Jesus highlights Deuteronomy 6:5 as the greatest commandment in the law. This commandment highlights three aspects of loving God, specifically with our hearts, our souls, and our strengths.

Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. Deuteronomy 6:5 NIV

What is distinct about each of these? Specifically, what does it look like to love God with all our hearts? What does it mean to love God with all our souls? What does it mean to love God with all our strengths?

  • 1
    When Jesus says it is the greatest commandment, He includes mind; see Mark 12:30 and Luke 10:27. – Reinstate Monica - Goodbye SE Oct 14 '11 at 14:54
  • 5
    Yes... what I've heard on that is that the Septuagint had rendered "strength" with a Greek word that was more properly translated "mind". So, Jesus included both translations. The Hebrew language was more "gutteral", whereas Greek were more cerebral, so perhaps that accounts for the Greek translation. I referenced the original text in Deuteronomy to hopefully avoid confusion. I guess that didn't work. :) – Narnian Oct 14 '11 at 14:58
  • There are two variants of Deuteronomy 6:5 in the Septuagint. One uses the word "kardia" - heart; the other uses "dianoia". Both versions refer to "soul" (psyche) and "strength" (dynamis). – user22553 Jul 6 '16 at 17:05

Matthew 22:37-38 (NIV)

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment.

This is the first and greatest commandment. I think that it's pretty ironic that nobody can answer what this means, considering the biggest forgivable sin is probably breaking the first and most important commandment.

1 John 5:3 (NIV)

In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome,

The Bible tells us that Love for God is obedience to Him.

With all your heart

Romans 2:15 (NIV)

They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.)

The commandments and laws of God are no longer obeyed by one nation, but instead these things are written on the individual believers hearts. So that each believer may be governed by the spirit and not by the flesh.

To love God with all of your heart is to allow all of His laws to govern you.

Matthew 5:28 (NIV)

But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

With all of your mind

Romans 8:6 (NIV)

The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.

We are also told that we need to think about good things and not evil things. We are to focus our entire mind on the things that please God. Not planning evil against a brother or doing things in private.

With all of your Strength

1 John 3:18 (NIV)

Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.

God tells us that we need not just SAY that we are Christian, but actually BE Christian. The parable of the two farmers sons is the perfect example of this. Jesus gives two examples of Children that were told to go work in the field. On said ok but didn't go. The other said no, but then eventually went.

Jesus asks the people, Who actually obeyed? The one that DID or the one that DIDN'T? It's an obvious answer, the son that DID is the son that DID.

To love God with all of your strength is to DO as He has asked you to do.

|improve this answer|||||

You could try and break it down, i.e. soul = makes Godly choices, heart = serving God with emotional commitment, strength = using your actual body to serve God and mind = using your intelligence govern your actions.

However, the Scriptures don't support any such breakdown as far as I'm aware and I think both in Deuteronomy and when Jesus said it, the intention was merely that you devote the WHOLE of yourself to God, whether it is your thinking, your sentiment or your physical activity. Note that he could've gone further saying: loving God with your eyes (only seeing what is appropriate and good), loving God with your mouth (only speaking what is holy and encouraging), etc., but you already get the idea that it's included under this broad instruction.

|improve this answer|||||

Mark 12:30-31 (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. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

From here we can see that there are two great commandments namely: loving God and loving thy neighbour.

Romans 13:9-10 (KJV) For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

Then according to Paul, loving thy neighbour is obeying the 5 half of the 10 commandments. If so, then when Jesus said to love God in 4 parts with all you heart, soul, mind and strength, what He really meant is obeying the first 4 of the 10 commandments. Because when you think about it, the first 4 commandments refers to God, and Jesus said that the greatest commandment is loving God. 4 parts = 4 commandments = perfect fit

Loving God with all your:


Exodus 20:3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.


Exodus 20:4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image... but rather "worship God in spirit" (John 4:24)


Exodus 20:7 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain but rather "study to shew thyself approved unto God" (2 Timothy 2:15) and "renew your minds" (Romans 12:2)


Exodus 20:8-10 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work

I learned from the Bible through this course:http://thesimpleanswers.com/2011/10/05/you-need-to-sign-up-for-the-free-bible-correspondence-course-by-mail/

|improve this answer|||||
  • 1
    Welcome to the site. We are glad you decided to participate. Please see What this site is about and How this site is different to help you learn how the site works. Also see the help center and take the tour to learn the site functions. I hope to see you post again soon. – 3961 Mar 21 '15 at 22:44
  • That's an interesting parallel - is it something you've heard or seen taught by others? If so, perhaps you could you include an appropriate reference by editing it into your answer. – bruised reed Mar 22 '15 at 4:54

The theory makes sense provided elsewhere here that Christ included two translations combining Septuagint's translation of a Greek word connoting "mind" as a more direct gloss for the actual hebrew word... However, under this theory from an OT professor "mind" would be better as being included as part of "soul" in these overlapping contexts to justify even moreso the author of Christ's words (or Christ himself literally likely in Aramaic) using the terms both "soul, mind, and strength" as inspired interpretations of "soul and strength" from Hebrew. Mind is part of one's whole being. Read it for an interesting view of "strength" relating to our resources, "soul" relating to the whole being (which includes the mind) which all starts and begins with the heart, our affections and loves at the center of our being from which all else springs.


|improve this answer|||||

I want to love God sincerely from my heart (truly from centrally within, lebab, and not just outwardly), infatuated with God in emotions and feelings like when I fell in love with my soul (nephesh), love Him sanely and with my intent and understanding (dianoia) and love Him with my might and strength in doing things for him with gusto (meod/ischus). The challenge is ALL of each.

|improve this answer|||||

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.