Jesus said unto him ,.... Directly, without taking time to think of it; and though he knew with what design it was put to him, yet, as an answer to it might be useful and instructive to the people, as well as silence and confound his adversaries, he thought fit to give one; and is as follows, being what is expressed in Deuteronomy 6:5 .
thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind ; that is, with all the powers and faculties of the soul, the will, the understanding, and the affections; in the most sincere, upright, and perfect manner, without any dissimulation and hypocrisy, and above all objects whatever, for this the law requires; and which man, in his state of innocence, was capable of, though now fallen, he is utterly unable to perform; so far from it, that without the grace of God, he has no true love at all to God, in his heart, soul and mind, but all the reverse; his carnal mind is enmity against God, and everything that is divine and good, or that belongs unto him: and though this is now the case of man, yet his obligation to love the Lord in this manner is still the same; and when the Spirit of God does produce the grace and fruit of love in his soul, he does love the Lord sincerely; because of the perfections of his nature, and the works of his hands, and because of the blessings of grace bestowed, and especially for Christ, the unspeakable gift of his love; and most affectionately does he love him, when he is most sensible of his everlasting and unchangeable love to him, and when that is shed abroad by the Spirit; "for we love him, because he first loved us", 1 John 4:19 instead of, "with all thy mind", as here, in Deuteronomy 6:5 it is read, "with all thy might"; and which clause is here added by the Syriac, Persic, and Ethiopic versions, as it is in
Mark 12:30 . The Hebrew phrase seems to denote the vehemency of affections, with which God is to be beloved. Though the Jewish writers
""with all thy heart", with thy imaginations, with the good imagination, and with the evil imagination; and "with all thy soul", even if he should take away thy soul; and "with all thy strength", with all thy "mammon", or riches; or otherwise, "with all thy might", with every measure he measures unto thee, do thou measure unto him;
that is, as one of the commentators says