Week 04

Step 01: Pause and Prepare

Find a quiet place and quiet your mind. Pause. Take a couple of deep breaths. This biblical practice is taught throughout the Psalms. Hit the mute button on all the other voices in your life. Clear your thoughts so God's Word can fill them. If you feel like rushing past this part that's how you know for sure you need to do it!

Think upon our foundational scriptures, then go to Step 02.

"For the word of God is alive and powerful."

Hebrews 4:12, NLT

Remember you're about to encounter the living God in His living Word!

"...train yourself in godliness." 

1 Timothy 4:7b, ESV

Our discipline to create time for devotions is essential. But it doesn't change our lives. It is God's Spirit alone that transforms us. Open your heart to God and read the scriptures! 

Step 02: Read the Scripture Passage

Matthew 22:34-40, NLT

But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees with his reply, they met together to question him again. 35 One of them, an expert in religious law, tried to trap him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?”
37 Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”

Want to read today's passage in a different version? Visit Bible Gateway and choose your favorite!

Step 03: Answer Four Questions

Grab your notebook and write down your answers to these four questions. It will help you engage with the text, process what God's Word is saying to you, and encounter God in your devotional time.
* If you find it difficult to figure out what the scripture passage is about we highly recommend getting a Study Bible. For now, we have provided the kind of notes a Study Bible utilizes to help you understand the text below.
Recommended Study Bibles

Question #1

What does the scripture say?

In your own words, what you think the scripture passage or story is about.

(Touch the dots for more questions.)

Question #2 

What does the scripture say to me?

What do you feel the passage is speaking to you in regard to your life or current situation?

Need a little help? Click here.

Question #3

What do I want to say to God about the text?

What emotions and thoughts does the text create in you? Communicate them in prayer.

Question #4

What difference will this text make in my life?

In what way does this text help you live for God?

What is Matthew 22:34-40 about?

This passage about the greatest commandment, and the one that follows it (verses 41-46), form the final conversation between Jesus and the religious leaders in Jerusalem. Jesus has just entered Jerusalem like a king and is wildly popular with the crowds. The religious leaders are outraged by it all. Now, they are attempting to trap Jesus by getting him to say something that they can use to try to turn the crowds against him. Instead, Jesus responds to their question with a very traditional—yet very powerful—answer. Jesus shows that what God desires above all is love. Love God and love people. It's that simple. But as we know, actually loving God and people is far more complicated. Jesus will go on to fulfill these commandments to love in his arrest, trial, beatings, and crucifixion. How will we show this love? That's the question ultimately left for us as we read this passage. It is a question not only for today, but for every day. Jesus said everything hangs on these two commandments. In other words, if you get love right, it opens the door to living the life Jesus died for you to have. Getting love wrong makes living that life impossible. Becoming love really is that central to becoming like Jesus.

Want more? Watch this video from Pastor Jason to see how the the next passage, verses 41-46, tie into the part of the story we read today. 

Matthew 22:41-46

Recommended Resources

ESV Study Bible

Life Application Study Bible