Theology Corner

Addressing commonly asked questions about Christianity from the perspective of a non-theologian

49. WERE THE OT TEN COMMANDMENTS REPLACED BY THE NT GREAT COMMANDMENT?

The 10 Commandments of the Old Testament are given in Exodus 20:2-17.  They may be summarized as:

  1. You shall have no other gods before Me.
  2. You shall not make for yourself an idol.
  3. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
  4. Remember the Sabbath day.
  5. Honor your father and your mother.
  6. You shall not murder.
  7. You shall not commit adultery.
  8. You shall not steal.
  9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
  10. You shall not covet your neighbor’s property.

According to common belief, these Old Testament commandments were replaced in the New Testament by the Great Commandment (Mat 22.36-40):

 

Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?  And He said to him, “YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.  This is the great and foremost commandment.  The second is like it.  YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.  On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”

 

But examine the same encounter in Mark 12:28-31:

 

What commandment is the foremost of all?  Jesus answered, “The foremost is: HEAR, O ISRAEL! THE LORD OUR GOD IS ONE LORD; 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.  The second is this: YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.  There is no other commandment greater than these.”

 

In Mark, Jesus begins His answer with …THE LORD OUR GOD IS ONE LORD.  This is essentially the first of the 10 Commandments as given in Exodus 20:3.  (The text is given with clarity in the NASB).  Consequently the first of the Old Testament 10 Commandments is hiding in plain sight in Mark 12:29 at the beginning of the New Testament Great Commandment.  Could the rest of the 10 Commandments also be hiding in plain sight within the New Testament?  Consider the following:

  1. The Lord our God is one Lord (Mark 12:29)
  2. You turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God (1 Thes 1:9).
  3. But I say to you, make no oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God (Mat 5:34).
  4. The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath (Mark 2:27).
  5. Honor your father and mother (Mat 19:19).
  6. You shall not commit murder (Mat 19:18).
  7. You shall not commit adultery (Mat 19:18).
  8. You shall not steal (Mat 19:18).
  9. You shall not bear false witness (Mat 19:18).
  10. Be on your guard against every form of greed (Luke 12:15).

Perhaps the 10 Commandments of the Old Testament were not replaced by the Great Commandment of the New Testament after all.  Perhaps one complements the other.