The “Golden Rule” (Matthew 7:12; Luke 6:31)

Submitted by admin on Mon, 2007-12-24 12:37.

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“All things you want men [or, people] to do to you, you should thus also do to them, for this is the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 7:12; Luke 6:31) Treating others like one would want to be treated has come to be known as the “golden rule.” Acting in harmony with it reflects a caring, loving, just, and compassionate disposition. The law given to Israel and the words of the prophets repeatedly stressed the need for acting impartially and with love and compassion. Therefore, Jesus could say that treating others in the manner in which one would want to be treated “is” or expresses the sum of the guidance set forth in the law and by the prophets.


In Luke 6:31, the wording is slightly different, “And as you want men [or, people] to do to you, do to them likewise.”

Tobit 4:15 (NRSV) presents a negative form of this admonition, “And what you hate, do not do to anyone.” Adherence to this advice would merely require not harming others, but Jesus’ counsel calls for positive action when interacting with fellow humans.

There have been those who want to improve upon Jesus’ words, changing the directive to be, “Treat others as they want to be treated.” This, however, assumes knowledge that one would not necessarily have, and there are times when individuals would want to be treated in a manner that violates the teaching of God’s Son. The positive form in which Jesus framed his words is appropriate at all times and in all situations, as the individual, in his interaction with others, is fully aware of how he would want to be treated.