Matthew 7:12: The Golden Rule

Matthew_7-12

In the Verse of the Day for January 19, 2014, taken from the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus Christ expresses a command that has become known as the “Golden Rule.”  In a discussion of “Who invented the Golden Rule?” Dangerousintersection.org refers to a site called Palatine Hill, which lists some of the oldest formulations of the Golden Rule in reverse chronological order:

  • Ancient Egypt. – circa 2000 BCE “Do for one who may do for you, That you may cause him thus to do.” – The Tale of the Eloquent Peasant 109-110,
  • Hebrew Bible – circa 700 BCE “You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against your countrymen. Love your fellow as yourself: I am the LORD.”
  • Zoroastrianism. – circa 600 BCE “That nature only is good when it shall not do unto another whatever is not good for its own self.” – Dadistan-i-Dinik 94:5,
  • Buddhism. – circa 500 BCE “Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.” – Udana-Varga 5:18,
  • Confucianism. – circa 500 BCE “What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others.” Analects of Confucius 15:24,
  • Socrates. – circa 400 BCE “Do not do to others what would anger you if done to you by others.”

Even though the human heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked and no one can know it (Jeremiah 17:9), there is a corresponding desire to do good and to do the right thing. Paul personalizes this struggle and speaks of the conflict inherent in believers:

Matthew 7:18-22:

For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.

19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.

20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.

21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.

22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:

Jesus Christ offers a one-sentence statement that embraces all human behavior whereby he expresses God’s desire for all humanity in what has become known as “The Golden Rule.”

The Sermon on the Mount begins with Matthew 5 which offers the Beatitudes which are dramatically recited in this video which is a prelude to the verse in Matthew 7:

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One Response to “Matthew 7:12: The Golden Rule”

  1. A closer look at Matthew 7:12 | Dr. J's Apothecary Shoppe Says:

    […] entry for the Verse of the Day posted a year ago identified some of these parallel expressions: Matthew 7:12: The Golden Rule. Other passages of Scripture also reiterate this same […]

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