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Deuteronomy 6:4-9 - a Study Guide

Hear this, O Israel:

The LORD is our God;
the LORD is the only God.

You must love the LORD your God,
with all your heart,
with all your soul,
and with all your strength.

These commands I am giving you today must remain in your heart,
and you must sharpen your children's understanding of them:
Talk about them both at home and away,
both when you go to sleep and when you wake up.
Wear them as a bracelet on your wrist,
and as a headband, to remind you.
Write them on the doorframes of your house
and on your gates outside.


A. The Need to Focus on the Spiritual Truths

Some of the visible "reminders" of devotion to these commandments (such as "wearing them as a headband") are not necessarily required today, because we are under a new covenant (Hebrews 8). But the attitudes that they represented are still required of all. God gave these visible reminders for the purpose of teaching spiritual truth.

Obedience to the truth, rather than to the reminder or symbol, is (and was) God's ultimate desire. (Two examples: Psalm 51:16-17 - a humble spirit is more important than religious activities such as sacrifices; and 1 Samuel 15:22 - obedience to God is more important than religious activities such as sacrifices) A person who is willing to perform the visible reminders, yet is not willing to live by the spiritual truth they teach, is very offensive to God. (Such people are like the Jews in the days of the prophets, or like the religious leaders of Jesus' day - Matthew 23:23-24. Such people turn others away from God - Romans 2:21-24.)

B. The All-Encompassing Nature of This Command

Many people do not understand the all-inclusive nature of this command. We must do all things in a way that glorifies and honors God - even eating and drinking (1 Corinthians 10:31). To do it in any other way is to sin.


Dennis Hinks © 1993, 1999
(incl. translation of Deuteronomy 6:4-9)