Bible Study Notes

The Rich Young Ruler, Pt. 3, Loving Your Neighbors as You Love Yourself.

Luke Chapter 18
21. Concerning entrance into the kingdom, Luke 18:15-30.
  b. God is to be the priority over material possessions, vs. 18-25.

This section, known as the story of the “Rich Young Ruler,” is also paralleled in Mat 19:16-29; Mark 10:17-30, and comes right after the above section in all three Gospels. Luke also records a similar situation in Luke 10:25-28, where we noted this scene.

Vs. 20
Luke 18:20, “You know the commandments, ‘Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not bear false witness, honor your father and mother’.”

Jesus further responds to the young man’s question by quoting five of the 10 Commandments, which all refer to man’s relationship with man. The first four are in the Aorist, Active, Subjunctive mood for potentiality, with the Particle of Negation ME making them mandates of what not to do, while the last one is in the Present, Active, Imperative Mood of command. They are all mandates from God, but the last one is a command of what “to do.”

They are the 5th through 9th of the 10 Commandments. The order in Luke’s Gospel is from the LXX translation of the OT. Matthew orders them as in the OT, but puts the 5th Commandment last, Mat 19:18-19, as does Mark 10:19. Both Matthew and Mark added one more mandate. Matthew adds, “And you shall love your neighbor as yourself,” which is found in Lev 19:18, and is the second greatest commandment of all the commandments given in the Bible, Mark 12:31; Luke 10:27; Rom 13:9, which fulfills all laws, Gal 5:14; James 2:8.

Mark did not add that statement but instead added, “Do not defraud,” ME APOSTEREO, “steal, defraud, or deprive,” before the last commandment. This may be a way of stating “love your neighbor” to a rich businessman by not defrauding others or holding back wages, or may be related to “not coveting your neighbors things,” which is the 10th Commandment that leads to taking them from him.

“Perhaps this commandment should be understood as a summary of the 10th, "Thou shalt not covet" (Exodus 20:17). Or, it may be a citation from Leviticus where the command concerning loving one's neighbor also occurs (Leviticus 19:13, 18). Because these commands are all taken from the second tablet and can be summarized under the command, "Love your neighbor," perhaps the command concerning defrauding should be understood as a command not to withhold love owed to one's neighbor (Romans 13:8).” (Complete Biblical Library Commentary)

“While Mt. has the supernumerary, "love thy neighbour," Mk. has μὴ ἀποστερήαῃς, which probably has in view the humane law in Deuteronomy 24:14-15, against oppressing or withholding wages from a hired servant; a more specific form of the precept: love thy neighbour as thyself, and a most apposite reminder of duty as addressed to a wealthy man, doubtless an extensive employer of labour. It should be rung in the ears of all would-be Christians, in similar social position, in our time: defraud not, underpay not.” (Expositor's Greek Testament)

In Ex 20:12-16; Deut 5:16-20, we have the following order of the commandments found in Luke’s Gospel:

5th, Deut 5:16, “Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you, that your days may be prolonged and that it may go well with you on the land which the LORD your God gives you.”
6th, Deut 5:17, “You shall not murder.”
7th, Deut 5:18, “You shall not commit adultery.”
8th, Deut 5:19, “You shall not steal.”
9th, Deut 5:20, “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.”

From the order in Luke’s gospel we see:

1. Do not commit adultery, is the 7th commandment. The Greek reads, “ME MOICHEUO.” We noted this word in Luke 16:18, regarding divorce.

The purpose of the commandment is to positively promote the purity of the heart, especially in regard to the marriage relationship. In the 7th Commandment, we have the valuing of our and our neighbor’s marriage. The commandment specifically addresses adultery or marital infidelity. As the 6th Commandment protected Divine Institution #1, freedom of Volition, and the 5th Command protected Divine Institution # 3, Family, this commandment is for the protection of the privacy and the freedom of the relationship between the right man and the right woman, Divine Institution #2, Marriage.

Being addressed to men first, it is defined as a married person having sexual intercourse with another, or a single person having sex with woman or man who was either married or betrothed to another, that is, who had already begun the legal exchanges which preceded marriage; what we call today the “engagement.” Deut 22:23f. Sexual relations are the virtual seal of a marriage covenant, and adultery betrays the emotional-psychological intimacy that specially connects adult men and women within marriage.

Being the 3rd of the horizontal Commandments, adultery was seen as a serious sin in Israelite society. The family was the basic unit of the nation, and faithfulness to the marriage contract is the foundation for the family. The protection of the marriage protected the integrity of the family unit that was important because the family was the foundation of society and the nation. Compromise or collapse of the family meant compromise or collapse of society. Sex outside marriage involving married people is especially threatening to the marriage, family, and nation, and thus receives special focus among the 10 Commandments. Therefore, no one is allowed to have sex with any married person except his or her spouse, and no married person is allowed to have sex with anyone other than his or her spouse.

One who broke that contract was worthy of death through capital punishment for both the man and woman guilty of this act, Lev 20:10; Deut 22:22; cf. Lev 19:20, whereas fornication (cf. ZANA) did not carry this penalty. The method of death was in some cases, burning, Gen 38:24, and more generally stoning, Deut 22:23f.; Ezek 16:38-40; cf. John 8:5.

Therefore, for the protection and sanctity of Divine Institution # 2, Marriage, God gave us the commandment to not commit adultery and break the marriage covenant; either ours or the other party’s.

2. Do not murder, is the 6th commandment. The Greek reads, “ME PHONEUO.” Used in ten passages with 12 occurrences in the NT, it is predominately used for the reiteration of the 6th Commandment. Only Mat 23:31, 35; James 4:2; 5:6 use it otherwise.

This is the 2nd of the horizontal commandments, which helps to protect and preserve freedoms and society. The 6th through the 10th Commandments speak of the sanctity of one’s neighbor. They constitute recognition of the fact that the world does not exist for us, that all persons have value in the sight of YHWH, and that He will not allow us to trample upon the personhood of another for our own self-aggrandizement. The order in which they follow one another is as follows: They first secure life, then marriage, and then property against active invasion or attack. And then, proceeding from deed, to word, and thought, they forbid false witness and coveting.

Our duty towards our neighbors is summed up in Lev 19:18, in the one word, “love,” the Hebrew AHAB, in the phrase, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” The principle of this 6th Commandment is also noted in Gen 9:6; Lev 24:17; Jer 7:9; Hos 4:2, as well as elsewhere in both the Old and New Testaments.

“To murder,” is putting someone to death improperly, for selfish reasons rather than with authorization. Therefore, we have the command that one is not to “kill unlawfully,” that is, “you must not or cannot murder.”

There is a vast difference between killing and murder, not only in regard to the human race but also in comparison to the animal kingdom. It is used uniquely for the unauthorized taking of human life called homicide, predominately what we call today first-degree or premeditated murder, Psa 62:3; 94:6; Jer 7:9; Hos 4:2. It was also used for second-degree murder, or even third-degree murder called voluntary manslaughter. In addition, it is used for involuntary manslaughter that is usually translated, “manslayer.”

Murder is the unlawful killing of another human being with malice of forethought, expressed or implied by the motivation of arrogance from the Old Sin Nature when residing inside of Satan’ cosmic system. The motivation to murder comes from mental attitude sins, such as self-righteous arrogance, conspiracy arrogance, criminal arrogance, crusader arrogance, political arrogance, the arrogance of ignorance, the arrogance of unhappiness, or iconoclastic arrogance. Therefore, murder is both a sin and a crime related to cosmic involvement, and is often manifested in religion, as pagan religions of the ancient world used human sacrifice, which constituted murder. Therefore, we see the tie-in to the first 4 Commandments.

Murder is the major attack on freedom and self-determination as a human issue in the Angelic conflict. The prohibition of murder is designed for the preservation of Divine Institution #1, Volition. In committing murder, you are depriving another of his life, freedom, and free will. The operation of free will is the basic issue in the Angelic Conflict, and the Decalogue is designed to protect every free will during the course of the Angelic Conflict.

Murder is the invention of Satan and he is the motivator of murder. Murder is Satan’s genius to invent a system to attack freedom and self-determination, John 8:44.

3. Do not steal, is the 8th commandment, Ex 20:15; Deut 5:19, cf. Ex 21:16; Lev 19:11, 13. The Greek reads, “ME KLEPTO,” (steal, embezzle, cheat, etc.)

This is the 4th of the horizontal commandments, given to encourage the respect of other people’s property, and is closely related to the 10th Commandment, “you shall not covet…” This too is an important element in a stable society to protect the freedoms, privacy, and property of each individual.

Just as adultery is a violation against one’s family, so theft is the violation of one’s property. The 6th Commandment spoke of the theft of life, the 7th spoke to the theft of the purity and sanctity of the marriage relationship, and now the 8th speaks to the theft of goods and possessions.

To steal” means, “to take without right or permission generally in surreptitious way, taking that which does not belong to you, to get or effect secretly or artfully, to move, carry, or place surreptitiously, and to rob or commit a theft.” In the OT, it indicates wrongfully taking objects or persons, Gen 31:19, 32; Ex 21:16.

It has the sense of deceiving when used with the word for “heart,” in the Hebrew LEB, as when Jacob literally stole Laban’s heart, which meant he deceived him, Gen 31:20, 26. As such, it possesses a wider semantic range in Hebrew than the English concept conveys and includes things like kidnapping, 2 Kings 11:2, or selling one into slavery without legal right, Gen 40:15.

It also means stealing intangibles, (i.e., dignity, self-respect, freedom, or rights), which all are important. The word is also used for stealing in the sense of cheating; by cheating someone out of something, you are stealing from him. Finally, this verb is used even of robbers, who perpetrate violence upon their victims in the highway or the city street.

In the 3rd Commandment, man was forbidden to manipulate God for personal gain; here the attempt to use our fellow man for personal gain is prohibited. Thus, stealing threatens the social order and causes pain to others by undermining the ability to possess with sure access things that are useful and needful. The food thief makes others go hungry; the work animal thief interrupts farming; the kidnapper tears apart a family; the clothing thief makes another suffer from the sun or the cold. This property is typically gained through the expenditure of a person’s foresight, energy, and diligence. Thus, to appropriate another’s property is to also steal those personal qualities.

R.B. Thieme Jr. noted, “Both socialism and communism are characterized by the destruction of privacy and property. The concept of government ownership of property is contrary to the Word of God. The government does not have the right to own your property, nor does the government have the right to interfere with industry, much less own industry. The sanctity of private property is one of the most basic concepts of freedom. Therefore, at any time the government gets into industry or business, a nation is already in industrial slavery. We are in industrial slavery today in this nation because the government has violated this commandment through taxation of industry, through pressure upon industry and through legislation against industry. The result of such practices is economic disaster.”

4. Do not bear false witness, is the 9th commandment. The Greek reads, “ME PSEUDOMATUREO,” that means, “bear false witness, or give false evidence or testimony.”

The 9th Commandment calls for sanctity of truth in all areas of life, even though the vocabulary primarily reflects the legal process in Israel. In this Commandment, not only are the neighbor’s life, 6th Commandment; marriage and sexuality, 7th Commandment; and property, 8th Commandment; to be protected and honored, but so is his reputation, 9th Commandment. Therefore, the 6th through 9th Commandments acknowledge a person’s right to his life, home, property, and reputation.

As we have noted, all Ten Commandments are about relationships. The first four are primarily about one’s relationship to God, the vertical Commandments, which then transforms our relationships to others, detailed primarily in the final six; the horizontal Commandments.

The progression from murder, to adultery, to theft, to perjury, is clearly one of decreasing violence, but nonetheless, they are common egregious infractions against the integrity of mankind. A reversal of this list shows the progression of a society’s degradation.

This Command forbids:
1. Speaking falsely in any matter, lying, equivocating, and any way devising or designing to deceive your neighbor.
2. Speaking unjustly against your neighbor, to the prejudice of his reputation; (i.e., gossip and rumor).
3. Bearing false witness against him, accusing him of things that he does not know, either judicially, upon oath, (by which the third commandment, and the sixth, as well as this, are broken), or extra judicially, in common conversation, slandering, backbiting, tale-bearing, aggravating what is done wrong and making it worse than it is: Exaggeration. It includes any endeavor to raise our own reputation upon the ruin of your neighbor’s.

5. Honor your father and mother, is the 5th commandment. The Greek reads, “ TIMAO HO PATER SU KAI HO METER.”

This is a positive commandment and the first of the “horizontal commandments,” as it is directed to other members of the human race, compared to the first four commandments that are “vertical commandments,” which means directed to God. It emphasizes that the core of the covenant community is the family. Nevertheless, we also see the honoring of God our Father in this commandment when we honor our parents.

The prior commandments were all concerned in one way or another with the necessity of honoring God as a basic means of keeping His covenant. Now we have a commandment that follows logically because it is concerned with honoring our parents, who have the awesome role in the family of representing God to their children.

The command to honor, “value, regard, respect, etc.,” is a command to demonstrate in tangible, empirical ways the respect people must have for their parents. Children are to give the proper “weight” or “respect” to their parents’ position throughout their parents’ entire lives and after. To honor means more than to obey. It is to respect and esteem. It involves teachable attitudes by the children. It means to show them respect and love, to care for them as long as they need you, and to seek to bring honor to them by the way you live.

This 5th Commandment provides the link between the first four commandments, which emphasize the vertical man/God relationship, and the last five commandments, which emphasize the horizontal man/man relationship. The family structure provides the sphere of the most intimate relationship, through which the right relationship with God can be extended to a right relationship with fellow human beings. As such, loyalty and submission to one’s father and mother in the context of the Covenant is absolutely vital for the passing on of God’s blessing from one generation to another.

This Commandment is used six times in the NT, in three events. Five times it is used in the Gospels describing two events of Jesus Christ. Once it is used by Paul in his letter to the Ephesians. The principle is: It is just as wrong for a NT Christian to dishonor his parents, as it was for an OT Hebrew.
1. The first event is found in, Mat 15:4; Mark 7:10.
2. The second is found in, Mat 19:19; Mark 10:19; Luke 18:20.
3. The third is Paul’s usage in, Eph 6:2-3, which is the only time the attached promise is given to the Church Age, Eph 6:3, “So that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth.”

In all of these, we see that the honoring of father and mother, together with its promises, carries over into all time and everywhere.

Therefore, in mentioning these man to man, horizontal relationships, which the rich young man will later say he has kept, Jesus is pointing out that no matter how good of a relationship you have with humanity, no matter how good of a person you are towards others, it will not save you. These all speak to the 2nd greatest commandment, “Love your neighbor as you love yourself,” but the issue for salvation is your relationship with God, (the first four Commandments), which He will later show that the man was lacking. His response to Jesus’ advice, vs. 22-23, reveals that his possessions were his god. Therefore, he broke the first commandment, “You shall have no other gods before me,” Ex 20:3, which speaks of man’s relationship with God.

As such, there are no good deeds that we can do to gain salvation / eternal life / the Kingdom of Heaven. We only gain them through the free grace gift of God based on our non-meritorious act of faith in the Person and Work of our Lord Jesus Christ upon the Cross along with His subsequent resurrection to eternal glory.