Barry Newman's Blog

May 9, 2010

“The Heart” in the New Testament (part IX)

Filed under: The Heart — barrynewman @ 2:36 am

Concluding Remarks

Kardia in the New Testament is the main word that performs the same or similar role that lev/levav does in the Old Testament.  Other words, particularly dianoia, and nous generally serve a similar function but their frequency of occurrence is relatively low.

But in referring to the first and great commandment, why would the Septuagint use “dianoia” rather than “kardia” for heart (Deuteronomy 6: 5) and why in the New Testament are the references to “kardia” and “dianoia” (Matthew 22: 37; Mark 12: 30; Luke 10: 27)?  Furthermore, why does Matthew omit a reference to “strength” (“dunamis” in the Septuagint but “ischus” in Mark and Luke)?  (All three gospels along with the Septuagint refer to “psuche” (soul) and the Masoretic text refers to, “heart” and “soul” and strength”.)  One can only speculate about the differences.  However it could be that the gospels being dependent on a Greek text for the Old Testament used the word, “dianoia” occurring there but added kardia either for clarity or perhaps more likely because that was a Jewish way of referring to “heart”.  With respect to strength, perhaps for Matthew’s account, if one is to love God with all one’s heart and with all one’s soul and with all one’s mind, then it has to be with all one’s strength.

Whatever our thoughts on these issues, the commandment to love God with all one’s heart, and with all one’s soul and with all one’s mind and with all one’s strength” condemns us in our sinfulness, makes abundantly clear how we are to live and drives us to the grace of God in Christ, the only one who ever obeyed such a demand.


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