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The Greatest Commandment

28 Now[a] one of the experts in the law[b] came and heard them debating. When he saw that Jesus[c] answered them well, he asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The most important is: ‘Listen, Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 Love[d] the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’[e] 31 The second is: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[f] There is no other commandment greater than these.” 32 The expert in the law said to him, “That is true, Teacher; you are right to say that he is one, and there is no one else besides him.[g] 33 And to love him with all your heart, with all your mind, and with all your strength[h] and to love your neighbor as yourself[i] is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” 34 When Jesus saw that he had answered thoughtfully, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.”[j] Then no one dared any longer to question him.

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  1. Mark 12:28 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “now” to indicate the transition to a new topic.
  2. Mark 12:28 tn Or “One of the scribes.” See the note on the phrase “experts in the law” in 1:22.
  3. Mark 12:28 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  4. Mark 12:30 tn Grk “You will love.” The future indicative is used here with imperatival force (see ExSyn 452 and 569).
  5. Mark 12:30 sn A quotation from Deut 6:4-5 and Josh 22:5 (LXX). The fourfold reference to different parts of the person says, in effect, that one should love God with all one’s being.
  6. Mark 12:31 sn A quotation from Lev 19:18.
  7. Mark 12:32 sn A quotation from Deut 4:35.
  8. Mark 12:33 sn A quotation from Deut 6:5.
  9. Mark 12:33 sn A quotation from Lev 19:18.
  10. Mark 12:34 sn The kingdom of God is a major theme of Jesus’ teaching. The nature of the kingdom of God in the NT and in Jesus’ teaching has long been debated by interpreters and scholars, with discussion primarily centering around the nature of the kingdom (earthly, heavenly, or both) and the kingdom’s arrival (present, future, or both). An additional major issue concerns the relationship between the kingdom of God and the person and work of Jesus himself.