Exegetical Psychology

 

Love the Lord Your God

Heart, Soul and Spirit

Matthew 22:37

One day a Pharisee asked Jesus what is the great commandment? Jesus replied by quoting Scripture: “You shall love your God in all your heart, and in all your soul, and in all your reasoning” (Matthew 22:37). What did Jesus mean by using the terms heart, soul and spirit in the context of loving your God? 1Matthew provided: “ὁ δὲ ἔφη αὐτῷ· ἀγαπήσεις κύριον τὸν θεόν σου ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ καρδίᾳ σου καὶ ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ ψυχῇ σου καὶ ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ διανοίᾳ σου·”.

Section One

Loving with All Your Soul

1.1 Body, Soul and Spirit.  When Yahweh Elohim created Adam, Yahweh Elohim made the body first by forming it from the dust of the earth.  Then Yahweh Elohim into the nose of man blew the breath of the living ones and man became a living soul (Genesis 2:7). 2Yahweh Elohim blew into his nose breath of living ones (“יִּפַּ֥ח בְּאַפָּ֖יו נִשְׁמַ֣ת חַיִּ֑ים“) and the man became a living soul (“וַֽיְהִ֥י הָֽאָדָ֖ם לְנֶ֥פֶשׁ חַיָּֽה“).  Later, Elohim determined to ruin all flesh under heaven in which is spirit of the living ones (“ר֣וּחַ חַיִּ֔ים“); all which is in the earth shall  perish (Genesis 6:17). All flesh (“מִכָּל־הַבָּשָׂ֔ר”) having in it spirit of living ones (“ר֥וּחַ חַיִּֽים“) went into the ark (Genesis 7:15). When the flood came, all flesh with the breath of spirit of living ones (“נִשְׁמַת־ר֨וּחַ חַיִּ֜ים“) in their nose died (Genesis 7:22). As a side note, God formed (“יִּיצֶר֩”) the body just like He forms (“יֹצֵ֥ר”) the spirit in each man (Zechariah 12:1). Therefore, the living soul and spirit of lives remain separate and distinct from the body of flesh. So, the order of human creation was: (1) Yahweh Elohim formed the body from the dust of the earth; (2) Yahweh Elohim breathed the living soul into the nose of the body; and (3) the body received spirit of living ones at the same time it received the living soul.

1.2 Soul Love. God commanded the people of Israel to love “Yahweh your Elohim” with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your exceedingly. 3Moses wrote: “You shall love (“אָ֣הַבְתָּ֔”) Yahweh Your Elohim (“יְהוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֶ֑יךָ“) in all your heart (“בְּכָל־לְבָבְךָ֥”) and with in your soul (“וּבְכָל־נַפְשְׁךָ֖”) and in all your exceedingly (“וּבְכָל־מְאֹדֶֽךָ”). Compare the Elohim seeing that His creation was exceedingly good (“וְהִנֵּה־טֹ֖וב מְאֹ֑ד“) (Genesis 1:31). Soul love describes the essential life force in man, blown into his nostrils by Yahweh. The soul maintains a close connection to the body and the concerns of the body. The soul feels emotions (Mathew 26:38 (grief); John 12:25 (troubled); Acts 2:43 (fear); Acts 15:24 (upset); Romans 2:9 (distress); Hebrews 12:3 (discouragement) and so soul love has an emotional component, including warm feelings and strong attachment. The soul also exults, indicating that soul love brings exultation (Luke 1:47). Soul love comes from a purified soul (1 Peter 1:22). 

♦ Body, soul and spirit should never be confused as identical or interchangeable.

Yahweh Elohim breathed the breath of the living ones into Adam and he became a living soul.

Souls experience intense emotions and so soul love has an emotional component, including warm feelings and strong attachment.

Soul love brings exultation with a purified soul.

 

Section Two 

Loving with All Your Heart

2.1 Love and Heart. God used the term “love” and “heart” many times in the Old Testament. God explained that loving Yahweh your Elohim meant that you must serve Yahweh your Elohim in all your heart and in all your soul (Deuteronomy 10:12). 4Moses wrote that Israel must love Yahweh your Elohim, and must serve Yahweh your Elohim in all your heart (“בְּכָל־לְבָבְךָ֖”) and with all your soul (“בְכָל־נַפְשֶֽׁךָ”). See also the reverse construction of love Yahweh your Elohim, and serve Him in all your heart and in all your soul (Deuteronomy 11:13). Therefore, the soul and heart are not the same thing, and each of them must love Yahweh your God. Jesus distinguished “soul love” and “heart love.” 

2.2 Testing the Heart. Yahweh your God tests the hearts of Israel with the words of false prophets and false dreamers of dreams to find out if Israel loves Yahweh your Elohim with all their heart and soul (Deuteronomy 13:3). Therefore, loving God from your heart and soul means pure love, not distracted or polluted by false teachers and dreamers using signs that come true to seduce Israel to love other gods.

2.3 Circumcision of the HeartYahweh your God circumcised the hearts of Israel and their descendants to love “Yahweh your God” in all your heart and in all your soul, so that they may live (Deuteronomy 30:6). 

Soul and heart should not be confused as identical or interchangeable.

Soul love means pure love, not distracted or polluted.

Yahweh circumcised the hearts of Israel to love Him in all their heart and soul, so that they may live.

 

Section Three 

Loving with All Your Reasonings

 

3.1 Love and Reasoning. Following the Old Testament command, Jesus commanded people to love God “in all your heart, in all your soul, and in all your reasoning” (Matthew 22:37). 5Jesus commanded people to love God “in all your heart (“ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ καρδίᾳ σου”), in all your soul (“καὶ ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ ψυχῇ σου”), and in all your reasoning (ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ διανοίᾳ σου).” God translated the Old Testament term “exceedingly” (“מְאֹדֶֽ”) with the New Testament term “reasonings” (“διανοίᾳ”). See the study on dianoia. Based upon this verse, all the things Jesus mentioned were inside the spiritual part of a person. Therefore, at times, the term “διανοίᾳ” may refer to the part of the mind which provides reasoning. In Luke 10:27, Jesus referred to the same command, but changed things slightly and said “out of all your heart” using the preposition “out of” (“ἐξ”), indicating that the source of the love is your heart, and added loving your neighbor as yourself. Likewise, in Mark 12:30, Jesus said “out of all your heart” using the preposition “out of” (“ἐξ”). In the Old Testament, reasoning came from the heart (Genesis 6:5).

3.2 Reasoning and Knowing. As believers, we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us reasoning (“διάνοιαν”), so that we may know Him Who is true (1 John 5:20). Notice the gift of “reasoning” from God allows believers to know Him Who is true. God does not give us the part of the mind which reasons, but reasoning itself, so that we know him. Having the capacity to know is not the same as using that capacity to know. Therefore, I prefer the translation “reasoning.” Holy reasoning allows us to know God, which is eternal life.

3.3 The New Covenant and Reasoning. God said that He would make a new covenant and He would give His law into their reasoning (“διάνοιαν”) and write His law upon their hearts (“καρδίας”) and He will become their God and they will become His people (Hebrews 8:1010:16). As above, God changes both the reasoning and the heart of people with salvation. 

3.4 Summary of Love and Reasoning. Only believers can reason properly, because they have the mind of Christ, and God changes their nature, so that they are in nature children of God, no longer children of wrath. The glories of salvation change our reasoning, so that now we can follow the reasoning of God. 

 

Reasoning comes from the heart.

God puts His law into our reasoning and writes His law upon our hearts.

The glories of salvation change our reasoning, so that now we can follow the reasoning of God. 

 

Conclusion

God commands us to love Him in all our soul, all our heart and in all our reasoning. Our love for Him should be pure and focused. He has changed our heart so that we may love Him from a sanctified heart. He has placed His law into our hearts and minds. Jesus wants us to love Him with all that we are in Him.

 

HALLELUJAH !

 

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