What the Bible Says About Loving Our Neighbor

What the Bible Says About Loving Our Neighbor February 13, 2019

The Bible commands us to love God and to love our neighbor as ourselves, so what does that look like?

Loving God

Jesus tells us the very two greatest commands in all the Bible and they are found in Matthew 22:37-40 where Jesus says, “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 first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” If you do not love God, then you will have difficulty loving your neighbor. The Old Testament had laws preventing someone from taking revenge or bearing a grudge against their neighbor. The law stated, “You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord” (Lev 19:18). If someone wrongs us, we must remember to “never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord” (Rom 12:19), so first of all, we are to love God and then, “love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:31).

Loving Neighbors

Romans 13:8-10 shows us what loving our neighbors looks like, and it includes the fact that we “Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.” Just as Jesus said, all the law and the prophets pointed to loving God and loving our neighbor. This sums up the law as loving your neighbor “does no wrong to a neighbor.” Loving God and loving our neighbor fulfills what the law required. We could put it this way: “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets” (Matt 7:12). It is sin to hate or despise our neighbor, as Solomon wrote, “Whoever despises his neighbor is a sinner, but blessed is he who is generous to the poor” (Prov 14:21). Despising people is sin, so “Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me” (Rom 15:2-3). We have a direct, imperative command from Jesus “that you love one another as I have loved you” (John 15:12). That kind of love is a time-consuming, self-sacrifice. James wrote that “If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well” (James 2:8).

Loving Enemies

It’s easy to love those who love us and to love God, but what about loving those who hate us? I think we’ll need God’s help with this, but even so, Jesus still tells us to “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you” (Luke 6:27-28). Sadly, our neighbors can sometimes become our enemies, but we are still told, “Do not hastily bring into court, for what will you do in the end, when your neighbor puts you to shame? Argue your case with your neighbor himself, and do not reveal another’s secret, lest he who hears you bring shame upon you, and your ill repute have no end” (Prov 25:8-10). God loved us first…while still wicked, ungodly enemies of His (Rom 5:6-10), so we must love them first…even if they hate us. Just as God didn’t give us what we deserved (His wrath), and gave us what we needed (His grace), so too must we give people what they need, not what we think they deserve. This is how “we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him” (1 John 4:16), and this would mean that we “Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt 19:19). Loving our neighbor is commanded, and it doesn’t have a clause that says, “Only if.” Jesus didn’t seem to leave any exceptions for loving others (Luke 6:27-28).

Conclusion

Just as we have read, and Paul again explains, “the whole law is fulfilled in one word: You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Gal 5:14). As a matter of fact, “One who is righteous is a guide to his neighbor, but the way of the wicked leads them astray” (Prov 12:26). Love does no harm to a neighbor. Love believes the best in people (1 Cor 13:7). Love shows who Jesus’ disciples really are (John 13:34-35). If you enjoyed this article about loving our neighbors, why not share them with your neighbor right now, and in the meantime, let us live lives of obedience toward the command to love God and to love our neighbors, and fulfill what Jesus commanded, and that is, you are to “love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another” (John 13:34). It will be by our love for one another that “all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35).

Article by Jack Wellman

Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is a writer at Christian Quotes and also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.

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  • pud

    More of your constant selective quote mining and outright lies. Have you no shame janitor jack?

    The “bible” endorses slavery. It endorses owning other human beings as property. It is completely unambiguous about this no matter how you try to spin it.

    The “bible” endorses genocide. It endorses the killing of your neighbors right down to the children and animals. It is completely unambiguous about this no matter how you try to spin it.

    The LORD our God delivered him before us; and we smote him, and his sons, and all his people. And we took all his cities at that time, and utterly destroyed the men, and the women, and the little ones, of every city, we left none to remain. Deuteronomy 2:33-34
    So the LORD our God delivered into our hands Og … and we smote him until none was left to him remaining … from threescore cities … And we utterly destroyed them, … utterly destroying the men, women, and children, of every city. Deuteronomy 3:3-6

    And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox, and sheep, and ass, with the edge of the sword. Joshua 6:21

    You “claim” stupidly and wrongly that this BOOK is the “word of a god” ….then these words are only too clear.

    Thou shalt surely smite the inhabitants of that city with the edge of the sword, destroying it utterly, and all that is therein, and the cattle thereof, with the edge of the sword. Deuteronomy 13:15

    But of the cities of these people, which the LORD thy God doth give thee for an inheritance, thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth. Deuteronomy 20:16-17

    So smote all the country … he left none remaining, but utterly destroyed all that breathed, as the LORD God of Israel commanded. Joshua 10:40

    Thus saith the LORD of hosts … go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass. 1 Samuel 15:2-3

    FURTHER JANITOR JACK….you cannot “love” your neighbor more than yourself…it is utterly impossible nor should you. “Love” is earned not given. Some people deserve “love” some deserve only contempt…like you for lying to children and perpetuating this abhorrent cult of yours. Things freely given have NO value whatsoever. Only things earned have value. Only rare things have value. Spewing your “love” all over is impossible, fake, disingenuous, wrong, worthless, mindless, thoughtless and stupid just like every single thing you say and write.

    You need to grow up janitor jack…you need to be de-programmed from this sick blood death cult you work for.

    • Matthew 22:37

      Can Hitler raise anyone? Can a human tyrant reinstate anyone to life after killing them?

      Genocide is an absurd word to use in relation to the Bible when God’s Word reveals that God plans on resurrecting everyone one day. Some to a resurrection thru Jesus and some to a resurrection of judgment.

      Also God can read heart motives, the intentions of men and knows the future.

      How a person decides he can hold a God who knows a lot more than he does in contempt seems ridiculously shortsighted and ignorant to me.

      A person can never know what God knows but we can know that He intends to resurrect everyone because the Bible says everyone will be resurrected and mentions two resurrections.

      Why do unbelievers persist in carrying out and communicating a vendetta against God on this blog?

      It seems certain people can never admit that they are not God’s equal.

      If they can’t believe God can’t they at least admit that they reason shallowly and like to strip God of His higher status and divine attributes to suit their own evil purposes and
      understanding which they then project onto Him.

      Sick atheists. You are not enlightened to understand the Bible so what is your problem? Why do you keep deliberately misinterpreting God’s intentions? Why can’t you just admit you are interpretively in the dark without the gift of faith and may have reprobated yourself. God can turn a person over to a reprobate mind.

      How can someone with a reprobate mind interpret the Word of God?

      A reprobate has no tutoring from the Holy Spirit and no earnest deposit of the spirit from God so how can he interpret the Bible when his attitude is in rebellion and he refuses to submit to the leading of the spirit.

      Be careful of the blind guides, people. Their souls and heart motives are hosed and they seek to make others be like them and think like them.

      They only care about the now and have no care for their own future or the future of others.

      How come atheists ignore the future resurrection and make inappropriate comparisons between God and the actions of human tyrants?

      So corrupt and shortsighted of them.

      Don’t bother responding to me, atheists. I block most of you now because I know you are in rebellion and rebellion rules your thought lives.

      Maybe you did not receive the gift of faith because you were disobediently in rebellion and liked being mistaught by the world.

      Whatever your problem is you are not seeking to be holy while in rebellion to God or seeking to be reformed.

      • Genocide is not an absurd word with reference to the bible. What do you call the butchery of non combatants, including defenceless women, little children and babies? I call it what it is. GENOCIDE!

        If God does not exist, how can he raise anyone from the dead? What did little children and babies do that justifies their killing? How could God, if he/she is a God of compassion, healing-mercy and loving-kindness command the execution of little children and babies? Wouldn’t only a barbaric, bloodthirsty and violent god issue such a command? And if God does exist and is kind and loving, then isn’t it more likely that the power elite within Israel used this immoral justification to justify themselves to their ignorant people? They told them that God commanded that they kill little children and babies.

        And how can the bible be any Word of God? Isn’t it, in part, the words of barbaric, bloodthirsty, very violent and ignorant savages masquerading as some Word of God?

        • pud

          spot on

      • If God does not exist, then there is no Holy Spirit, nor any tutoring by such a non existent being. If this is true, then isn’t it Christians who are blind leaders of the blind?

      • pud

        1. It’s not “gods word” it’s the ramblings of religious lunatics in a man made storybook

        2. No one has ever “raised” anyone. Storybooks are not history

        3. As such an expert on “god” demonstrate that any “god” past or present ever existed. Fail

  • Matthew 22:37

    From gotquestions.org:

    Question: “Does the Bible condone slavery?”

    Answer: There is a tendency to look at slavery as something of the past. But it is estimated that there are today over 27 million people in the world who are subject to slavery: forced labor, sex trade, inheritable property, etc. As those who have been redeemed from the slavery of sin, followers of Jesus Christ should be the foremost champions of ending human slavery in the world today. The question arises, though, why does the Bible not speak out strongly against slavery? Why does the Bible, in fact, seem to support the practice of human slavery?

    The Bible does not specifically condemn the practice of slavery. It gives instructions on how slaves should be treated (Deuteronomy 15:12-15; Ephesians 6:9; Colossians 4:1), but does not outlaw slavery altogether. Many see this as the Bible condoning all forms of slavery. What many fail to understand is that slavery in biblical times was very different from the slavery that was practiced in the past few centuries in many parts of the world. The slavery in the Bible was not based exclusively on race. People were not enslaved because of their nationality or the color of their skin. In Bible times, slavery was based more on economics; it was a matter of social status. People sold themselves as slaves when they could not pay their debts or provide for their families. In New Testament times, sometimes doctors, lawyers, and even politicians were slaves of someone else. Some people actually chose to be slaves so as to have all their needs provided for by their masters.

    The slavery of the past few centuries was often based exclusively on skin color. In the United States, many black people were considered slaves because of their nationality; many slave owners truly believed black people to be inferior human beings. The Bible condemns race-based slavery in that it teaches that all men are created by God and made in His image (Genesis 1:27). At the same time, the Old Testament did allow for economic-based slavery and regulated it. The key issue is that the slavery the Bible allowed for in no way resembled the racial slavery that plagued our world in the past few centuries.

    In addition, both the Old and New Testaments condemn the practice of “man-stealing,” which is what happened in Africa in the 16th to 19th centuries. Africans were rounded up by slave-hunters, who sold them to slave-traders, who brought them to the New World to work on plantations and farms. This practice is abhorrent to God. In fact, the penalty for such a crime in the Mosaic Law was death: “Anyone who kidnaps another and either sells him or still has him when he is caught must be put to death” (Exodus 21:16). Similarly, in the New Testament, slave-traders are listed among those who are “ungodly and sinful” and are in the same category as those who kill their fathers or mothers, murderers, adulterers and perverts, and liars and perjurers (1 Timothy 1:8– 10).

    Another crucial point is that the purpose of the Bible is to point the way to salvation, not to reform society. The Bible often approaches issues from the inside out. If a person experiences the love, mercy, and grace of God by receiving His salvation, God will reform his soul, changing the way he thinks and acts. A person who has experienced God’s gift of salvation and freedom from the slavery of sin, as God reforms his soul, will realize that enslaving another human being is wrong. He will see, with Paul, that a slave can be “a brother in the Lord” (Philemon 1:16). A person who has truly experienced God’s grace will in turn be gracious towards others. That would be the Bible’s prescription for ending slavery. – end quote

    Many Christians, particularly certain Quakers, led the abolition of African chattel slavery movement and participated in obtaining women’s suffrage (voting) rights.

    Too bad that in their anxious desire to condemn the Bible, the many opponents of the Bible do not even bother to know key differences between ancient world slavery and modern chattel slavery.

    • The topic is “What the bible says about loving our neighbour”. What does this justification of bible slavery have to do with this topic?

      You seem to want to use this website to propagandise your theological views no matter how relevant they may be to the topic or how far from the topic they are. Can slavery (biblical or otherwise) ever be justified? Is it right for one person to own another, even if the person sells themselves into slavery to pay off debts? Shouldn’t all forms of slavery, past and present, be abolished?

      • Matthew 22:37

        You are mistaken, troll.

        pud opened up the topic of slavery.

        I will put you back on block now.

        I don’t take conversations with atheist trolls incapable of self reflection and of controlling their own boorish behavior seriously any more.

        It seems you lack the motivation to be a genuine seeker also.

        I’m not a control freak so I am leaving off conversing with confirmed atheists determined to deny the existence of God although they cannot prove it and bend over backwards to avoid trying to prove it.

        I find denying the existence of God without being able to prove it irrational. Too irrational for me to hang around much longer.

        God bless anyway!

        • Are you a complete fruitcake? You may as well believe in the existence of fairies as you cannot prove their non-existence.

          You are a control freak and you are out of control. You are the most unpleasant person that I have come across on the net. You are so self-righteous and continually use abusive language towards atheists, contrary to your master’s command to love those you consider to be your enemies. You are a false Christian.

    • pud

      Bullshit from another of your weasel apologists. Your book condones the owning of other humans as property. PERIOD. It allows for the ownership and sale of human beings.

      • Matthew 22:37

        Everyone is owned by God by right of creation. The devil doesn’t legally own anyone as he didn’t create anyone or anything.

        If people are so unwise or have such bad fortune that they think they their best course is to can entrust themselves to other human beings as slaves then how is God responsible for their reasoning that way?

        Some people can fall into desperate circumstances and/or life could be considerably harder for some than others.

        Nevertheless the Old Testament shows God placing limits on human evil, greed and kidnapping for His people.

        How is He responsible for the actions of people who refuse to consult Him?

        You never look to defend God, pud. The Bible says God is holy but you always mudsling.

        What is the matter with you?

        • pud

          Claim, assertion, make believe, delusional fantasy cult think

          Demonstrate that ANY “god” ever existed

          Demonstrate that we were “created”

          I am not “owned” only those who desire to be a slave subscribe to your sick vision of reality

          The biblical slaves were not volunteers you idiot..your stupid wicked book gives explicit permission to TAKE the women of conquered peoples as slaves. Fathers had express permission to SELL their daughters

          There is no “him” to consult you crazy lunatic

          There is no “god” to defend

          What is the matter with you?

          • Matthew 22:37

            tl; dr

            The burden is on you to get your heart right with God and stop overstepping personal boundaries trying to bully the people who are busy doing that.

            Why is it you are a burden shirker?

            Revelation is given by God to the individual. You refused to receive it, pud, so how are you qualified to opine on scripture without faith, reverence, love and humility for God in your heart?

            You are a burden shirker.

            Jesus took away the burden for everyone but you were too busy serving your own
            motives to even acknowledge him as per Romans 10:9.

            I hope you see the light and repent someday!

            Philosophers are not higher than God y’know.

            Sin is a burden not a pleasure and Jesus came to relieve people of it.

            You have been arguing to keep people laden with their sin burden so you must be a really weak willed person who likes his sin. Even though sin enslaves and damages people.

            Ever seen a drug addict unable to escape his sin. Some never escape it. Some have to find themselves living under a bridge before they try to escape it.

            That is sin. Sin is a reality. Sin can really damage your heart, mind, will, conscience, emotions and gut if you stay too dedicated to it.

            Philosophers change positions and opine. It’s all a self validation game. Who’s right? Who’s more intelligent? But they are fallible men. They build a set of ideas and another man comes along and tears their set down while they build their own and another comes along and tears them down, etc. etc. ad infinitum.

            God tells the truth because He knows.

            God builds people up. The world tears people down.

            So choose who you learn from wisely.

            I talk too much. Bye!

            I hope you start dealing with reality soon! God Bless!

          • Matthew 22:37

            Sorry, you have such a simplistic mind and want to simplistically apply the Western thinking of today to an ancient culture without taking into account the social evolution that has occurred over thousands of years and owes a good part of it’s social progress to Christian values.

            As I pointed out to you before sanctity of life values by Christians and Jews led to the ending of worldwide infanticide.

            Perhaps, you are alive today because those values protected one of your ancestors.

            Back on block. There’s no need for me to keep reading your propaganda.

          • pud

            “Block on” “Block off” You’re one fucked up dude.

            The “word of god” condones slavery and owning other human beings as property.. FACT. Doesn’t matter when as the “word of god” has never been amended has it.

            Religion and religious ideological wars have killed millions, Your “god’ killed everything and promises to finish the job any day now. FACT….a delusional ridiculous psychotic fact

          • Matthew 22:37

            Using the “f” word on a Christian blog? That just proves you have issues. Antisocial, xenophobic and narcissistic as well.

            You have a profane mind and display it regularly with your coarse talk and attempts to verbally bully and control others different from you.

            If you cannot acknowledge you are a sinner in need of grace then please seek medical help.

            Christians are not suppose to sit around reading people determined to stay unsaved’s profane comments.

            You are just proving what a sinner you are by your inability to bridle your tongue and respect people.

            Such a lack of self control is unholy.

            You come over here to break the peace every day with people who never did a thing to you in real life and that’s like a Nazi walking into a Jewish house or business to upbraid them from their own learned internal evil projections.

            You can’t control your own internal evil so you come to vent your evil on other people who come to this blog to fulfill a peaceful personal purpose.

            Nobody should be reading this comments section while you attempt to preside over it so evilly.

            You are an evil influence. Your own words prove that you let evil rule you and have control over you and I want to learn your unholy rage and attitude.

            That’s a rhetorical question. I don’t.

          • pud

            Demonstrate that such a thing as “sin” actually exists.
            Demonstrate that any such “god” exists

            I don’t respect you, your cult, janitor jack who makes a living lying to people. Respect is earned not given. You cannot address any issues proving what a coward you are and how frail your delusional grasp on reality is. Better run along now and do some more prayin!

          • Matthew 22:37

            You can stop mocking Jack for being a janitor. The fact he was a janitor isn’t evil. It just shows he needed a job, that the world needs janitors and that he was humble enough to take the job.

            He doesn’t respond to you because you seem to be out of control. Lots of people don’t respond to uber out of control aggression. Why would a holy person allow evil to have concourse with him every day.

            There should be limits to evil. Unfortunately, some people let evil overrun them like Hitler did. Then these evil people try to rule others and communicate their own evil nature to them through teaching and propaganda. Remember Hitler sent the young off to Hitler Youth bootcamps so that xenophobe could train up the young Germans the wrong way to hate on Jews, gypsies, communists, Jehovah Witnesses, etc. Anyone Hitler perceived as an internal threat to his power was to be destroyed or jailed.

            That is who you think like pud. You are a Hitler or Lenin/Stalin/Mao in the making.
            No one is more intolerant than a xenophobic, anti-theist militant atheist. A militant atheist always demonstrates his xenophobic, antisocial and narcisstic tendencies in his words first. The deeds come later.

            I hope you see the light and get control of yourself. Hating on people trying to get free of sin and maintain some godly behavior in themselves by following Christ’s example is not evil.

            You are all mixed up. Unchecked sin can do that to a person. Why do you think so many religions aim at ruling the passions?

            Because people can become overrun with evil passions until they are out of control of themselves and a threat to others.

            Jesus was never a threat to anybody and neither were his disciples. They made the lame walk, the blind see and healed lepers.

            Really if you object to such a benovolent personal example as Jesus displayed then you are not being rational.

            Pray to God to make you into an overcomer and He will. One step and one day at a time.

            Have a great day. Think about it. Jesus did not come to condemn this world but to save it from sin. God loves everyone all the time. He loves the sinner but hates the sin and Jesus came to separate us from the self destructive sins of ourselves and others.

          • Matthew 22:37

            You are either a slave to godliness or a slave to sin.

            God set His people free of slavery to Pharoah in the Exodus so He could lead His people into a more godly way of living.

            But the people enslaved to sin always want to meddle with the ungodly and transmit evil ideas to them.

            Evil is communicable like leprosy.

            Holiness is like cleanliness and must be maintained on a daily basis.

            God set the Israelites free so they could be a light to the other nations but they had trouble maintaing their set apartness.

            If you let evil ideas rule in you or give Satan a foothold then you can backslide into evil.

            You never acknowledge sin and you have let it have it’s way with you and control you as you prove by your out of control rebellion on this board every day.

            You should see the need of repentance from your own behavior but if you are too full of evil to overflowing you may have passed a point where you are now a reprobate.

            You cannot prove God does not exist yet constantly come to this blog to preach rebellion and communicate evil to people.

            Why don’t you just admit you are out of control of yourself and seek help from God. If you can’t do that then see a psychiatrist.

            An anti-religion obsession like you have is xenophobic and you manifest your xenophobia in a very narcissistic and antisocial manner.

            I hope you see the light some day. God loves everyone all the time. It is sin that is a human being’s internal and external mortal enemy as it makes a person slave to it.

            Have a blessed day and examine yourself to see if you let sin dominate you and your thought life. Our thoughts lead to action.

      • Matthew 22:37

        Wrong again. That’s not an apologist site.

  • pud

    “Commands” love…compulsory love or else…what a grotesque concept. You and your cult are sick

  • Brien
  • Rudy Schellekens

    Yes, I know that love is important. But it goes beyond accepting everything our neighbor does. I find it interesting that you did not quote 1 John 5, about love being expressed in the obedience of God’s commandments. And that goes beyond (blind) acceptance of what is happening, or what my neighbor does.
    I love my kids, unlimited. But that does not mean I will let them do whatever they want. Should they break the law, I will help my children to be held accountable – even if that means taking them to the police station.
    When I see my fellow believer do something wrong, I have to act on that. I have to “restore such a one gently…” But it starts off by recognizing wrongdoing for what it is. As I would be a bad parent by not holding my child accountable when laws are broken, I am a bad believer when I do not help broken believers.
    I find it interesting that you do quote 1 Corinthians 13 – but not, for example, chapter 1 – division, chapter 2 walking after worldly philosophies, 3 where he starts off with saying that they are worldly, , 5, 6, 78, 9, 10, 11 all passages where Paul is speaking about the things which are going wrong – without accepting them, he admonishes, and calls for change. That is because of his “constant care for the churches…”
    Would you say that Paul is judging, or that he is expressing his love and concern for these believers?
    What about the words of Jesus in the letters to the seven churches? Of the 7, there is only one which he does not condemn for behavioral issues?
    What about John about Diotrephes? Paul about Alexander and Hymenaeus? What about his words re John Mark?
    It seems we are slowing but surely losing all balanced outlook and approach to Scripture and God’s expectation. And speaking of that, we are called to be imitators of God (some translations have watered that one down, too). God is love – but that love incorporates discipline (Hebrews 12).
    Let’s get back to a balanced outlook on Scripture, where we are not afraid to call “sin” for what it is, “sin.”