Daily Word

The Golden Rule | Matthew 7:12

12 “So then, in everything treat others the same way you want them to treat you, for this is [the essence of] the Law and the [writings of the] Prophets.

Matthew 7:12 (AMP)

The Golden Rule

This is probably one of the most oft’ quoted Bible verses: “Treat others as you would like them to treat you.” It may also be the least followed! Consider the context. Many don’t even know it’s from the Bible and spoken by Jesus. 

Jesus just talked about judging others improperly in the start of this chapter. If ever there was a statement of judgment, this is it. I mostly hear it used as a weapon. Person A sees person B treating person C (or maybe even themselves) poorly, they will speak this verse in judgment of person A’s behavior. But they don’t see the log in their own eye (Matthew 7:3).

Why is it called the Golden Rule? A rule is a law that provides guidance for our behavior. Rule is short for ruler which implies a measure or a standard: a standard of behavior.

A solid rule

But the mis-use doesn’t annul the effectiveness of the rule. Remember Jesus is in the middle of His sermon on the mount which instructs us how to live the Christian life. We need guidelines for conducting our lives and controlling our sinful nature. The Jewish religious leaders of Jesus’ day were literally experts at coming up with laws for everything – do’s and don’ts. “In contrast to the two commands of Christ, the Pharisees had developed a system of 613 laws, 365 negative commands and 248 positive laws… By the time Christ came it had produced a heartless, cold, and arrogant brand of righteousness.” (bible.org)

Greatest commandments

When Jesus was asked, “What is the greatest commandment?” (Matthew 22:36-40), Jesus answered, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the great and foremost commandment. 39 The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 Upon these two commandments hang the whole Law and the Prophets.”

Law and Prophets

So you may be asking, “What are the Law and the Prophets?” We need to remember the context – Jesus is speaking to Jews. To them, the “Bible” is what we call the Old Testament (OT). They break the OT in two parts – the Law and the Prophets. The Law comprises the Pentateuch: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. The prophets include the rest of the OT, prophets but also poetry (Psalms, Proverbs, etc). For more check this link.


  • How would you rank yourself on fulfilling this law? There’s no way, in our sinful bodies, to ever uphold them. Yet we must strive to, as followers of Christ. His Spirit abiding in us desires it and empowers us.
Golden rule ruler. Image from joyatkits.com *

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