With all your mind?

Yesterday I drove to Gazos Creek State Beach with the elder teen, who asked me on our drive what it meant to love the Lord with all your mind. A great question!

The first thing that came to mind is that it’s new in the New Testament; Deuteronomy 6:5 lists heart, soul, and strength, but in Mark 12:30 Jesus adds “with all your mind.” The next thing that came to mind was 2 Corinthians 10:5, a verse I memorized some years ago because it was in one of those little cards from the Navigators—though I don’t quite know what this passage actually means. (I am trying to reform my mentally sloppy ways of memorizing Scriptures.)

I came home and looked at our reference books, which were of no help at all. The NIV Study Bible didn’t mention that “mind” was new in the New Testament, Brown’s Dictionary of New Testament Theology had a great article on “mind” but referring to a bunch of different words in the original. Vincent’s word studies explained what the Greek word was, but also made no mention that it was an addition to the Deuteronomy passage.

So what does it mean to love the Lord with all your mind? Does it mean we have to know more than what’s in those reference books? Does it mean we have to even have those reference books? Do we have to go to seminary or a seminary-like school? Well, of course not! Most of the people who heard Jesus (either in person or in Mark’s account) could never afford years of full-time study.

But they could all think. I suspect that many of them, like many of us, use their “intuitive mode” most of the time and don’t spend much energy in actual reasoning. Because it takes thinking, and in particular moral reflection (a not-entirely-natural process), to overcome (for example) our natural self-centeredness.

It also takes effort to understand parables. The canonical (pun intended) example is the parable of the sower in Matthew 13. Jesus is preaching from a boat and begins, “A farmer went out to sow….”

Afterwards, the crowd goes home. Some of them might say, “Great sermon, Rabbi.” Many of them think (but don’t say), “What the heck was he talking about?” A few of them hang around afterwards, or go home and think about it, or pray to God,asking for wisdom. Maybe they keep coming back. They listen some more. They hang around afterwards and listen, or maybe they ask their own questions.

Here is what I’m trying to do: when something in a sermon puzzles me, I sometimes try to figure it out. I tried this week: we were reading a passage from Matthew 6 together, starting at verse 19 (about treasures on earth). We read verse 20, then 21, then 24. Wait — what about 22-23? Sitting at the beach, I pulled out a New Testament and tried to see the pattern. I came to some conclusions, and though I’m not sure they’re 100% right, my mind was certainly engaged in figuring out what Jesus was saying, and I think my faith grew a little through that exercise.

Explore posts in the same categories: Parables

2 Comments on “With all your mind?”

  1. […] Waywords Talking along the way « With all your mind? […]

  2. chris Says:

    I think there may be a rather simple reason that Jesus included ‘mind’ in the list of places that get in on the Deut. list of loving God. That is that the OT conception of personhood didn’t divide mind from heart. The OT folks understood the heart as the seat of the will, thought and emotion. But Jesus (or was it the Gospel writer?) were contextualizing the message of Deut. to a word with increasingly Greek influences, which drew a separation as we do between the mind (reason) and heart (emotion).

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