Five Love Languages of Leviticus

Leviticus 19:9-18 commands that we love our neighbor as ourself. What does it mean to love your neighbor as yourself?

In What is the Mission of the Church?, Kevin DeYoung and Greg Gilbert explain what they call the five love languages of Leviticus:

This passage applies love to five different areas of life, marked off into five sections by the concluding phrase “I am the Lord” (vv. 9–10, 11–12, 13–14, 15–16, 17–18). You might think of these verses as giving five love languages that every Christian must speak. We must love with our possessions, by our words, in our actions, by our judgments, and with our attitudes.

  1. Loving Others with Our Possessions (vv. 9–10): The main lesson to be learned is that God’s people are to be generous. The principle for us is this: We must deliberately plan our financial lives so that we have extra left over to give to those in need.
  2. Loving Others with Our Words (vv. 11–12): God’s people love others by telling the truth in their transactions. No cheating scales, weights, or measurements (vv. 35–36).
  3. Loving Others by Our Actions (vv. 13–14): God’s people must not take advantage of the weak.
  4. Loving Others in Our Judgments (vv. 15–16): Justice means there should be one standard, one law, for anyone and everyone, not different rules for different kinds of people.
  5. Loving Others in Our Attitude (vv. 17–18): Love is concrete, but it is also affective. “You shall not hate your brother in your heart.” It’s not enough to be polite on the outside and full of rage on the inside. If we are angry with our brother we should “reason frankly” with him and try to work things out. The bottom line is that you are to love as you would want to be loved.

So in the end this great commandment to love your neighbor as yourself—this commandment quoted in the New Testament more than any other—boils down to five very elementary, everyday, ordinary commands: share, tell the truth, don’t take advantage of the weak, be fair, talk it out. Simpler than you might think. But still easier said than done.

-Angie Cheatham, 2011,