9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not bear false witness,” “You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
Verse nine singles out six commandments that manifest love in concrete terms. These commands also show acts that reveal a person who does not truly love others.
“For” shows the logical connection to verse eight. This verse demonstrates that the fulfillment of the Ten Commandments that relate to our neighbors is interrelated with love. This verse shows how love obeys the law.
Paul here began to quote four or five of the Ten Commandments (Ex 20:13-15, 17, all related to the second table—our relationship to our neighbors). He quotes the seventh, sixth, eighth, and tenth commandments in that order. The upshot of the following commandments is not to take unfair advantage of others. Love treats people fairly.
“You shall not commit adultery,”
The command not to commit adultery has to do with the principle of liberty for a person’s mate. Adultery violates the spouse. Love will not violate our mate or exploit another person sexually (Ge 39:8-9). The person’s partner then has liberty to know that his mate faithfully keeps this standard of the law.
“You shall not murder,”
People in a society free of murderers are free to live in peace in their community. Love does not violate the value of life. Love does not take a human life for selfish reasons.
“You shall not steal,”
Not stealing is a tacit recognition of the right to own capital. Biblically, people have the right to own things. Jesus’ parables show that it is right to possess capital and gain interest from it. The Bible does warn against usury but not capital itself. If we borrow from a bank, we expect fair interest rates, not usury.
If we live in a society where thieves are limited, people are free to engage in business and live with a sense of confidence in personal banking and so on. Love respects the property of others.
“You shall not bear false witness,”
This phrase is not found in some manuscripts.
True witness to the facts allows for a fair judicial system. People who love do not ruin the lives of others by falsehood.
“You shall not covet,”
Coveting another’s possessions creates animosity in society. There is an implied jealousy in coveting. We want what others have—their boats, expensive cars, and luxurious houses—even if the possessions we currently own are above average.
Mature people are glad that other people have success. If our neighbor possesses a boat, we are happy for them. We are not jealous of what they own.
and if there is any other commandment,
This statement shows that the commandments just cited do not cover the entire range of commands. Love leads us to find any of God’s standards for the wellbeing of others.
are all summed up in this saying, namely,
Paul here quoted from Leviticus 19:18. All the commands just given can be summarized in loving our neighbors by taking care of their wellbeing as we would love ourselves.
“You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
This verse is no justification for self-love or self-esteem. People naturally love themselves. It is true that people love themselves, but the self-love as presented today is not consistent with Scripture.
Love includes all our social obligations.
True love of self loves others. Christians are to love more than abstractly. Biblical love shows itself in what we do or do not do. God wants us to love in action. True love (agape love) cannot be turned to oneself. It is the very opposite; it is selfless love. Self-love is at the heart of what sin is.
Love does not require that we like our neighbor but simply that we keep his wellbeing in view no matter how many faults he may have.
Our verse does not teach the idea of keeping our self-image high. True love is not self-centered but others oriented (Ph 2:3-4). This verse is not a command to love self but simply a recognition that we do love ourselves.
Biblical love has standards. Without norms by which we love there can be no true love.