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“Which commandment is the most important of all?” 
Jesus answered,
“The most important is: . . . Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’
The second is: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
There is no other commandment greater than these.”
Mark 12:28–31 (NET)


Featured Book  

 You are What You Love


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 Book Review

     You are What You Love

     Reviewed by Timothy D. Sprankle



2018 Annual Conference


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Website Administrator & President of

Cyber-Center for Biblical Studies. 

Herbert W. Bateman IV




Cyber-Center for Biblical Studies
is an internet resource center that promotes the reading, studying, teaching, and preaching of the Bible.



A Pastor’s Perspective — On Dueteronmy 4:1–8

“Soul Keeping

by Timothy D. Sprankle 

I recently lingered with Deuteronomy during a personal retreat. Sequestered in a quiet place, I dedicated the afternoon to listening to God, my Bible and ears open to the text. This is no simple task. Deuteronomy is an expansive homily comprising history, moral exhortation, law code, liturgy, song, and covenant blessings and curses. 

Yet it served as a pastoral charging station. Moses’s words refreshed my memory and reinvigorated my love for preaching. Moreover, they reminded me of the importance of reminders. “Remember God who powerfully saved and daily sustains you. Remember your calling as called out people. Remember your vulnerability to idolatry and injustice.”

These reminders originally came at a pivotal time in Israel’s history. Moses preached Deuteronomy as his forty-year tour-of-duty came to an end. He preached it to the Wilderness Generation as they stood on the edge of the Promised Land, poised to cross the Jordan and claim their ground. Deuteronomy is the sermon that capped Moses’s career and sparked Israel’s conquest.

But Deuteronomy is also familiar territory. I read and remembered the good news of the exodus. I read and remembered the disappointing cowardice of the spies. I read and remembered God’s unrivaled strength in the early conquests of Og and Sihon.

In chapter four, however, my reading was arrested. Following several reminders to keep the law (vv. 1-8), God grabbed my attention with a striking command (v. 9). “Only give heed to yourself and keep your soul diligently, so that you do not forget the things which your eyes have seen and they do not depart from your heart all the days of your life; but make them known to your sons and your grandsons” (emphasis added, NASB). Not only does God require law-keeping but also soul-keeping.

Other translations obscure the Hebrew word “soul” translating it as “self” or “life.” Soul (nephesh) constitutes the whole person as he or she stands in relationship to God. It is the term used to describe the supernatural creation of man into whom God breathed life (Gen. 2:7). It also appears in the well-known “Shema” of Deuteronomy 6:4-5: “Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.”

The soul does not function alone but works in concord with other aspects of the human: eyes, heart, strength, mind, and social relations. When Moses piles these terms together, he’s not creating a taxonomy of human life, divided neatly between internal and external parts. We are whole beings. The soul holds the whole self together.

God wants our whole lives given to loving service of him and neighbor (cf. Matt. 22:34-40; Rom. 12:1-2; 1 Cor. 10:31; Col. 3:17). The call to soul-keeping resonates in a world bent on dividing heart and mind or compartmentalizing spiritual life and secular interests. Soul-keeping requires both memory of God’s faithfulness and hope for his future blessing. Soul-keeping demands both inner reflection and outward obedience. Soul-keeping guards us from the self-perception that we are but flesh-and-bone devolving to dust. God breathed life into our souls; he wants them diligently kept.


"A Pastor's Perspective" is a CCBS ministry directed by Timothy D. Sprankle, Senior Pastor of Leesburg Grace Brethren Church. He solicits, collects, and edits all submissions before posting. He earned his B.A. (2001) and M.Div. degrees from Grace Theological Seminary (2004). 


Previously posted blogs are also available: "A Pastor's Perspective."



Interpreting the Psalms for Teaching and Preaching (2010)

Interpreting the General Letters (2013)Four Views on the Warning Passages in Hebrews (2007)

Commentary on Jude (2015)

Jesus the Messiah      (2012)