What is the Sum of the Law and the Prophets?

Previously we saw that the Law and the Prophets refer to the first five books of the Bible, the Law and the books of the prophets and poetry.  Now let’s look at what Jesus says sums up the Law and the Prophets.

Matthew 7:12 (ESV) “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

Matthew 22:37-40 (ESV)

37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.
38 This is the great and first commandment.
39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
 

Galatians 5:14 (ESV) For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 

This really isn’t a new Law to love our neighbor.  The New Covenant portion is that our neighbor has been expanded to include everyone even the most despised or our enemies.  See even in Leviticus the Israelites were told to love their neighbor but that was their own people.  Now we are to love all people as ourselves, not just those who are like us; not just our own people. 

Leviticus 19:18 (ESV)  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. 

In case there was any doubt Jesus explained this concept several times. 

Matthew 5:43-45 (ESV)

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’
44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
 

Matthew 19:19 (ESV) Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 

Mark 12:29-31 (ESV)

29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.
30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’
31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
 

Luke 10:27 (ESV) And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” 

James is clear that fulfilling the royal law is “loving your neighbor as yourself”. 

James 2:8 (ESV) If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. 

See this takes you right back to Matthew 5:17 because Jesus fulfilled the Law not only by being the perfect, sinless law keeper, but by loving His neighbor as Himself to the end by giving up His life. 

Matthew 5:17 (ESV) “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.  

John 10:11 (ESV) I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 

John 15:13 (ESV) Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. 

Romans 5:7-8 (ESV)

7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—
8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
 

Ephesians 5:2 (ESV) And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. 

The sum of the Law and the Prophets is Love, as exemplified by Christ in giving up His life for us. 

We are called to do the same and then we have fullfilled the law. 

1 John 3:16 (ESV) By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.

James 2:8 (ESV) If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. 



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