What Is The Most Important Thing Taught in the Bible?
HINT: It's taught in the Old Testament as well as the New (and, FYI, it's not about you).
If I were to ask you to write down the most important things taught in the Bible, what do you think you might include on your list? Worship, prayer, discipleship, faith, heaven, grace, the Trinity? Now this next question is a little harder. Which of the topics that appear on your list would you end up placing at the very top? In other words, what is the most important topic in all of Scripture? Would you be able to come up with a single answer to that question, or do you think it’s just too difficult to rank biblical topics in this way?
You may be tempted by the thought that because the Bible is God’s inspired word, all its precepts are of equal weight and value. Yet, Jesus told the Pharisees, “You tithe mint and dill and cumin, but have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness” (Mt 23:23). Now of course it wasn’t that tithing mint, dill, and cumin were unimportant things, but according to Jesus they apparently carried less weight and significance when compared with the much more important themes such as justice, mercy, and faithfulness.
There is also another passage in Scripture where a lawyer asked Jesus which of the commandments found in the law of Moses was the greatest. And as you may recall, Jesus didn’t end up saying that all the commandments were of equal value and importance, but he instead cited the words of Deuteronomy chapter 6, which says, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” This he said, “is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets” (Mt 22:36-40)
In light of this, perhaps we could say that “loving God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength” is the most important thing in all of Scripture. Well, if we consider carefully the lawyer’s original question, he didn’t actually ask Jesus, “What is the most important thing in all of Scripture,” but rather, “What is the most important commandment recorded in the Law of Moses?” This, as we’ll see, is an important distinction. The thing we should notice at this point, however, is that Jesus didn’t seem to have any difficulty ranking various biblical themes in the order of their importance. And so, in light of this, what do you think every Christian should place at the very top of their list? What biblical idea should be considered the thing of first importance?