (strength and mind) in a different order.

There is a difference in the Greek text that is lost in the English translations. Hebrew uses a general preposition somewhat like "in" (love God in all your heart). Matthew uses the corresponding preposition "ἐν" in Greek. The LXX uses a better Greek preposition ἐκ, meaning from or out of. Matthew has the more literal word ἐν from Hebrew, while Mark uses the ἐκ from the LXX. Mark was probably familiar with the LXX wording. Luke follows Matthew in using ἐν, but he seems to also be aware of Mark, since he like Mark has both mind and strength. Maybe Luke with his scientific mind placed "mind" last out of the four words in order to put some emphasis on the mind.

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Background
Judaism does not consider the Septuagint as inspired or as canon. If early Gentile Christians used it out of necessity it is still clear the New Testament writers did not always use it verbatim. In that sense they also agree it should not be treated as "inspired."

The LXX does have a role to understanding the OT as it reflects how Hebrew scholars interpreted the original (unpointed) Hebrew and, as the LXX was done before Christ, has no Christian basis. A good example is Isaiah 7:14 where the literal Hebrew העלמה means "the young woman" yet is almost always translated as "virgin" in Christian Bibles. However, "virgin" (παρθένος not παιδίσκη) is also how the LXX translator(s) interpreted the text. That is, Hebrew scholars, before the Christian-era understood the original text spoke of a young woman who was a virgin giving birth to a son. Obviously, the New Testament writers record an "inspired translation" which in this instance agrees with the LXX.

When the OT is cited in the NT the Greek as is essentially an inspired translation (which may or may not agree with the LXX) and, as is the case with the New Testament treatment of the Old in general, may include additional revelation which will explicate the Hebrew text.

Luke 10
The passage in Luke is not Jesus quoting the Old Testament:

25 And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” 27 And he answered... (Luke 10) [ESV]

"Lawyer" is νομικός, which in the NT is used of an interpreter and teacher of the Mosaic Law. Essentially his answer is like the work of the scholars who translated the LXX in that it demonstrates his interpretation of the Mosaic Law (which in this case Jesus approves). The lawyer pieced together a passage in Leviticus (19:18) with that of Deuteronomy. Here is the portion from Deuteronomy in question:

You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. (Deuteronomy 6:5)
ואהבת את יהוה אלהיך בכל־לבבך ובכל־נפשך ובכל־מאדך

You shall love the Lord your God with the whole of your mind, and with the whole of your soul and with the whole of your power. (LXX-Deuteronomy 6:5)
καὶ ἀγαπήσεις κύριον τὸν θεόν σου ἐξ ὅλης τῆς καρδίας σου καὶ ἐξ ὅλης τῆς ψυχῆς σου καὶ ἐξ ὅλης τῆς δυνάμεώς σου

And he answered, “You shall 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 your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:27)
ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν ἀγαπήσεις κύριον τὸν θεόν σου ἐξ ὅλης τῆς καρδίας σου καὶ ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ ψυχῇ σου καὶ ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ ἰσχύϊ σου καὶ ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ διανοίᾳ σου καὶ τὸν πλησίον σου ὡς σεαυτόν

The lawyer did not quote either the LXX or the Hebrew: enter image description here

Two points: (1) Both the Hebrew לֵבָב and Greek καρδία mean "heart" but can be interpreted as "mind." (2) Where the LXX translator chose to translate מאד as one word, δύναμις (force), the lawyer used two words ἰσχύς and διάνοια (strength and mind).

The first thing to note about the lawyer's treatment is that it makes specific what is implied in either the Hebrew or LXX. Namely, love with all of your "לֵבָב" or "καρδία" means both the heart and the mind. However, the lawyer accomplished this by placing mind (διάνοια) at the end of the passage which also has the effect of interpreting the Hebrew "might" (מְאֹד) as "strength and mind."

This is a better interpretation into Greek than the LXX since the meaning of the Hebrew מְאֹד, here is unusual as Bernard M. Levinson explains:

Might: Hebrew "me'od" is elsewhere an adverb meaning "very" or "exceedingly." It is used as a noun only here and in the Deuteronomistic description of King Josiah, which cites this verse in order to portray Josiah as the paragon of obedience to Torah (2 Kings 23.25). While the word's basic meaning is "might" or "strength," it was understood as "wealth" or "property" both at Qumran (CD 9.11; 12.10) and in early rabbinic literature (Tg. Jon.; Sifre). The two interpretations each call for full commitment to God, whether psychology or practical; both are preserved in the Mishnah (m. Ber. 9.5).1

Arguably the lawyer rejected all other interpretations of the period (LXX "force;" Qumran/rabbinic "wealth" or "property"), and understands the Hebrew "me'od" to meaning a person's entire strength and mind.

Conclusion
Neither Judaism nor Christianity disputes the lawyer's assertion that Deuteronomy 6:5 should be taught to include loving with all of the mind. Therefore the passage in Luke does not reflect corrupted texts or the influence of Hellenism. Rather, it demonstrates the teachers of Law were able to succintly explain the Mosaic Law using the Greek language:

And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.” (Luke 10:28)

The passage in Luke shows how a Jewish scholar of the period used the Greek language to summarize the Law. His interpretation was novel in that it did not follow the LXX, or the Qumran, or the rabbinic interpretations.


1. Bernard M. Levinson, The Jewish Study Bible, Edited by Adele Berlin and Marc Zvi Brettler, Oxford University Press, 2004, p. 380
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Despite the constant claims that the scriptures are incorruptible, they are evidently changed and corrupted, both within the scriptures themselves, particular in their path from the Hebrew to the NT via the Greek version of the scriptures, and in their transmission over time. Let us not kid ourselves on that point. I give several examples in this post on another site.

So in looking honestly at the example in the question, it should not be overlooked that in addition to that observation, the passage is an amalgam of Deuteronomy 6:6 and Leviticus 19:18. In addition, the Tetragrammaton has been replaced with KURIOS (Lord).

This might seem nitpicking but I think that it undermines the credibility of the scriptures as unchanging, especially in the matter of the Tetragrammaton. It is one thing that Elohim announces that from then on he will be known by the Tetragrammaton forever and another for it to fall into disuse by words more in keeping with Egyptian-Greco-Roman culture.

So yes, I do consider the mistranslations to be the intentional work of Hellenists.

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  • I downvotes your answer as it completely distorts the passage in Luke. Even if it was a complete "Hellenistic" corruption, it came from a Jewish teacher, not Jesus and so offers no support to your position. As to replacing YHVH with "Lord" that is in fact how contemporary Judaism handles the issue. It is "spot on" if you consider their point of view, which is one does not address God by using His name but by acknowledging your position relative to His. For example, the correct way to address the President is by his title, not "Joe." Jan 2 at 23:16
  • Are blaming the Jews or saying it's okay that they do it? [Psa 83:16-18 DBY] (16) Fill their faces with shame, that they may seek thy name, O Jehovah. (17) Let them be put to shame and be dismayed for ever, and let them be confounded and perish: (18) That they may know that thou alone, whose name is Jehovah, art the Most High over all the earth.
    – Ruminator
    Jan 2 at 23:31
  • But doesn't he expressly say that he wants his name known as Yehovah?: [Exo 3:15 NLT] (15) God also said to Moses, "Say this to the people of Israel: Yahweh, the God of your ancestors--the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob--has sent me to you. This is my eternal name, my name to remember for all generations. The Jews never removed the name from the Tanach. The Greeks removed it from theirs. That is evidence of corruption from the Hebrew to the Greek to the NT, no question.
    – Ruminator
    Jan 3 at 1:40
  • I count two corruption in the transmission of the Greek NT in the very passage that denies any corruptibility in the "word of the ??? LORD ??? IE: 1 Peter 1:22-25
    – Ruminator
    Jan 3 at 1:44
  • I am not blaming anyone. I am stating a fact. If YHVH is your God, then He should be your Lord and out of respect should be addressed by His title, not His name. Consider the example in Malachi 1:6-8. Do you think the people went to the governor with their offerings and addressed him by his name or by his title? Should those who recognize YHVH as the God of all the earth show Him less respect than a Roman official? Jan 3 at 1:46

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