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What does neighbor mean in the Bible?

The word neighbor is listed many times in the Bible, but there is no description as to what it means.  Jesus said to love thy neighbor as thyself is the second commandment.  What is a neighbor?



Matthew 22:39

ESV - 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

Clarify (1) Share Report Asked June 18 2013 Mini Anonymous

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Stringio Matthew Watts digital strategist proclaiming Jesus by all means possible.
In college I was always asking God, "what do you want me to do?" 

When I read the question, "what is the greatest commandment?" I thought to myself - ah, here's my answer!

I was shocked at Jesus's answer. Love. First love to God, then love to my neighbor. To this day, I am still growing in my ability to love God and others.

As to your specific question, in Luke 10 a lawyer asks the same question you do. To me, Jesus says our neighbor = anyone that crosses our path. 

Challenging for sure, and impossible to do... apart from the Holy Spirit who gives us the ability to love.

How would you say you are doing in loving your neighbor?

June 18 2013 2 responses Vote Up Share Report


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Seth3 Seth Freeman
Next time you're cut off while driving down the road by a rude driver... that's your neighbor.  Next time you see a homeless person on the side of the street... that's your neighbor.  Next time you gossip about someone you don't like... that's your neighbor.  Next time you talk about someone on a reality TV show that you don't like.... they're your neighbor.

June 19 2013 2 responses Vote Up Share Report


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Open uri20130622 23898 8dsex Kelli Hamann Supporter Pastor's Wife, Mother, Grandmother, Teacher, Writer, Cellist
Here is Strong's definition of "neighbor" in the original Greek:

1) a neighbour
a) a friend
b) any other person, and where two are concerned, the other (thy fellow man, thy neighbour), according to the Jews, any member of the Hebrew nation and commonwealth
c) according to Christ, any other man irrespective of nation or religion with whom we live or whom we chance to meet

As Christians, that last definition is important for us to note. Luke 10:25-37 is a well-known passage about how Jesus wants us to treat others, or "neighbors." In this passage Jesus is asked, "Who is my neighbor?" Jesus gives a reply that can help all of us to understand the heart of Christ as we endeavor to obey His command to love our neighbors:

Luke 10:25-37: On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”

He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

“You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.” But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 

A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 

But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 

The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

Jesus' command to this teacher to "Go and do likewise" is a command to us, as well. I hope this helps to answer your question.

June 20 2013 0 responses Vote Up Share Report


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Mini Adam spates
As mentioned above it was answered in the parable of the good Samaritan. A person traveling from Jericho to Jeruselum would be identified by the crowd as a Jew. A Jew would never and I MEAN NEVER stop to assist a Samaritan. It would be an abomination. As you notice in the parable even priests will walk by a man in need. This story in our time would probably be more like this: 
In the South where I live: there was a young black man walking down the backroad and he got the crap beat out of him and his wallet and cell phone stolen.  A  Black panther member drove by and moved to the other side of the road and kept on. Even his own prosperity gospel preaching pastor drove by and kept on. But a gay, white atheist who voted for Obama and believes in abortion stop and helped him. He took him to the hospital and when notified that the young black man didn't have health insurance he said don't worry I'll be back in a couple days to check on him and to pay his debt. Now who of these is the person who took time out of there own day, money out of their own pocket and set aside righteous indignation to help someone in need that probably does hates them and will never be able to repay them?

The bible says that out of Faith, Hope and Love that Love is the greatest. 

If faith as small as a mustard seed can move mountains or make a tree uproot itself and plant itself in the middle of the ocean then what can a little bit of Love do?

June 20 2013 0 responses Vote Up Share Report


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Mini Edward Hunter
I think I'm doing well, because I always try to do unto others as I would have them do unto me. However, the Almighty will be the final judge of that. I accept that I am not perfect, but I continue to seek perfection in following the Word and pray for strength and guidance.

June 19 2013 1 response Vote Up Share Report


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Stringio Vincent Mercado Supporter Skeptic turned believer, Catholic, father of 3
The reason why the scriptures never describe the word "neighbor" is because it assumes the reader, presumably of Jewish heritage, is already familiar with the word. 

Jesus was asked, "Who is my neighbor?" Jesus asks him back, "Who acted as a neighbor?" The word Neighbor, therefore, is not a person, but a perspective.

June 20 2013 1 response Vote Up Share Report


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1340324413 Chris Eleam Chris Eleam
Love of neighbor, like love of God, is not merely a feeling; it involves action. It is helpful to consider further the context of the command recorded in Leviticus 19 that exhorts God’s people to love their neighbor as themselves. There we read that the Israelites were to allow afflicted ones and alien residents to share in the harvest. There was no room for stealing, deceiving, or dealing falsely. In judicial matters the Israelites should show no partiality. Though they were to give reproof when needed, they were specifically told: “You must not hate your brother in your heart.” These and many other commands were summed up in the words: “You must love your fellow as yourself.”—Leviticus 19:9-11, 15, 17, 18.
9 While the Israelites were to show love to others, they were also to keep separate from those who worshipped false gods. Jehovah warned of the dangers and consequences of bad associations. For example, concerning the nations that the Israelites were to dispossess, Jehovah commanded: “You must form no marriage alliance with them. Your daughter you must not give to his son, and his daughter you must not take for your son. For he will turn your son from following me, and they will certainly serve other gods; and Jehovah’s anger will indeed blaze against you.”—Deuteronomy 7:3, 4.
10 Similarly, Christians guard against forming relationships with those who might weaken their faith. (1 Corinthians 15:33) We are admonished: “Do not become unevenly yoked with unbelievers,” those who are no part of the Christian congregation. (2 Corinthians 6:14) Further, Christians are counseled to marry “only in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 7:39) Yet, never should we be disdainful of those who do not share our belief in Jehovah. Christ died for sinners, and many who once practiced vile things changed their ways and became reconciled to God.—Romans 5:8; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11.
11 In showing love to those who do not serve God, we can do no better than to imitate Jehovah himself. Though he is no lover of wickedness, he shows loving-kindness to all by extending to them the opportunity to turn back from their bad ways and receive everlasting life. (Ezekiel 18:23) Jehovah “desires all to attain to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9) It is his will that “all sorts of men should be saved and come to an accurate knowledge of truth.” (1 Timothy 2:4) That is why Jesus commissioned his followers to preach and to teach and to “make disciples of people of all the nations.” (Matthew 28:19, 20) By our participation in this work, we show love for both God and neighbor, yes, including even our enemies!

June 20 2013 0 responses Vote Up Share Report


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1331603282 Adrien Coleman {Son of a KING}
To love our neighbor as ourselves, is the second great commandment. There is a self- love which is corrupt, and the root of the greatest sins, and it must be put off and mortified; but there is a self- love which is the rule of the greatest duty:we must have a due concern for the welfare of our own souls and bodies. And we must love our neighbor as truly and sincerely as we love ourselves; in many cases we must deny ourselves for the good of others. By these two commandments let our hearts be formed as by a mold.

 fellow (as man, countryman, Christian or friend):— near, neighbour.

a neighbour a friend any other person, and where two are concerned, the other ( thy fellow man, thy neighbour), according to the Jews, any member of the Hebrew nation and commonwealth according to Christ, any other man irrespective of nation or religion with whom we live or whom we chance to meet

Exodus 20:16-17
16 "You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
17 "You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor's."

June 20 2013 1 response Vote Up Share Report


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1358034260 Asabe Tahir
Some time back during one of my devotional time, when I read Luke 10:27-37, I wrote down the following to answer this same question. I tagged it  'who is your neighbor?'

Luke 10:27-37. Most times as believers, the challenge we have is not with the first part of vs 27 “He answered, "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and,... " but with the second part “...'Love your neighbor as yourself.'” 

Possibly, the lawyer had the same challenge, although with a wrong motive (“he wanted to justify himself,...); which was why he asked Jesus Christ the question “..."And who is my neighbor?"”. 

It is important we understand from God's perspective (not just from the world view) who our neighbor is, so that we can appropriately apply this Word in our daily lives. Vs 28-37, gives us a clear answer of who our neighbor is.
 I will simply say 'my neighbor is ANY ONE in NEED of a HELP that I can render.'

God requires us to BE HELPERS, wether we are rich, poor, black or white and WHERE EVER we find ourselves Vs 30-33 & 37.

We also have to understand that TRUE LOVING will ALWAYS COST us something. The 'something' could be time, money, ego, title,... Someone said " You can give without loving but you can't love without giving.” Recall John 3:16

June 21 2013 0 responses Vote Up Share Report


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Mini Adrien Coleman
Strong's hebrew #7543 
Rea an associate (more or less close)
Brother, companion, fellow, friend, husband, lover, neighbor, an other.

September 10 2014 0 responses Vote Up Share Report


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