Even though this principle isn't found in this or any passage of Scripture,* it's fully embraced by many Christians.
Mark 12:31 doesn't command us to love our neighbor's personality or have warm feelings toward him. It commands us to treat him with the same kindness and consideration we instinctively show ourselves.
Christianity is about putting God and others first, not putting ourselves first. And focusing on others is actually one of the most effective ways to overcome our own insecurities. (See Beatin' the Blues)
Philippians 2:3-4 sums it up this way: "In humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others."
"Loving ourselves first" appeals to our fallen human nature, but it has no foundation in Scripture.
* Twisting Scripture is a common ploy of Satan. (See Christ's temptation and insights on His temptation.)
If you want to study more Scripture related to self-love, check out my Self-Esteem Posts.
Bible StudyI believe this love-yourself-first philosophy is one of Satan's most successful "soldiers" in his Trojan Horse. Even though it is a hollow, deceptive philosophy based on a half-truth, it has taken many captive in the Church (Colossians 2:8).
1. Mark 12:29-31 is Christ's answer to the question “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” Note the differences between the command to love God and the command to love others.
Mark 12:29-31: “The most important [command],” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
2. How do the verses below speak to the subject of loving self first:
2 Timothy 3:1-5: But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
Romans 12:3: For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.
1 Peter 5:6: Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.
Proverbs 26:12: Do you see a person wise in their own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for them.
After working through this study, read my insights HERE.
copyright Gail Burton Purath, 2013, BiteSizeBibleStudy.com
All Scripture NIV unless otherwise noted