Mar 12:30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart...

Mar 12:30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength: this [is] the first commandment.

Alternative: And you will care about the powerful, your God, out of the entirety of your whole heart, and out of the wholeness of your spirit, and out of the wholeness of your intelligence, and out of the wholeness of your strength of body, this [is] the prime directive.

Wordplay: The four repetitions here change a single word, repeating four Greek words in between them. The emphasis is on the "out of the wholeness of your" repetition.

Hidden meaning: This is one of the clearest examples of the most common formation Christ uses in his saying, the formation that we call "three plus one." This form captures the three temporal aspects of life (body=strength, mind=thought, and emotional relationships=heart) and the eternal aspect, the spiritual.

The most interesting aspect here is that Christ put "spirit" in the middle of the series. It usually appears at the beginning or end. The implication is that heart, that is, emotion, comes first in terms of our love of God.

Thematically and Linguistically Related Verse(s): Mat 22:37-38 is the parallel verse in Matthew.


"Love" is from agapaô (agapao), which means "to be fond of", "to greet with affection", "to persuade", "to caress", "to prize", "to desire", "to be pleased with," and "to be contended with." This love is more associated with affection than passion. The Greek word for passionate love, especially in a sexual sense, is eros.  The word is seldom associated with sexual love though Christ uses another word, phileô, which means "to love", "to like", "to be fond of doing," and "to show affection" to express what "love" in the sense of like and dislike.

"Lord" is from kurios (kyrios), which means "having power", "being in authority" and "being in possession of." It also means "lord", "master of the house," and "head of the family."

"God" is from theos (theos), which means "God," the Deity."

"All" is from holos (holos), which means "the whole", "entire", "the universe," and "safe and sound." This is not the usually word translated as "all" in the Gospels, which is pas.

"With" is from ek, which means "out of", "from", "by," and "away from."

"Heart" is from kardia (kardia), which means "heart" and which we discuss in a larger Greek context here. It is a metaphor for "deep."

"Soul" is from psuchê (psyche), which means "breath", "life", "self", "spirit," and "soul." It has the clear sense of the conscious self and is often translated as "life" in the Gospels. It is also used to describe "the spirit" of things. It is often translated as "soul."

"Mind" is from dianoia (dianoia), which means "thought", "intention", "purpose", "notion", "process of thinking", "thinking faculty," intelligence", "understanding", "thoughts expressed," and "meaning."

"Strength" is from ischys (ischys), which means "strength of body", "might", "power", "brute force," and "motive force."

"First" is from prôtos (protos). In place, this means "the foremost." Of time, it means "the initial." In order, it means "the first." In math, it means the prime numbers. Of rank or degree, it means "the highest" or "the best."

"Commandment" is from entolê (entole) which means "injunction", "order," and "command."