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What must I do to obtain Eternal Life?

by Robert Randle  
6/18/2009 / Christian Living

Jesus had just wrapped up a lengthy discourse in the region of Galilee (Cp. Matthew 17: 22, 24) and was entering the region of Judea beyond the Jordan (Cp. Matthew 19: 1). It was in this vicinity that great multitudes came to Him to be healed and some Pharisees came to Him with questions about 'a man divorcing his wife for any cause.' Jesus uses this occasion for another teaching opportunity, and after blessing the little children, someone from the crowd asked Him the very words contained in the title of this study, namely, "What must I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus tells him to keep the commandments.

Exodus 20: 1-17{abbr.}
1. You shall not have other gods before Me
(v. 3).
2. You shall not make for yourself any graven ['carved/molten'] image (v.4).
3. You shall not take the Lord's Name in vain (v. 7).
4. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy (v. 8).
5. Honor your Father and your Mother (v. 12).
6. You shall not Murder (v. 13).
7. You shall not commit Adultery (v. 14).
8. You shall not Steal (v. 15).
9. You shall not bear False Witness against your neighbor (v. 16).
10. You shall not Covet anything that belongs to your neighbor (v. 17).

The man responded back, "Which ones?" The following is Jesus' reply:

Matthew 19: 18-19
(6) You shall not Murder; (7) You shall not commit Adultery; (8) You shall not Steal; (9) You shall not bear False Witness; (5) Honor your Father and your Mother; and You shall love your Neighbor as yourself.

Mark 10: 19
(7) Do not commit Adultery; (6) Do not Murder; (8) Do not Steal; (9) Do not bear False Witness; Do not Defraud; (5) Honor your Father and your Mother.

*Luke has 2 versions*
10: 25-27 ['version 1']
So He answered and said, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, with all your mind, and ['love'] your neighbor as yourself.

NOTE: This account does not contain a single quote from the 'Decalogue' ["Ten Commandments"] found originally in Exodus 20, but rather combines Deuteronomy 6: 5 and Leviticus 19: 18b.

After Jesus had commended him on his astuteness the scribe ['lawyer'] wanted to justify himself, and asked Jesus, "Who is my neighbor?" This leads to the perhaps controversial and not well received, at least in the cultural setting of that time among the Jews, what is now commonly known as, the "Parable of the Good Samaritan" (Cp. Luke 10: 30-37). Since the first version might not have been palpable to the contemporary Jewish worldview and doubtless received some antagonism or resistance, an alternative version of the narrative was constructed alongside the former one; but without the parable which honors any 'Samaritan.'

Luke 18: 20 ['version 2']
(7) Do not commit Adultery; (6) Do not Murder; (8) Do not Steal; (9) Do not bear False Witness; (5) Honor your Father and your Mother.

Leviticus 19: 1-18 {abbr.}
3. (5) Every one of you will revere his Mother and Father ['order reversed'], and (4) keep My Sabbaths.
4. (1) Do not turn to Idols nor (2) make for yourself molten idols.
11. (8) You shall not steal, nor (9) deal falsely, nor lie to one another.
12. (3) You shall not swear by My Name, nor shall you profane the name of the Lord your God.
13. You shall not cheat
[Cp. Mark 10:19; 'Defraud'] your neighbor nor (8) rob him.
16b. Nor shall you (6) take a stand against the life of your neighbor.
18. You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself {Cp. Matthew 19: 19}.

NOTE: Only Commandments (7) You shall not commit Adultery and (10) You shall not Covet anything belonging to your neighbor are missing from the original ten statutes which were given to Moses on fiery Mount Sinai as recorded in Exodus 20.

Deuteronomy 5: 6-22 {abbr.}
7. (1) You shall have no other gods before Me.
8. (2) You shall not make for yourself a Graven image.
11a. (3) You shall not take the Lord's Name in vain.
12a. (4) Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
16. (5) Honor your Father and your Mother
17. (6) You shall not Murder.
18. (7) You shall not commit Adultery.
19. (8) You shall not Steal.
20. (9) You shall not beat False Witness against your neighbor
21. (10) You shall not Covet anything that belongs to your neighbor.

And remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out from there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm; therefore, the Lord your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day. (vs. 15)

NOTE: This is different from the explanation given in Exodus 20:8-11, which was based on God resting from the six days of 'creation.'

To sum it all up then, Matthew, Mark, and Luke ver. 2 omit "Commandments" 1, 2, 3,
4, and 10. Matthew and Mark quote Leviticus 19 but use different verses. Luke version 1 and Matthew both use Leviticus 19: 18, but only Luke version 1 adds the additional reference in Deuteronomy 6: 5. Luke version 1 is actually the most profound and significant which encapsulates the very spiritual core of the true meaning, requirements and totality of the Law of God; which is attested by Jesus in Matthew 22: 36-40 [esp. v. 41]: "On these two commandments hang all the Law and the prophets."

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