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In Making Disciples, is it teaching them to “obey,” or “observe” all that Jesus commanded?


Obey or Observe?  What’s the difference?  Us Christians sure like telling others to obey.  After all, we are commanded to in the Great Commission, aren’t we?



The New American Standard Bible  renders the Great Commission in this way:

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.

Most of us are used to reading “obey all that I have commanded you;”  To me, at least, these two words have very different meanings and possibly different implications for how we implement the command.

It is interesting to note, that Strongs defines it in this way:

5083 tēréō (from tēros, “a guard”) – properly, maintain (preserve); (figuratively) spiritually guard (watch), keep intact.

It is also interesting to note that in Ephesians 6:1, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right,” where there is little, if any disagreement that obey there means obey in the normal sense of our understanding, is a completely different word.

Strongs defines that word 5219 hypakoúō – properly, to obey what is heard (literally, “under hearing”) & suggests attentively listening, i.e. fully compliant (responsive).

If the Great Commission is to be translated as observe instead of obey, does that change the way we implement it?  If so, how?

In either case, observe or obey, is teaching them how implied? What are your thoughts?


If you feel like commenting on the original post, that can be found here.

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