The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery; you shall not kill; you shall not steal; you shall not covet,” and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this saying, [namely] “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Romans 13:9 NABRE
Paul in this section of the letter writing to the community in Rome is speaking about law. Paul has a view of the law that says it is filled when we love. In verse eight Paul says he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. He reiterates this message by listing several of the Ten Commandments, the seventh, sixth, eight and tenth selected in random order (see Exodus 20:13-17 and Deuteronomy 5:17-21) Paul says these and other of the commandments are summed up in the saying, “you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (see Leviticus 19:18) This is a summary of God’s requirements and places Paul within the tradition of Jesus, who set these words as the second great commandment alongside, “You shall love the Lord your God …” (Deuteronomy 6:5) Jesus adding this is the first and great commandment, on these commandments depend the law and the prophets. (Matthew 22:37-40, Mark 12:28-34) Paul mentions the second here in Romans, not the first, because the immediate question he is discussing is the Christian’s duty to his neighbor. The second set of commands in the Decalogue (the forth through the tenth commands) have to do with forbidding harm of a neighbor in any way; since love never harms another, love fulfills the law. The next verse has Paul making this very point.
Who is our neighbor is answered by Jesus in the story of the Good Samaritan, a stranger who helps another in need. We should love everyone and not wish them harm but in fact work toward their good, even over our own.
Do you love your neighbor? Do you go out of your way to help them?Paul is discussing the Christian’s duty to his neighbor, the second set of commands in the Decalogue forbid harm of a neighbor in any way; since love never harms another, love fulfills the law. Click To Tweet
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