Word Study: Lev – “Heart”


For thousands of years, every morning and evening, Jewish people have prayed these well-known words as a way of expressing their devotion to God. They are called the “Shema”. Hear, O Israel, the LORD is our God. The LORD is one. And as for you, you shall love the LORD your God with all of your heart, with all of your soul, and with all of your strength. We’re going to look at the fourth key word in this prayer: heart, which in Hebrew is sometimes pronounced “levav” or more often, in a shorter form, “lev”. Now different cultures throughout history have had different conceptions of how the human body works. And this is also true of the Ancient Israelite writers of the Bible. They knew that the heart was an organ in the chest that sustains life. There is mention of a heart attack in the Bible: “Nabal whose heart died inside of him and he became like stone.” But the biblical authors talk about the heart in many other ways that might seem strange to modern readers. and that is because these Israelites had no concept of the brain, or any word for it. They imagined that all of a human’s intellectual activity takes place in the heart. For example, you “know” with your heart in the Bible. Your heart is where you understand and make connections. In the book of Proverbs, wisdom dwells in the heart. and your heart is what you use to discern between truth and error, like Solomon did when he was king. So, the heart is where you think and make sense of the world. And it is where you do more. In the Bible, the heart is where you feel emotions. You feel pain in your heart, like Hannah did when she couldn’t have any children. In fact, the phrase “a broken heart” comes from ancient biblical Hebrew. You also experience fear in your heart. Your heart can melt or be distressed. Your heart can even be depressed. But then, on the flip side, your heart is where you experience joy. In Hebrew, to be happy is to be “good of heart” or to have a “heart of joy”. So the heart is the generator of physical life. It is also the center of your intellectual and emotional life. And, there is more. In biblical Hebrew, the heart is where you make choices motivated by your desires. So David had it “in his heart” to build a temple for God. Your heart is where your affections are centered. They are called the “desires of your heart”. And if you really want something and go after it, it is like what Nathan said to David, “Whatever is in your heart, go and do it.” So then, in the Bible, the heart is the center of all parts of human existence, as in the well-known proverb, “Guard your heart because from it flows your whole life.” The prophet Jeremiah believed that the human heart was fundamentally broken. He said, “The heart of a human is deceitful above all, irreversibly sick. Who can even understand it?” He had watched a whole generation turn away from God. They started sacrificing their children as if that were a good thing. This is why, in the imagination of the Hebrew prophets, the only hope for humanity is the total renewal of the human heart. Moses predicted that if Israel was ever going to love their God, their heart would need to be circumcised, which is a very vivid and surprising metaphor about removing evil and stubbornness from the human heart. David, after he committed murder and adultery, pleads with God to “create in me a pure heart”. The prophet Ezekiel hoped for a day when God would remove the heart of stone and give his people a new heart of soft flesh, which is very similar to Jeremiah’s hope that God would write the commands of the Torah on the hearts of his people. And that brings us all the way back to the Shema. Every day, God’s people are called to devote to God their whole body and mind, their feelings and their desires, their future and their failures. This is what it means to love the Lord your God will all of your heart.

100 Comments

  1. The Bible Project

    February 13, 2018 at 1:48 am

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  2. Michael Reuben Alagon

    April 8, 2018 at 6:42 am

    Hi Dr. Mackie! How do you study a word? This is a great study and video anyway. God bless you.

  3. truethinker

    May 3, 2018 at 1:53 pm

    I thought oriental people believed the stomach or belly was where knowledge was stored. Out of your belly shall flow rivers of living water. It is not goes in the body that defile a man but what comes out. I believe in both cases it is the sole that is intended

  4. ADDIS 251

    May 7, 2018 at 3:08 am

    similar with ethiopian sem languages "leb" [ልብ].

  5. EZTEELOZ OMARADIO

    May 11, 2018 at 4:42 am

    MUCHAS GRACIAS POR SU TRADUCCION AL ESPAÑOL Y POR SU TRABAJO TAN PROFESIONAL GRACIAS DESDE MEXICO The Bible Project

  6. zachary nash

    May 11, 2018 at 7:13 pm

    Neet

  7. Heart Coach

    May 17, 2018 at 8:35 pm

    This is beautiful. I am a "Heart" Coach, a life coach focusing on matters of the heart. This blessed me so much. Thank you

  8. The Christian Cowboy

    May 27, 2018 at 4:25 pm

    I "Lev" this video…

  9. Matt Rispin

    June 5, 2018 at 7:17 am

    Extraordinary ❤️

  10. Shaun Dukes No Conspiracies Needed

    June 30, 2018 at 3:00 pm

    0.20

  11. Marsha Creary

    July 9, 2018 at 6:19 am

    Fascinating

  12. Marsha Creary

    July 9, 2018 at 6:24 am

    Is this why the choice of the citron is used as a representation of the heart?

  13. Bodyboarding Chronicles

    July 9, 2018 at 4:05 pm

    A men it's Am'en, love you cousinz!

  14. ClubTactical

    July 10, 2018 at 6:53 am

    I really love what you guys are doing. So blown away

  15. andreas m

    July 13, 2018 at 4:21 pm

    wait if the ancient Israelites had no word for 'brain', then where did the modern Hebrew word "מוֹחַ (mokha)" come from?

  16. Terrion Wright

    July 17, 2018 at 8:18 am

    This YouTube channel brings so much Chara to me

  17. Enoc Rasmijn

    July 17, 2018 at 3:20 pm

    This is why I love to say: 'God is my strength'. He is the reason I can breath air!!! Because he taught me how to love people around me. But he told me to love him with all my heart and soul. This is why I gave my all to him!!! Because Jesus is the way the truth and the life!!! 777

  18. Truth First

    July 28, 2018 at 10:13 pm

    Toda Raba mekol Halev! תודה רבה מכל הלב!

  19. Mackenzie Stark

    July 28, 2018 at 10:55 pm

    Thank you guys so much !!!! ❤

  20. Wot Mate

    August 5, 2018 at 5:01 am

    'They started sacrificing their children as if that were a good thing'

    > god literally sacrifices his child

  21. Felene Pollard

    August 14, 2018 at 6:48 am

    I love the intro to these word studies! Your voice stays in my head all day, I hear you saying …" and for you, you shall love the Lord ..with all of your heart.." Thank you so much for for these amazing vids.

  22. Abednego JS

    August 20, 2018 at 11:48 am

    So it's our MIND.

  23. Blazer The carftyGirl

    August 26, 2018 at 12:03 pm

    Wait so…..does that mean..when i was thinking about the pictures for my drawing skills …Also in my heart as well? Since i dont really..mm….didnt know that as well. Or maybe i forgot about it.

  24. She Wolf

    September 7, 2018 at 6:17 am

    Love God with your whole heart and you will be fulfilled. You will be rich.

  25. Matt King

    September 16, 2018 at 4:13 pm

    We do need soft hearts not stone hearts, we supposed to love God with all of your heart not some all

  26. Ronison Souza

    September 26, 2018 at 7:17 pm

    Please talk concern the hebrew concept of GLORY or "kavod (hebrew)". I'll be very thankful if you guys teach us about it.

  27. Ana _ anakinra

    October 22, 2018 at 2:58 pm

    Wow…. This motivated me to pray more sincerely 🌼🌼🌼

  28. XinyiLHBF

    October 23, 2018 at 3:28 am

    I'm glad to see that the Bible Project teaches what I've just learned recently: In the bible the heart is the center of cognition and belief and there is no distinction from one's brain. That's why to say that a person could miss heaven by 12 inches is false. There are those that teach that it is possible to believe with your head but not with your heart. But this is unbiblical. Thank you Bible Project.

  29. R NS

    October 24, 2018 at 6:35 am

    so does the heart actually have all these, thoughts, emotions and physical attributes? or did the jewish biblical writers really mean the brain had all those attributes because they didn't know they had a brain.

  30. Marie Numkam

    October 31, 2018 at 10:06 am

    Thank you

  31. Ryan Dayaan

    November 5, 2018 at 5:20 pm

    so that means that the truth about our heart is in contrary with the discovery of science?

  32. Peridot 27

    November 25, 2018 at 4:17 am

    Wow! My name means HEART. ❤️🙏🏻

  33. Sridhar Rao

    December 1, 2018 at 7:58 am

    I keep watching your videos just watched this & the Ahavah one.. no mention of Jesus (who is the core of love & heart).. 🤔🤔 creates suspicion..

  34. Lamont Hicks

    December 1, 2018 at 11:25 pm

    Wow that's good….

  35. MorrisMagic

    December 20, 2018 at 8:21 pm

    Wait, so the heart is the mind according to the biblical authors? So any passage about the mind is actually referring to the heart?

  36. haitange haiti

    January 5, 2019 at 9:41 pm

    love

  37. Matthew Gonzalez

    January 12, 2019 at 10:13 am

    Jesus I pray you save my wretched heart from sin & hell, save me lord!!!

  38. Oh Yeah Yeah

    January 14, 2019 at 2:57 pm

    L O V E
    I love you and you love me

  39. Ila L

    January 22, 2019 at 4:32 am

    Your word study series is amazing❤️ I love what you guys do! May God continue to bless you!

  40. Aaron Aragon Maroja

    January 27, 2019 at 12:58 pm

    Could you please make a video about Kelayot – kidneys, in the Bible, for example in Jeremiah 17:10?

  41. Marshall David Colin

    February 3, 2019 at 3:03 pm

    Is there any historical reference to the fact that ancient Israel had no concept of mind?

  42. jubileetube13

    February 6, 2019 at 2:21 pm

    Please add Japanese subtitles!

  43. froilan anthony

    February 25, 2019 at 7:15 am

    sean macdowell an apologetics

  44. SRK

    February 28, 2019 at 8:22 pm

    As typical of most christian thinkers, they take hebrew, and use the king james bible TRANSLATION of the word "lev." In the Torah there are 4 uses of the word "lev." 98/102 instances are in conjunction with the word for "thoughts." This does not mean they did not realize where thoughts came from. In fact the morning practice of meditation on the words mentioned is directed with a practice of tefellin, which emphasis the head, literally, to connote the place where the source of our thoughts, and direction, ultimately, comes from. But, of course, you can have your King James bible version, it just doesn't reflect the truth of what was being meant.

  45. Kill Me

    March 7, 2019 at 4:40 am

    Any merch?

  46. Gapi Zabala

    March 8, 2019 at 12:29 pm

    If the Ancient Hebrew People don't have the concept of the Brain, what is the scripture referring to when it mentions the word "mind"?

    And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.
    – Matthew 22:37

  47. Diana Georgescu

    March 8, 2019 at 11:02 pm

    Hi guys, I'd love to caption/translate your videos in ROMANIAN 🤓 How can I do that?

  48. Lee Loyola

    March 12, 2019 at 12:03 pm

    Hi why is my name lev if that means heart than my name lev means heart right

  49. Prabal Tamuli

    March 15, 2019 at 8:41 am

    AMEN 😇

  50. Salt & Light

    March 15, 2019 at 8:52 pm

    I love these videos on the Shema – they're so interesting and informative! Thank you so much for making them!!!

  51. Forenhel Drimt

    March 16, 2019 at 2:47 am

    😀

  52. Brenda Nyakerario

    March 16, 2019 at 8:14 pm

    ❤❤❤

  53. a l

    March 20, 2019 at 2:17 am

    Prosperity~~~~ 😀

  54. Sally Comer

    March 25, 2019 at 9:03 am

    AWESOME!

  55. Adam Britten

    March 28, 2019 at 10:41 am

    If Heart is translated or means to speak to the mind then why Does Jesus elaborate on DEUT 30:6 in Mark 12:30. Does this mean that there is a difference between the mind and heart and if so how do we differentiate?

  56. TristanPR77

    April 4, 2019 at 12:32 am

    Amazing job. Thank you. God bless.

  57. Hannah Wilson

    April 6, 2019 at 12:37 pm

    I've struggled my whole life to read the bible. Thank you so much for making this channel!! 🙌

  58. Christian Roudabush

    April 14, 2019 at 4:35 am

    God bless you all

  59. Syed Abdul Kadir

    April 19, 2019 at 9:25 am

    As it is mentioned in the hadith of the Prophet: narrated by both Bukhariyy and Muslim:
    " إن في الجسد مضغة إذا صلحت صلح الجسد كله ، و إذا فسدت فسد الجسد كله ألا و هي القلب "
    “ ‘ala inna fil jasadi mudgha ‘idha sala7at, sala7al jasadu kulluh, wa’idha fasadat, fasadal jasadu kulluh, ‘ala wahiyal qalb” which means: “In the human body, there is a small organ. If this organ is healthy, i.e. if this organ is in a good condition, then the whole body would be in a good condition. If not, then the whole body would be in a bad condition; which is the heart

  60. Gary Boulton

    May 5, 2019 at 10:25 am

    I think the Heart is referring to the Mind, not the physical brain but our spiritual Mind.

  61. Jorge Diaz

    May 24, 2019 at 4:11 am

    Great video ! God bless you!

    I have a question, Jesus obviously knew this prayer from Deut., but it seems that He adds to it in Matt. 22:37 when He says "…Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy MIND." My question is, if hebrews saw the heart as the source of thoughts, desires, emotions, etc, how did they view the MIND and what was their understanding of it?

  62. Jakob Johnson

    June 4, 2019 at 2:36 am

    Thank you for making it easier and A E S T H E T I C to learn and love The LORD

  63. Tsidkenu'sid

    June 9, 2019 at 12:22 am

    Dear good Lord, the way the two commandment tablets combined and formed a "Heart" at 3:10 , it totally deserves a heavenly round of applause for creativity. 👏✝️💐. The entire team of The Bible Project is filled with the Holy Spirit to gift us with all these videos. Thank you so so very much in bringing us closer to the "Levav" of our Heavenly Father. Blessed be you all. Have a fantastic life and kindly keep helping us in upgrading our armour of Faith in Jesus Christ, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. Eirene 🙏

  64. Se7enwonders

    June 10, 2019 at 7:37 am

    As I understand it, the physical heart has neurons too. A whole network of 40,000 neurotransmitters all with very specific functions. Which makes it a perfect extension to the brain, a kind of 'second brain' if you will. I believe that our true being, our CONSCIENCE is located right there. Just saying and not hating OK.

  65. Feng

    June 11, 2019 at 8:01 am

    Wow! I never knew how deep the Words of God that way. 😍😃 You guys are great for doing this amazing videos and helping us to understand the meaning of every scriptures and words from the Bible. May Godbless you all! 🙏✨

  66. MissFluffies

    June 11, 2019 at 12:59 pm

    This word study is helpful!

  67. Ravenn

    June 13, 2019 at 3:19 am

    I actually recommend watching the movie “Restless Heart” based on the life of St. Augustine from South Africa. You can see the trailer on Youtube if you want an idea about it. It might help you learn more about this virtue then.

  68. Pursuing Peas

    June 22, 2019 at 5:00 am

    Is the heart the same thing as inner most being? Or is that the spirit?

  69. Lucky Jenn

    June 22, 2019 at 5:02 am

    Thank you!

  70. prachi Agarwal

    June 28, 2019 at 1:39 pm

    These videos help me alot

  71. Nay Nay

    July 5, 2019 at 12:07 pm

    I love the video, and the amazing explanation of the word "lev", but I have one comment.
    Nothing simply came out of the " imagination" of any writer in The Bible. 2 Timothy 3:16 says that all scripture is given by…the imagination of the writer? No; " All scripture is given by inspiration of GOD…" I'm not putting anybody on blast by any means, but it does matter how we word things. The prophet Jeremiah didn't just think of the heart as fundamentally broken, but GOD told him that the human heart was fundamentally wicked, because our fleshly nature is indeed, without God, wicked. Paul said in Romans 7:18 that in his flesh dwelt no good thing. But again, I love these word study videos, but I just wanted to make this clear. Call me "strict" or "old fashioned" if you please, but The Bible does say that straight and narrow is the way that leads to Life (Matthew 7:14).

  72. Jesus is King of kngs n Prince of Peace

    July 13, 2019 at 5:50 pm

    💙 very nicely explained 💟 love the animation 2 👍👍👍thank u n God bless u 💗💖💖

  73. Zelly Lane

    July 14, 2019 at 2:48 am

    How can dislike this to be honest. 😭💯🔥

  74. Tanveer Shahid

    July 19, 2019 at 7:37 am

    Love you brother. Keep it up

  75. Brandon Ezzard

    July 19, 2019 at 1:27 pm

    Praise God for modern-day Bartholomew and Benjamin coming together to do great and glorious things for the Lord God Almighty! Praise be to His holy name!

    Nehemiah 8:8, "They read from the Book of the Law of God, making it clear and giving the meaning so that the people understood what was being read."

  76. daniel Parsaoran

    July 25, 2019 at 2:54 am

    God bless you guys. Keep serve God with all your heart 🙏

  77. One Family Church

    August 7, 2019 at 12:58 pm

    Wow, thank you for this video!

  78. Melanie Victoria Montoya

    August 18, 2019 at 4:44 am

    At 2:10 , it talks about "whatever is in your heart, go and do it"- 2 Samuel 7:3 . But God told me to make sure you all understand the scripture. I can imagine a lot of people might have taken this verse out of context to do what they want to do despite being evil. This is NOT what the verse is telling us. It is telling us that since we are re borned, we are expected to choose wisely and all our HEARTS DESIRES are good in God's eyes, so he tells us is fine to follow what you want in your heart, since your heart is clean within the Lord

  79. ActionMantra

    August 22, 2019 at 6:33 pm

    The heart is intelligent, has vast neural networks and emits an electromagnetic field 5,000 stronger than the brain. Modern science is just now understanding this but the ancients have known about this for tens of thousands of years.

  80. Andy Kubik

    September 1, 2019 at 9:11 pm

    I love this channel so much I want them to prosper❤☺😇

  81. Phebz Peters

    September 2, 2019 at 3:45 am

    💜✝️🙏

  82. Robert Jaegers

    September 7, 2019 at 12:39 am

    Maybe the Hebrews used the word like we use it. Heart can also mean "center" or "core" of something.

  83. Gerald Johnson

    September 18, 2019 at 8:36 pm

    You can Not hide any secrets from the Lord Our GOD, he looks at the heart of man and knows the things done ln Secret, No Secrets are hidden from the LORD Jesus
    Christ!!!***

  84. aidan benbow

    September 20, 2019 at 9:54 am

    Life's all about loving God!

  85. JAM ROLL

    October 5, 2019 at 8:35 am

    Super dope I like this alot!

  86. shadow cool dog pink

    October 5, 2019 at 4:58 pm

    Thousands of years where is the Bible is beautiful we c thousands of years where is the Bible use the fall we It’s in town smashing their selves to God where are your world and I’m just trying and I’m older so let’s focus on the word until smashing her self to God what are you world know your strength and an Autre so let’s focus on the word heart 👍🏾😈💩🤡. God god for the best god ever for you and god for god ever ever for the god thank you song for us as I can I love more like I’ll cover off Mom day the best for god is 🙀 Bible day

  87. shadow cool dog pink

    October 5, 2019 at 5:00 pm

    Joy. God Your heart is made out of stone is he moves in to look at the squeaky toy

  88. shadow cool dog pink

    October 5, 2019 at 5:02 pm

    I always Shema to GodThe home body and home I love Cyrus that is the world of heard that and

  89. shadow cool dog pink

    October 6, 2019 at 2:43 am

    Cartoon rap battle nature cat vs. the Bible project Bigan My name is nautre cat because your show was Fireplace I could make some kindbetter than mine. 👍🏾 I like man that emoji’s that’s why you like oh I’m by the project I like this all my shows are for the dangerous nature cat 👎🏼 Boo boo boo boo boo boo boo boo boo boo boo by project is the best well need your cat is show was better than mine so I need your cat you’re so stupid who won decide who will wrap battle next you guys decide

  90. shadow cool dog pink

    October 6, 2019 at 2:46 am

    cartoon rap battle. Need to get the bag for braces need to bring a bag for

  91. shadow cool dog pink

    October 6, 2019 at 2:49 am

    cartoon rap battle. Nature Britney vs. evil nature cat exe. Bigan Nautre cat. He’s going to start a pleasing my nature can you got a promise that I am Britney and I’m your best friend now I’m going to my new chat and I will marry you never ever again and I never received the side and I wanna know is I’m watching my project now I want to go to another because it has a bachelor party in Acworth he he he he well I think my project I sound boring I think it sounds fun I think it’s all about everything because parking lot that was a💩💩💩💩💩💩💩💩💩💩 he’s going to start a pleasing my nature can you got a promise that I am Britney and I’m your best friend now I’m gonna marry me chat and I will marry you never ever again and I never received the side and I wanna know is I’m watching my project now I want to go to another because it has a bachelor party in Acworth he he he he well I think my project a sound boring I think it sounds fun I think it’s all about everything because cartoon my battles are fun I love I always watch my little pony club to 60 because it’s my favorite movie because it’s so scary I’m kind of life is kind of weird but I think you should see my little pony cupcakes HD Santa bear is in the miraculous is it’s not a Barrison because even need to ask you because

  92. Filipe Mateus

    October 7, 2019 at 1:50 pm

    The soul video was really precise I understand that it means to use your body and your whole self to love God through your actions. But this one is a bit all over the place I can't tell the difference from these 2. I mean, the bible talks about loving with all 3 of these "things" so I would like to understand what it means to love with all my heart, because I got what it means to love with all my nephesh

  93. Leanne M.

    October 10, 2019 at 3:02 pm

    Your videos are OUTSTANDING.

  94. Serj Nell

    October 18, 2019 at 11:18 pm

    Нифига себе! Вот уж не знал, спасибо!

  95. Nicole A

    October 25, 2019 at 7:35 pm

    This is crazy beautiful… wow

  96. Gregory Cox

    November 13, 2019 at 7:10 pm

    Great work, guys! Very well done. God bless You!

  97. Vickie Wickie

    November 14, 2019 at 12:05 pm

    Thank you so much for this beautiful explanation!! Your videos help so much in trying to understand so much about the Bible!

  98. Andy Kubik

    November 17, 2019 at 10:17 pm

    I have a heart of joy when I watch this channel because its telling the truth and not just what people want to hear ❤😇❤

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