When sayings of Jesus are compared between the Pauline letters and the Synoptic Gospels in
an attempt to locate parallels, Galatians 5:14 and Romans 13:8–10 have frequently been put
forward as possible parallels to the Synoptic renditions of the great commandment of Mark
12:28–34 (Mt 22:34–40; Lk 10:25–28). These Pauline and Synoptic texts all contain the command
to love the neighbour, but the Synoptic texts have added the command to love God to the
command to love the neighbour. Paul never quoted the great commandment. Consequently, a
relationship between the verses is normally rejected. However, not all possibilities have been
explored. In the search for parallels between Pauline and Synoptic Jesus traditions it has been
overlooked that Paul and Matthew render the command to love the neighbour more than
once. Matthew delivers the command to love the neighbour three times. Only once he has
connected it to the command to love God. Matthew renders the single command to love the
neighbour twice, resembling the Pauline use of the command. Using the criteria for validating
parallels between Pauline and Synoptic Jesus traditions, including verbal agreement and the
unique use of the command to love the neighbour by Paul and Matthew, it is argued that a
connection between Romans 13:9 and Matthew 19:18–19 is likely.
INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS : The research explores the use of
Leviticus 19:18b by the New Testament authors. It is argued that the command to love the
neighbour was given high prominence in the early church, as it was used by the Synoptic
authors and by Paul to summarise Jesus’ ethical teachings.
G.J.S. is the supervisor of H.A.H.’s PhD thesis called ‘Paul’s
use of the Synoptic Jesus tradition’.