Loving Others: Two Formulas by Patrick Henry Reardon

Loving Others: Two Formulas

Our Savior, when someone inquired, "Which is the first commandment of all?", answered by the formula of the Shema, with its Deuteronomic injunction that a man must love God with all his heart and being. Then Jesus, although no one pressed him further, thought it important to add that there is, in fact, a similar second commandment—this one from Leviticus—obligating human beings to love their neighbors as themselves. Perhaps most significant in this juxtaposition of mandates is the fact that both of them employ the same verb for "love," agapao.

It is instructive to observe that the Septuagint, Israel's Greek translation of the Scriptures, used this identical verb in both of the passages to which Jesus alludes (Deut. 6:5; Lev. 19:18). What is new here is the Lord's joining of these two commandments in a way that makes them inseparable (cf. 1 John 4:20–21).

Now with respect to the "second" commandment, the New Testament speaks of it in two forms. The first and dominant form is the Lord's direct quotation from Leviticus: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." This is how the commandment is expressed in multiple sources: James (2:8), Paul (Rom. 13:8–10; Gal. 5:14), and all the Synoptic Gospels (Matt. 19:19; 22:39; Mark 12:31; Luke 10:27).


Patrick Henry Reardon is pastor emeritus of All Saints Antiochian Orthodox Church in Chicago, Illinois, and the author of numerous books, including, most recently, Out of Step with God: Orthodox Christian Reflections on the Book of Numbers (Ancient Faith Publishing, 2019).

• Not a subscriber or wish to renew your subscription? Subscribe to Touchstone today for full online access. Over 30 years of publishing!

personal subscriptions

Purchase Print &
Online Subscription

Get six issues (one year) of Touchstone PLUS full online access including pdf downloads for only $39.95. That's only $3.34 per month!

RENEW your print/online

Online Subscription

Get a one-year full-access subscription to the Touchstone online archives including pdf downloads for only $19.95. That's only $1.66 per month!

RENEW your online subscription

gift subscriptions

GIVE Print &
Online Subscription

Give six issues (one year) of Touchstone PLUS full online access including pdf downloads for the reduced rate of $29.95. That's only $2.50 per month!

RENEW your gift subscription

Transactions will be processed on a secure server.

bulk subscriptions

Order Touchstone subscriptions in bulk and save $10 per sub! Each subscription includes 6 issues of Touchstone plus full online access to touchstonemag.com—including archives, videos, and pdf downloads of recent issues for only $29.95 each! Great for churches or study groups.

kindle subscription

OR get a subscription to Touchstone to read on your Kindle for only $1.99 per month! (This option is KINDLE ONLY and does not include either print or online.)

Your subscription goes a long way to ensure that Touchstone is able to continue its mission of publishing quality Christian articles and commentary.

more on bible from the online archives

27.4—July/August 2014

The Things Freely Given

The Bible, Sacred Theology & the Mind of Christ by Patrick Henry Reardon

32.5—September/October 2019

Peter's Sword

by Patrick Henry Reardon

24.3—May/June 2011

God's English

The Making & Endurance of the King James Bible, 1611-2011 by Barton Swaim

more from the online archives

30.6—Nov/Dec 2017

Odious & Deplorable

on C. S. Lewis, Brideshead Revisited & the Middle Things by Ben Reinhard

28.2—March/April 2015

As Goes Sweden

Neo-Pagan Family Policies Doom Any Recovery by Allan C. Carlson

31.5—September/October 2018

Taking Liberties

The Secular State Without the Decalogue by James M. Kushiner

calling all readers

Please Donate

"There are magazines worth reading but few worth saving . . . Touchstone is just such a magazine."
—Alice von Hildebrand

"Here we do not concede one square millimeter of territory to falsehood, folly, contemporary sentimentality, or fashion. We speak the truth, and let God be our judge. . . . Touchstone is the one committedly Christian conservative journal."
—Anthony Esolen, Touchstone senior editor

Support Touchstone