The Whole Duty of Man


(Eccl 12:13-14 NIV)  Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. {14} For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.



[Middle English fer, from Old English fǣr, danger, sudden calamity; see per-3 in Indo-European roots.]

To be in awe of; revere.

Extreme reverence or awe, as toward a supreme power.

To be afraid or frightened of.

To be uneasy or apprehensive about: feared the test results. As being before a judge.



Observe, discharge, do, execute, exercise, fulfill, implement, perform.



An order

An instruction required to be observed or carried out.

  1. A decree or proclamation issued by an authority and having the force of law.



Entire, Complete, Full extent, Total



Requirement, Moral obligation. That which is due.


*   (Psa 111:10 NIV)  The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise.

*   (Prov 1:7 NIV)  The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.

*   (Eccl 8:13 NIV)  Yet because the wicked do not fear God, it will not go well with them, and their days will not lengthen like a shadow.

*   (Exo 18:21-24 NIV)  But select capable men from all the people--men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain--and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. {22} Have them serve as judges for the people at all times, but have them bring every difficult case to you; the simple cases they can decide themselves. That will make your load lighter, because they will share it with you. {23} If you do this and God so commands, you will be able to stand the strain, and all these people will go home satisfied." {24} Moses listened to his father-in-law and did everything he said.


But what about the commandments?

*   (Deu 8:3 NIV)  He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.

*   (Prov 30:5 KJV)  Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.

*   (Mat 4:4 KJV)  But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.


Every thing God says that requires an action on the part of the hearer is a commandment.

*   (Mat 22:36-40 NIV)  "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" {37} Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' {38} This is the first and greatest commandment. {39} And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' {40} All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."


It’s generally accepted that there are 613 commandments in the Torah plus whatever else you might find in the rest of the Bible. From Wikipedia:

The 613 commandments is a numbering of the statements and principles of law, ethics, and spiritual practice contained in the Torah or Five Books of Moses. The numbering was first made by Rabbi Simlai in Talmud Makkot 23b.


These principles of Biblical law are sometimes called connections or commandments (mitzvot) and referred to collectively as the "Law of Moses", "Mosaic Law", or simply "the Law". The word mitzvot is plural; singular is mitzvah.


Although there have been many attempts to codify and enumerate the commandments contained in the Torah, the traditional view is based on Maimonides' enumeration. The 613 commandments are either "positive commandments" to perform an act (mitzvot aseh) or "negative commandments" to abstain from certain acts (mitzvot lo taaseh). There are 365 negative commandments, corresponding to the number of days in a solar year, and 248 positive commandments, ascribed to the number of bones and significant organs in the human body (Babylonian Talmud, Makkot 23b-24a)[1]


Those fourteen words simply stated, “Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.” are deceptively complex. In fact people can and people have spent a lifetime trying to fulfill that simple Mitzvah or perhaps it’s actually Mitzvot, “Fear” and “Keep.”


Perhaps when we read our Bibles we should be asking ourselves this question: “What is God telling me to do?” Apparently He is saying much more than what we are hearing. Listen!