In cooking, reduction is the process of thickening and intensifying the flavor of a liquid mixture such as a soup, sauce, wine, or juice by boiling. Reduction is performed by boiling liquid until the volume desired is reached by evaporation.
In mathematics, reduction refers to the rewriting of an equation or a mathematical expression into a simpler form.
In Chemistry, it is a chemical reaction in which hydrogen is added to, or oxygen is removed from, a compound. Opposite of oxidation.
Do any of these definitions apply when it comes to the reduction of the Bible’s commandments? Some are prone to say or insinuate that Jesus “reduced” all of the Bible’s commandments to just 2. Let’s take a look.
One of the Pharisees, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. ’This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
There’s simply no justification for the idea of reduction here. The Greek κρέμαται (krematai) can mean “hangs on,” ”depends on,” “is summed up in,” or even “is based on.” The same word is used to describe the two thieves “hanging” on each side of Jesus at the crucifixion. Luke 23:39
What’s the point? If we think that Jesus “reduced” all of the commands to only two, then we are likely to reduce their import in both being and making disciples. The making of disciples requires and is accomplished by the means of “Teaching them to obey all that Jesus commanded.” Matthew 28:19,20
A disciple of Jesus “hangs on to” “depends on,” and “bases” their followership on the sum total of all the commands so that they may obey the two greatest commands. They are not the only commands. A disciple is never made by teaching someone these 2 commands and then leaving them to figure out how. They knowledge and obedience of the commands are fleshed out in community. The how depends on, is hung on, and are summed up in ALL of the other of Jesus’ commands. If you reduce Jesus and His commands, you reduce and repackage Jesus Himself. A few questions:
What are the dangers in overemphasizing that there are only, really two commands?
What are “all” the commands of Jesus?
Is using the word “reduce,” when it comes to the greatest commandments, wise?
Would you like to see “ALL” of Jesus’ commandments laid out in an organized form with scripture references? CLICK HERE