Matthew 22:37 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,

Spoken to: 

The Pharisees

Context: 

Pharisee asks what the greatest commandment is.

Greek : 

Matthew 22:37  Ἀγαπήσεις Κύριον τὸν θεόν σου ἐν ὅλῃ καρδίᾳ σου καὶ ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ ψυχῇ σου καὶ ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ διανοίᾳ σου:”

Deu 6:5 ἀγαπήσεις κύριον τὸν θεόν σου ἐξ ὅλης τῆς καρδίας σου καὶ ἐξ ὅλης τῆς ψυχῆς σου καὶ ἐξ ὅλης τῆς δυνάμεώς σου

Literal Verse: 

You should care for a master, that Divine of yours, in a whole heart of yours, and in a whole, that consciousness of yours, and in a whole, that thinking of yours.

My Takeaway: 

We cannot be commanded to love, but we can be told that we should love.

KJV : 

Matthew 22:37 Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

NIV : 

Matthew 22:37  ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.

Interesting and Hidden Aspects: 

This is a quote from the Greek Septuagint, Deu 6:5, but Jesus changes the preposition from ek to en. This changes the case of the object from genitive in the OT to dative in the NT. This is a major change because in a Greek preposition phrase the genitive indicates motion while the dative indicates no movement. The sense of the preposition in the OT verse is that hearts, souls, and minds are the instruments of caring, while in the NT version the sense is that they are the location of care.  In Hebrew, the suffix used on "whole" means "on," "at," "upon," "for," "to,"  "by," and "into" so it overlaps with a lot of Greek prepositions. In both the phrases in Greek, with all of the words chosen so that each of the three repeated phrases has exactly the same form. Jesus's use of these keywords in his teaching about the makeup of human nature, discussing in this article.

The pattern of three repeated phrases used here is common for Jesus, but it is common generally in oratory, and in this case, comes from the Old Testament. However, several things are hidden in Greek that do not come out in English. Two of the three keywords here, heart and soul are so interesting they already have their own articles explaining the Greek words' meaning in more detail. And the entire topic of what makes up a human, from Jesus's point of view, is discussed here.

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

Ἀγαπήσεις [32 verses](verb 2nd sg aor subj act) "Love" is 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." "Agape" takes its modern meaning of "brotherly love" from the English translations of the New Testament.

Κύριον [92 verses](noun sg masc acc) "Lord" is from kyrios (kurios), 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."

τὸν (article sg masc acc) "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the").

θεόν [144 verses](noun sg masc acc) "God" is from theos, which means "God," "divine," and "Deity."

σου [144 verses](pron 2nd sg gen) "Thy" is from sou which means "you" and "your." -- The word translated as "thy" is the possessive form of the second person pronoun.

ἐν (prep) "With" is from en, which means "in," "on," "at," "by," "among," "within," "surrounded by," "in one's hands," "in one's power," and "with." -- The word translated as "in" also means "within," "with," or "among."

ὅλῃ [23 verses](adj sg fem dat) "Whole" is from holos, which means "the whole," "entire," "complete," "complete in all its parts," "wholly," "altogether," "on the whole," "speaking generally," "utter," "actually," "really, "the universe," and "safe and sound."

καρδίᾳ [37 verses](verb 3rd sg pres subj act) "Heart" is kardia, which means "heart (the physical organ)," "the seat of emotions (especially passion, rage, and anger)," "inclination," "desire," "purpose," "mind," "the pith (in wood), and "the deep (of the sea)."

σου (pron 2nd sg gen) "Thy" is from sou which means "you" and "your." -- The word translated as "thy" is the possessive form of the second person pronoun.

καὶ [1089 verses](conj/adv) "And" is from kai, which is the conjunction joining phrases and clauses, "and," or "but." After words implying sameness, "as" (the same opinion as you). Used in series, joins positive with negative "Not only...but also." Also used to give emphasis, "even," "also," and "just."

ἐν "With" is from en, which means "in," "on," "at," "by," "among," "within," "surrounded by," "in one's hands," "in one's power," and "with." -- The word translated as "in" also means "within," "with," or "among."

ὅλῃ (adj sg fem dat) "Whole" is from holos (holos), which means "the whole," "entire," "complete," "complete in all its parts," "wholly," "altogether," "on the whole," "speaking generally," "utter," "actually," "really, "the universe," and "safe and sound."

τῇ (article sg fem dat)  Untranslated is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"), which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one" or, in the plural, "the ones."

ψυχῇ [33 verses](noun sg fem dat) "Soul" is from 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."

σου (pron 2nd sg gen) "Thy" is from sou which means "you" and "your." -- The word translated as "thy" is the possessive form of the second person pronoun.

καὶ "And" is from kai, which is the conjunction joining phrases and clauses, "and," or "but." After words implying sameness, "as" (the same opinion as you). Used in series, joins positive with negative "Not only...but also." Also used to give emphasis, "even," "also," and "just."

ἐν "With" is from en, which means "in," "on," "at," "by," "among," "within," "surrounded by," "in one's hands," "in one's power," and "with."

ὅλῃ (adj sg fem dat) "Whole" is from holos (holos), which means "the whole," "entire," "complete," "complete in all its parts," "wholly," "altogether," "on the whole," "speaking generally," "utter," "actually," "really, "the universe," and "safe and sound."

τῇ (article sg fem dat)  Untranslated is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"), which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one" or, in the plural, "the ones."

διανοίᾳ [2 verses](noun sg fem dat) "Mind" is dianoia, which means "thought," "intention," "purpose," "notion," "process of thinking," "thinking faculty," intelligence," "understanding," "thoughts expressed," and "meaning."

σου:”(pron 2nd sg gen) "Thy" is from sou which means "you" and "your." -- The word translated as "thy" is the possessive form of the second person pronoun.

KJV Analysis: 

Thou -- This is from the second-person, plural form of the following verb.

shalt  -- (CW)This helping verb seems to indicates that the following verb is the future tense or a command, but it is neither. It is in a form of possibility so "might" is more appropriate. Helping or auxiliary verbs are needed to translate the Greek verb forms into English.

love -- (CW) The Greek word translated as "love" means "to be fond of," "to greet with affection," and "to be contended with." This love is more associated with affection than passion. See this article on love for more information.

the -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article, but this article appears before the word for "God" not the word for "Lord." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those"). See this article for more. 

Lord -- The word translated as "lord" means "having power" and "being in authority."

thy -- The word translated as "thy" is the possessive form of the second person, singular pronoun. This word appears after the word "God" so "of yours."

missing "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those"). See this article for more. 

God -- The word translated as "God" means "God" and "deity." It is introduced with an article, so "the God." Jesus often uses it this way perhaps to indicate the one God as opposed to the pagan gods.

with -- The word translated as "with" in each of the three phrases means"in," "within," "with," or "among."

all - -- (CW)- The word translated as "all" in each of the three phrases means "whole," "entire," and "complete." This is not the common Greek word usually translated as "all."

thy -- The word translated as "thy" is the possessive form of the second person, singular pronoun. This word appears after the word "heart" so "of yours."

heart -- "Heart" is from the Greek word that means "heart" both the physical organ and as the seat of emotions, which we discuss in a larger Greek context in this article here. However, this phrase can be read as defining the "heart" and both.

and --The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and," but it also is used to add emphasis ("also") and, in a series, as it is here, is often best translated as "not only...but also."

with --The word translated as "with" in each of the three phrases means"in," "within," "with," or "among."

all -- (CW) The word translated as "all" in each of the three phrases means "whole," "entire," and "complete." This is not the common Greek word usually translated as "all."

thy -- The word translated as "thy" is the possessive form of the second person, singular pronoun. This word appears after the word "soul" so "of yours."

missing "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those"). See this article for more. 

soul, -- The word translated here as "soul" is a common word in Greek meaning "life," "soul," "consciousness," and "a sense of self." Christ uses it to mean primary "spirit" or "mind." This is especially clear here where "mind" is contrasted with "body." However, this also has the sense of contrasting the conscious mind (and memory) with the unconscious brain. This Greek word is our source of the English word "psyche." Read more about its meaning in this article.

and --The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and," but it also is used to add emphasis ("also") and, in a series, as it is here, is often best translated as "not only...but also."

with -- The word translated as "with" in each of the three phrases means"in," "within," "with," or "among."

all -- (CW) The word translated as "all" in each of the three phrases means "whole," "entire," and "complete." This is not the common Greek word usually translated as "all."

thy -- The word translated as "thy" is the possessive form of the second person, singular pronoun. This word appears after the word "mind" so "of yours."

missing "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those"). See this article for more. 

mind. -- "Mind" is from a word Christ rarely uses. It means "thought," "intention," "purpose,"and "meaning."

KJV Translation Issues: 

8
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "shall" does not mean the future tense.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "love" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "all" is not the common word usually translated as "all."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "God" is not shown in the English translation.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "all" is not the common word usually translated as "all."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "soul" is not shown in the English translation.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "all" is not the common word usually translated as "all."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "mind" is not shown in the English translation.

NIV Analysis: 

with your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.

Love -- (CW, WF) The Greek word translated as "love" means "to be fond of," "to greet with affection," and "to be contended with." This love is more associated with affection than passion. See this article on love for more information. It is not in the form of a command.

the -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article, but this article appears before the word for "God" not the word for "Lord." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those"). See this article for more. 

Lord -- The word translated as "lord" means "having power" and "being in authority."

your -- The word translated as "your " is the possessive form of the second person, singular pronoun. This word appears after the word "God" so "of yours."

missing "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those"). See this article for more. 

God -- The word translated as "God" means "God" and "deity." It is introduced with an article, so "the God." Jesus often uses it this way perhaps to indicate the one God as opposed to the pagan gods.

with -- The word translated as "with" in each of the three phrases means"in," "within," "with," or "among."

all -- (CW) The word translated as "all" in each of the three phrases means "whole," "entire," and "complete." This is not the common Greek word usually translated as "all."

your -- The word translated as "your " is the possessive form of the second person, singular pronoun. This word appears after the word "heart" so "of yours."

heart -- "Heart" is from the Greek word that means "heart" both the physical organ and as the seat of emotions, which we discuss in a larger Greek context in this article here. However, this phrase can be read as defining the "heart" and both.

and --The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and," but it also is used to add emphasis ("also") and, in a series, as it is here, is often best translated as "not only...but also."

with --The word translated as "with" in each of the three phrases means"in," "within," "with," or "among."

all -- (CW) The word translated as "all" in each of the three phrases means "whole," "entire," and "complete." This is not the common Greek word usually translated as "all."

your -- The word translated as "your " is the possessive form of the second person, singular pronoun. This word appears after the word "soul" so "of yours."

missing "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those"). See this article for more. 

soul, -- The word translated here as "soul" is a common word in Greek meaning "life," "soul," "consciousness," and "a sense of self." Christ uses it to mean primary "spirit" or "mind." This is especially clear here where "mind" is contrasted with "body." However, this also has the sense of contrasting the conscious mind (and memory) with the unconscious brain. This Greek word is our source of the English word "psyche." Read more about its meaning in this article.

and --The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and," but it also is used to add emphasis ("also") and, in a series, as it is here, is often best translated as "not only...but also."

with -- The word translated as "with" in each of the three phrases means"in," "within," "with," or "among."

all -- (CW) The word translated as "all" in each of the three phrases means "whole," "entire," and "complete." This is not the common Greek word usually translated as "all."

your -- The word translated as "your " is the possessive form of the second person, singular pronoun. This word appears after the word "mind" so "of yours."

missing "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article, which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those"). See this article for more. 

mind. -- "Mind" is from a word Christ rarely uses. It means "thought," "intention," "purpose,"and "meaning."

NIV Translation Issues: 

8
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "love" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.
  • WF - Wrong Form -  The "love" is not in the form of a command but something that "should" or "might" be done.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "all" is not the common word usually translated as "all."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "God" is not shown in the English translation.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "all" is not the common word usually translated as "all."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "soul" is not shown in the English translation.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "all" is not the common word usually translated as "all."
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "mind" is not shown in the English translation.

Front Page Date: 

Jul 16 2021