Luke indicated that the lawyer said that they should love their neighbor (καὶ τὸν πλησίον σου) as themselves (ὡς σεαυτόν), using the second person plural. There is something similar in Mark, chapter 12:3, where Mark indicated that Jesus, not the lawyer, replied that the 2nd commandment was like the 1st one. since it was about love. Not only were they to love God, but they were to love their neighbors as themselves. There were no other commandments greater than these 2 commandments of love. Everything was based on the love of God and neighbor. Matthew, chapter 22: 38-39 had Jesus reply also, not the lawyer, that they were to love their neighbors as themselves, since all the commandments of the law and the prophets hung on these two commandments. This second commandment was based on Leviticus, chapter 19:11-18, that has become the basic fundamental cornerstone of Judaism and Christianity. Leviticus further explained the Ten Commandments and your neighbor. They were not to steal or deal falsely with their neighbor. They should not lie, swear, or defraud their neighbor. They were not to keep the wages of a laborer, or revile the deaf or the blind. They should not render an unjust judgment, since they should treat the poor and the great with equal justice. They should not slanderer or profit from the blood of their neighbors. They were not to hate in their heart any of their relatives. They should not take vengeance or bear a grudge, because they should love their relatives and neighbors as themselves. All the commandments of the law and the prophets depended on these two commandments of loving God and your neighbor. Do you love your neighbor?
There is something similar in Matthew, chapter 22:39-40, and Luke, chapter 10:27, but in a more condensed version. This was based on Leviticus, chapter 19:18. A further explanation of the commandments in Leviticus ends with this basic fundamental concept of love your neighbor as yourself, which became the cornerstone of Judaism and Christianity. They were not to hate in their heart anyone of their relatives. They should reprove their neighbor, but not take vengeance on him. They were not to bear a grudge, because they should love them as themselves. Mark said that Jesus replied that the 2nd commandment (δευτέρα αὕτη) was like the 1st one about love. Not only were they to love God, but they were to love their neighbors as themselves (Ἀγαπήσεις τὸν πλησίον σου ὡς σεαυτόν). There were no other commandments greater than these 2 commandments of love (μείζων τούτων ἄλλη ἐντολὴ οὐκ ἔστιν). Everything was based on the love of God and neighbor.
There is something similar in Mark, chapter 12:31, almost word for word, and Luke, chapter 20:27, but in a more condensed version. This was based on Leviticus, chapter 19:18. A further explanation of the commandments in Leviticus ends with this basic fundamental concept of love your neighbor as yourself, which became the cornerstone of Judaism and Christianity. They were not to hate in their heart anyone of their relatives. They should reprove their neighbor, but not take vengeance on him. They were not to bear a grudge, because they should love them as themselves. Jesus replied that the 2nd commandment was like the 1st one (δευτέρα ὁμοία αὐτῇ) since it was about love. Not only were they to love God, but they were to love their neighbors as themselves (Ἀγαπήσεις τὸν πλησίον σου ὡς σεαυτόν). All the commandments of the law (ὅλος ὁ νόμος) and the prophets (καὶ οἱ προφῆται) hang (κρέμαται) on these two commandments (ἐν ταύταις ταῖς δυσὶν ἐντολαῖς).
One of the earliest protesters in Christianity was Arius (256-336 CE), the fourth century priest in Alexandria, Egypt. He believed that God the Father created the universe through the divinely created Christ, but that Jesus was a creature. Athanasius, the Bishop of Alexandria disagreed. The Roman Emperor Constantine called a general council at Nicaea in 325 to settle this dispute. The result was the definition that Christ was the Son of the Father begotten of the same substance – homousious. Jesus was truly divine.
The Gospel message is an interpretation of Jesus. Jesus did not write anything. We have his oral preaching about the Kingdom of God that was written and interpreted by his followers. Was Jesus just a historical peasant revolutionary? No, the Jesus of the inspired New Testament is the Pauline Risen Christ. Paul never met the historical Jesus, Jesus was number one for him. The biblical language is a confessional language, a love language. For the early followers of Christianity, as represented in the New Testament, clearly Jesus was unique for them. They were positive about Jesus.
Jesus may not be the only Savior. We can learn from other religions. New is not wrong, just like the ideas of slavery have changed. This psychology of faith says we have to follow the example of Jesus, really experience the presence of God in Jesus. The Christian mission to teach all remains, but Christianity is not the final or superior religion. Christianity is the best good news, not the only good news. We appreciate all colors, but those in love say that the most beautiful woman in the world is the women that that they love.
Christianity is an encounter within human experience. We push out towards the horizon, the boundary between earth and sky, the mystery of God. We seem to get to that horizon, but then it eludes us. We get glimpses of God in this horizon experience. You always know that there is more, and so it is with the friendship of Jesus. This is an active faith that goes beyond understanding, feeling and experience to a way of life. Experience is at the heart of all belief. We all have had a personal development to our faith. We live our discipleship of Jesus in justice, love, and healing, as our faith springs into action.
Monotheism that maintains that there is only one transcendent God. The Israelite belief in Yahweh, their one God, was the prime example of monotheism. Islamic faith with its belief in one God, Allah, is another later example of monotheism. Christianity took from Judaism its monotheism, but changed the Yahweh monotheism into a triune God of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
We all stand within a cultural tradition with concepts, ideals and values of what is a meaningful life. Christianity transmits the wisdom of the past and is always conservative, but sometimes prophetic. All Christian traditions use the Bible in their worship services and as a source of wisdom and spiritual development.
Irenaeus of Lyons (130-202) stated that there must be 4 gospels and only 4 because there were 4 corners of the earth. Thus, the Church should have 4 pillars. This indicated that as early as 200, there existed a set of Christian writings somewhat similar to what is now the 27 books of the New Testament, including the 4 gospels. However, most of our oldest manuscripts of the New Testament come from the 4th century when Christianity was the recognized religion of the Roman Empire.