Mark 12:32

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And the scribe said unto him, Of a truth, Teacher, thou hast well said that he is one; and there is none other but he: (ASV)



In Mark 12, we read—

“Then one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, perceiving that He had answered them well, asked Him, “Which is the first commandment of all?” Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one. And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment…So the scribe said to Him, “Well said, Teacher. You have spoken the truth, for there is one God, and there is no other but He.” (v28-32)

The people of Israel worshipped a variety of gods throughout its history. As the nation of Israel came out of Egypt, Moses implored them to serve God. The Ten Commandments begin by stating, “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. “You shall have no other gods before Me.” The common theme among the prophets was to chastise Israel for following after other gods and not worshiping the one, true God.

This verse does not contradict Israel’s earlier behavior or beliefs, but is merely another reiteration of the truth that Israel is to serve the one, true God. Jesus tells the people what they should do and is in contrast only to that which Israel actually does in practice.

We then find the scribe agreeing with Jesus. His recognition of the truth and agreement with Jesus does not mean that the people also accept this truth or believe it. The people can still continue to believe in, and worship, many gods.

There is no issue of errancy in this instance. The Bible records accurately the historical event and is not contradicted by anything else in the Bible.


Edit this section to note miscellaneous facts.


The following have been moved from Pro to Neutral:

"Contrary to this (and contrary to the belief of many Christian and Jewish apologists), the Hebrews formerly believed in the existence of many gods. See the Deuteronomy 32:8 article for more on this."

"Contradiction and/or confusion is thought to exist within the Scriptures because Israel is repeatedly described as worshiping many gods but the law and the prophets continually exhort Israel to worship the one true God."

Response to Con piece: There is little point in merely asserting that this "is not contradicted by anything else in the Bible" while you have failed to address the actual contradiction. This verse is one of the "one God" ones. Merely repeating "one God" arguments on this page fails to address the other verses which suggest the existence of multiple gods (and the extra-Biblical evidence of Hebrew polytheism). Monotheism in Mark is not in dispute! --Robert Stevens 10:56, 16 Jan 2008 (CST)

Reply Someone needs to explain the actual contradiction to which Robert Stevens refers and insert into the PRO section.


The reason for the move is that the Pro argument claimed a contradiction between a Christian Bible quote referring to God as one in the Jewish Bible and how God is referred to in the Jewish Bible. The link to Deuteronomy 32:8 does not clearly, simply or reasonably demonstrate that God is not described as one in the Jewish Bible. Pro can try to demonstrate these qualities here but I think it will be Difficult/Impossible to show the Jewish Bible not asserting that God is one. The relevant question I think is what is the evidence that the Jewish Bible contains clues as to previous Polytheistic belief. This seems to me to be better placed in Neutral than Pro.

--JoeWallack 09:54, 17 Jan 2008 (CST)

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