What is the Golden Rule?

by Matt Slick

The golden rule is the statement spoken by Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount, that says to do to others what you want done to yourself. It is found in various forms throughout the world's religions since it is a very common principle. In the New Testament it is found in Matthew 7:12 and Luke 6:31. Jesus calls it the summation of the Law and the Prophets. 

Does this means that Jesus copied the "golden rule" from somewhere else? No, not at all. It is true that most people want to be treated with respect, kindness, love, etc. Also, it is true that people respond well when treated with respect, kindness, love, etc. It is a mutual sensibility. Since we are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26), it is reasonable to assert that various people throughout the world have recognized this basic principle of godly truth. Jesus, being God in flesh (John 1:1, 14), would know all wisdom truths.  Consider the Old Testament saying that is similar:

Leviticus 19:18, "You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the LORD."

The term "golden rule" does not occur in Scripture, but the term has been in use for a few hundred years. Different translations render it differently. Let's take a look.

  • Matt. 7:12
    • NASB, "In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets."
    • ESV, "So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets."
    • KJV, "Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets."
    • NKJV, "Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets."
    • NIV, "So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets."
    • RSV, "So whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them; for this is the law and the prophets."
    • ASV, "All things therefore whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, even so do ye also unto them: for this is the law and the prophets."
  • Luke 6:31
    • NASB, "Treat others the same way you want them to treat you."
    • ESV, "And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them."
    • KJV, "And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise."
    • NKJV, "And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise."
    • NIV, "Do to others as you would have them do to you."
    • RSV, "And as you wish that men would do to you, do so to them."
    • ASV, "And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise."

 

 

 

 
 
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