Now I will
nitpick make further
comments on the working ACNA Book of Common Prayer. (You will recall that I began by commending its revised treatment
of the filioque.) Again,
downloads of the new BCP may be found here.
In looking at the Holy Eucharist, the first thing that stood out to me was . . . an article, in the Summary of the Law which reads as follows:
Jesus said: You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.
Leaving aside, at least for now, the issue of modern language, “a second” struck me as odd. Now I looked and did notice that good Bible translations differ on whether to render Jesus’ words “the second” or “a second.” I’m no Greek scholar, but I suspect that is because the original Greek implies articles more than spells them out as in English. But “a second” is a legitimate translation.
But the traditional Book of Common Prayer renders it “the second,” and I think that much preferable. The context of Jesus words clearly indicates he was not talking about merely a second commandment in numerical order or a commandment among several secondary commandments. He was stating that “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” is the second most important commandment. “The second” better reflects that than “a second”.
Plus “the second commandment” parallels and sounds better paired with “the great and first commandment”. And the sound and structure of liturgical language should always be a consideration if a secondary one.
I was not privy to the discussions behind the working ACNA BCP, but I see little good reason to depart from the traditional BCP rendering, “the second commandment.”