An Alphabetical Analysis
Volume 7 - Doctrinal Truth - Page 71 of 297
Mark 12:29-32, 'Thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and
there is none other but He'.
If we turn to the record of this incident in Matthew 22:34-46 we
discover the following facts that have a bearing upon the subject of the
Lord's teaching.  Both Mark and Matthew give the question put by the lawyer,
who was one of the scribes.
'Master, which is the great commandment in the law?' (Matt. 22:36).
'Which is the first commandment of all?' (Mark 12:28).
Mark's account includes the words, 'Hear, O Israel; the Lord our God is
one Lord' (Mark 12:29), but this is omitted by Matthew.  Both give the
command to love the Lord with all thy heart, and both add, 'the second which
is like unto it'.  It is evident that the reader envisaged by Matthew had no
need to have the great text of Deuteronomy 6:4 repeated, but Mark, who wrote
for the Roman world, was constrained to put this protest against idolatry in
the forefront.  Even so, no comment is made on the doctrine of the 'one God'
by Mark.  In the sequel of Matthew 22, however, we read that the Saviour did
not let His tempters depart without a challenge:
'What think ye of Christ?
Whose son is He?
They say unto
Him, The
Son of David' (22:42),
and the challenge that these Pharisees did not dare to meet was:
'How then doth David in spirit call Him Lord ... how is He his Son?'
In these two records we have:
The main body of the argument that is concerned with love to God
and to neighbour.
The emphasis in Matthew upon the Deity of Christ, and the
omission of the text concerning 'one God'.  The emphasis in Mark of
'one God' and the omission of the Saviour's reference to David and to
His Lordship.
It is manifest, therefore, that neither doctrine is denied by the
omission, nor unduly stressed by its inclusion.
Passing to the references in the Epistles, we come to James.  Again,
James nowhere discusses the Being of God.  The subject, 'There is one God',
is introduced, not for its own sake, but to illustrate and enforce the fact
that 'faith without works is dead'.
'Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also
believe, and tremble' (Jas. 2:19).
It is evident that there is no salvation in the belief that there is
'one God'; salvation comes through faith in Christ.  We shall have to speak
more at large of the growing evil of stressing 'God' to the exclusion of
'Christ' later, but cannot refrain from making this protest, however brief.
We will confine ourselves at the moment to the passages that speak of 'one