Apostle Paul’s Shema

One God, the Father, from whom all things, and we [belong/live toward] him.

And one Lord, Jesus Messiah, through whom all things, and we [live/have been saved] through him.

1 Corinthians 8:6 translated by NT Wright

Jews pray every morning and and the Shema—a reminder of the basics of faith. Part of it is famous to Christians (quoted by Jesus as the greatest commandment), Hear O Israel, the Lord is one, you shall love the Lord Your God with all your hearts and all your soul and all your strength.

Jesus added a second when asked for the greatest commandment also quoting Torah, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The famous first century rabbi Hillel, whom Jesus often quotes, says that this summarizes the Torah, all the rest is commentary.

New Testament scholar NT Wright in his huge study of Paul—Paul and the Faithfulness of God—sees the thought quoted above as Paul’s Shema for Christians. Perhaps Paul would also cite Hillel as all the rest is just commentary. Note: the verbs do not appear in the Greek text. Wright suggests the two from the context.

My heart is saddened whenever I see Christians search through the writings and twist interpretations and pull things out of context and build cases against other Christians—or even against all people.

I all could be so simple. Hard to do. But simple. At the end of his physical life on earth, Jesus summarized the two commandments and left us one major one—Love one another as I have loved you.

We belong to God, living through Jesus, loving one another. What gives us the power to begin to qualify who is included in one another?

Here’s a discipline that is hard to bring into our life—when we go out today and see a human person who is made in the image of God (that is, everyone), treat them with respect. When we start to repost someone’s cute, but cutting, “picture” on Facebook, think, are we reflecting this command of loving one another. When we talk to someone about someone else, are we talking in love or (pick one: hate, anger, envy, lust…)?

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