The Two Great Commandments

The Life and Teachings of Jesus and his Apostles, Instructor’s Guide (Rel 211–12), (2000), 39–40


Theme

The Savior taught the singular importance of developing pure love, first for God and then for all others.

Theme Analysis

  • A.

    Charity, or the pure love of Christ, is a requirement for exaltation.

    1. 1.

      The pure love of Christ means that we love God and others as he did.

    2. 2.

      The ability to develop this love is given through the Spirit.

  • B.

    When we love God with all our heart, mind, and strength, we have laid the foundation for our salvation.

    1. 1.

      When we love God properly, he becomes the most important thing in our lives.

    2. 2.

      We prove our love for God when we do those things that please him.

  • C.

    If we truly love God, we will also have charity for our fellowman.

    1. 1.

      A man who says he loves God but does not respond in love toward his fellowman is deceiving himself.

    2. 2.

      When we love as Christ loved, the spiritual welfare of all men becomes of great concern to us.

Study Sources

New Testament Reading Assignment

Matthew 11:25-27; Luke 10:17-42; 11:1-54.

Course Manual

Chapter 16, “The Two Great Commandments”

Standard Works

Moroni 7:44-48. What is charity?

1 Nephi 11:8-23. What was the meaning of the tree which Lehi saw?

John 3:16, 17. Why did the Father send his Son into the world?

Matthew 26:36-42. How did the Savior show his supreme love for his Father?

John 15:12, 13. Did the Savior exemplify the second great commandment as well as the first?

1 Corinthians 13:1-13. What are the characteristics of the pure love of Christ?

2 Nephi 4:21. Is it possible to follow the Savior in developing this perfect love?

1 John 2:9-11; 3:14-17. What is the relationship between loving God and loving our fellowman?

Basic Library

Teachings, p. 9. Perfect love as a safeguard.

Teachings, pp. 240-42. Is there evidence here that Joseph Smith had developed charity?

Discourses, pp. 271-75. Some practical aspects of showing love.

A of F, pp. 525-26. Love is a fulfilling of the law.

Additional Sources

ElRay L. Christiansen in CR, Apr. 1956, pp. 113-15. The need to be charitable.

Thomas S. Monson, Instructor, Sept. 1965, pp. 348-50. To love as Jesus loves.

Some Suggestions for Presentation

(Ideas Other Teachers Have Used)

Scriptural Examples of Those Who Had Developed Charity

On a handout or on the chalkboard, the teacher could refer to the following scriptural examples of those who really kept these two great commandments in their mortal lives.

  1. 1.

    Abraham. Genesis 22:15-18. Why was Abraham so blessed of the Lord?

  2. 2.

    Joseph of Egypt. Genesis 39:7-9. What kept Joseph from sinning?

  3. 3.

    Ruth. Ruth 1:14-17. What can we learn from Ruth’s love for her mother-in-law?

  4. 4.

    David and Jonathan. 2 Samuel 1:23-27. What was the source of the deep friendship between these two young men?

  5. 5.

    Stephen. Acts 7:55-60. How closely did Stephen follow the example of his Savior in exhibiting love?

  6. 6.

    2 Nephi 4:21. How real was charity to Nephi?

  7. 7.

    Enos. Enos 9-11. After tasting of the love of God, what concerned Enos?

  8. 8.

    Moroni. Moroni 10:1, 4. Why was Moroni fleeing? Why did he write his book?

  9. 9.

    Joseph Smith and Hyrum Smith. D&C 135:1. Why did the Prophet and his brother give their lives at Carthage?

  10. 10.

    The Savior. John 15:12, 13; 1 Nephi 19:9. How is he the greatest example of perfect love?

Why Is the First Commandment to Love God? (A Discussion)

The instructor might ask the following questions to help the student understand why the Savior placed the two great commandments in the order he did.

  1. 1.

    Who is the source of love? (See 1 John 4:7-10.)

  2. 2.

    Who alone can empower mortals to perfect their love for one another? (See 2 Nephi 4:21.)

  3. 3.

    Is it possible to love God and not love his children? (See 1 John 4:19-21.)

  4. 4.

    What can happen if we put the second commandment first? (See Romans 1:25-30.)

  5. 5.

    What did Jesus mean when he made the statement worded in Matthew 10:37?

Further Insights on Charity

It might be well to consider the material in lesson 36 on charity. See 36-3 in the Interpretative Commentary; see also the later part of the section Points to Ponder (right after 36-12 “What the Pure Love of Christ Does and What It Does Not Do”).

(Note: The IS instructor needs to be particularly aware that if he uses the above material in conjuction with this lesson it will weaken its applicability when he arrives at lesson 36.)