Leviticus 19 – the two loves illustrated

So Leviticus 19 – no don’t change that channel.  This is actually quite interesting.

The chapter divides into 16 sub sections marked by the phrase “I am the LORD your God”, or “I am the Lord”.  The call is to be Holy because God is Holy – a theme picked up in the New Testament as well.  There is a randomness to the logical mind to these various teachings.  But life tends to come to us “randomly” if in fact we mean that some of these teachings have to do with the love of God and others with the love of neighbor.  What we see is the interconnectedness of concrete life – not the logical categorization of theoretical life.

think of your day – is it divided discretely between love of God and neighbor, or are they mixed.  Perhaps you thank God for life when you awaken, then brew coffee for your beloved, then drive safely to work, then answer your email, then encourage a friend at the water cooler, then leave a nice tip at lunch, and stop by the gym on the way home.   You see, mixed, not antiseptically divided.

The immediate context of the command to love your neighbor is verses 11-18, or v. 9 to 18.  (in the first we divide bc v. 1-9 uses “I am the Lord your God” as the section marker, but v, 9 and 10 by content seems to fit with love of neighbor).

To love your neighbor then includes:

  • Be generous with your harvest – v. 9,10
  • Be honest in business v. 11,12
  • Pay a fair and timely wage – v. 13-14
  • Keep justice without favoritism – v. 15-16
  • Don’t hate, but love your neighbor – v. 17-18

Also note that “neighbor” includes the resident Alien (v. 34) – which sheds light on Jesus parable of the Good Samaritan, which was told to answer the question “who is my neighbor” which really means “who can I get away with not loving” in the heart of the Lawyer who spoke to Jesus.

So, as we say, it preaches.

Micah 6:8 What Does God Want?

Consider this part one. 

 Tonight we will be using the parable of the Vineyard in Matthew 20 with the 3rd to 5th graders to explain the idea of “doing justice” and “loving mercy.”    We tried earlier to walk humbly, but that is hard to do with that age.  There was more success in acting out the Good Samaritan parable (Luke 10) to illustrate what it means to “love mercy.”

Micah 6:8 – ESV
    He has told you, O man, what is good;
        and what does the Lord require of you
    but to do justice, and to love kindness,
        and to walk humbly with your God?

Words such as these need windows, and that is what the stories and parables provide.  The words are black and white, concepts with power and meaning, but the stories bring them to life

John 21 – Style or Significance

In the three repetitions of the questioning of Peter by Jesus on the beach post resurrection, there are interesting variations  in the vocabulary.  there are two words for love (agapao and phileo), two for tending the flock (bosko and poimaino), to for the flock (arnia and probatia) and two for know (oida and ginosko).  A lot of attention has been given to Jesus switching from the so called “higher” word for love (agapao) to the lesser word suggesting friendship (phileo).

F. F. Bruce states that the two words for love are used interchangeably when the OT word is translated, that agapeo does not necessarily indicate a higher sort of love, and John tends to use them interchangeably (the father loves the son in John 3:35 and 5:20 are agapeo and phileo respectively; “the disciple whom Jesus loved” is written with both words 13:23; 20:2).   (F. F. Bruce, The Gospel of John, Eerdmans, 1983, p. 441)

We agree that the variation is more stylistic – it is common in Greek and English to vary the words for the avoidance of repetition.  The point then seems to be that the three repetitions answer the three denials by Peter in the chapter 18.

With word-studies it is important to look at all the factors before leaping to a conclusion.