Unto Others: Rediscovering the Golden Rule – the Lost Key to Relationships, by Dave Swavely
Foreword by Dave Deuel
Endorsed by Wayne Mack, Stan Gale, Bill Hill, T. Dale Johnson, and more.
We have forgotten the number one lesson Jesus taught us about daily life. And we all suffer as a result.
…We need to rediscover the Golden Rule.
The Golden Rule—a central teaching from the Sermon on the Mount—is surely one of the most important things Jesus ever said. Yet it has largely disappeared from the public consciousness. And those who do remember it often misunderstand or misapply it.
In Unto Others, Dave Swavely explains why the meaning of the Golden Rule needs to be recovered today, and how it can be a great key to success in our personal and collective relationships—when practiced the right way.
Remember “WWJD”? The Prayer of Jabez? Christians have always appreciated the benefit of concise maxims to help remember and apply important principles and promises from God’s Word. Sayings like that have proven helpful at times and been problematic at others, but the Golden Rule is different. It is a divinely inspired, always correct way of remembering and applying “all the law and prophets,” because that’s what it represents and summarizes, according to Jesus (Matthew 7:12).
Despite the prominence given to the Golden Rule by Christ, and the fact that almost all Christians used to memorize and quote it frequently, this is the only modern book on the subject written from a pastoral and theological perspective. In Unto Others, Dave Swavely unravels the mystery of why this lost treasure has been neglected for so long, makes a clear case for its return to prominence in our thinking and actions, and walks us through a set of very practical steps for using it in our everyday lives.
This book will also be helpful to those interested in comparative religions and the uniqueness of Christianity, since forms of the Golden Rule existed prior to Christ, yet he pioneered a distinct version and approach to it. And those concerned with mercy ministry, social justice, and political theory will also welcome the many insights Swavely provides into the use of the Golden Rule in recent American history.
Dave Swavely (M. Div., The Master’s Seminary) served for seven years as an assistant to Dr. John MacArthur and as a pastoral staff member at Grace Community Church in Los Angeles. Since then he has planted and pastored two churches and is currently working on a third plant, while also serving as the Advancement Officer for the international missions organization PAK7.
He co-authored Life in the Father’s House: A Member’s Guide to the Local Church (with Wayne Mack) and From Embers to a Flame: How God Can Revitalize Your Church (with Harry Reeder), and is the sole author of two titles that were published by P&R. He has worked as a journalist for World magazine and has three novels published by Macmillan. His website is DaveSwavely.com and he blogs at TheWayWithWords.net.
Dave and his wife, Jill, have been married for more than thirty years, with seven kids and three grandkids. Together they’ve started several innovative educational programs and housed many people in need. Dave’s life journey has included many failures as well as successes, and he’s learned the most from his failures.
- “A breath of fresh air….just the right balance of law and gospel.”
- “As useful for evangelism as it is for edification.”
- “Sorely needed for the divisive, dysfunctional times in which we live.”
- “One of the most comprehensive and practical treatments I’ve seen.”
- “You won’t want to miss this!”
- “This central teaching of Jesus really is a treasure.”
—Dave Deuel, ThM, MPhil, PhD, Academic Dean Emeritus, The Master’s Academy International and Senior Research Fellow and Policy Advisor, the International Disability Center at Joni and Friends
“In this book Dave Swavely has explained, illustrated, and applied the truths found in a statement made by Jesus Christ as part of the greatest sermon ever preached, commonly called The Sermon on the Mount. Dave has corrected the misunderstanding and misapplication of the statement called The Golden Rule. He has clearly demonstrated its relevance and applicability to living in our present-day world.”
—Wayne Mack, DMin, author of A Practical Guide for Effective Biblical Counseling and Discipleship and the Christian Life Issues series based on The Pilgrim’s Progress
“You have likely heard the expression, “It goes without saying…” I had put the Golden Rule from Christ’s Sermon on the Mount in that category. I assumed everyone knew it and understood it. Dave Swavely’s book, Unto Others, made me realize how naive I was. In this clear and concise exposition, Dave clarifies what the Golden Rule is and what it is not, and how it reflects God’s wisdom for healthy relationships. This book is sorely needed for the divisive, dysfunctional times in which we live.”
—Stan Gale, DMin, author of Finding Forgiveness: Discovering the Healing Power of the Gospel and The Vine-Ripened Life: Spiritual Fruitfulness Through Abiding in Christ
“Dave Swavely takes us to a new place of understanding this ancient belief and bold claim by Jesus. He explains the history, philosophy, and theology of the Golden Rule, highlighting the fact that it is so much more than just a nice thought. In fact, it is impossible to follow without the transformation of the Gospel and the power of the Holy Spirit. Unto Others is insightful and motivating for us to become more like Christ by applying the Golden Rule.”
—Elaine Griffith Petty, MS in Bioethics, international consultant, speaker, leadership coach
“This book is a practical guide, anchored in rich theology, about how to live out the Golden Rule daily in community and culture. Dave explains and illustrates well the tragic and devastating effects of disconnecting this saying of Christ from gospel and theological truth. When that happens, it becomes a self-serving path to self-promotion and a self-righteous path to self-redemption. Devoid of its gospel roots, the Golden Rule becomes merely a shallow, moralistic slogan. But, when understood and practiced in the context of all Scripture, it robustly displays God’s magnificent mercy and grace.”
—Bill Hill, MM, DRS, Executive Director of Equipping Nationals Worldwide and author of Toward a Theological Examination of The Call, Election and Evangelism: Pursuing Balance and Biblical Clarity, and Pastors Training Pastors: Restoring the Pauline Model
“In Unto Others, Dave Swavely draws readers’ attention to the importance of understanding and living by the Golden Rule. He explains well how followers of Christ not only must believe correctly (i.e., orthodoxy), but also act correctly (i.e., orthopraxy). The description of the true meaning of the Golden Rule is one of the most comprehensive and practical treatments that I’ve ever seen. This is a book that you won’t want to miss!”
—Matthew Akers, PhD, Associate Dean of Doctoral Studies, Director of the Hispanic Institute, Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary, author of Equally Yoked and One Lord, One Faith
“The Golden Rule and its call for agape love is a summary command, one that encapsulates other commands (Rom. 13:10). Dave Swavely picks up on this biblical priority in his book, Unto Others, as taught by Jesus. The Golden Rule is truly a key that unlocks priceless treasure and not a mere truism—when its practice is motivated by the gospel of Jesus and gratitude to God. Swavely reminds us to treat people not as they wish per se, but according to the Scriptures—an excellent clarification—and provides helpful practical steps for how to apply the Golden Rule. I highly recommend Unto Others.”
—Greg E. Gifford, PhD, Associate Professor at The Master’s University and author of Heart & Habits: How to Change for Good
“Unto Others revives the biblical understanding of the Golden Rule and provides practical case studies that show Christians how to apply it. It’s timely, and not just because the Rule has suffered abuse even from churchgoers: We live in an age where people redefine morality, reinvent themselves, and set ungodly standards for relationships. The book is a breath of fresh air. Swavely’s exposition is solid and puts the Golden Rule in its proper context of salvation, presenting just the right balance of law and gospel to make the book every bit as useful for evangelism as it is for edification.”
—Robert J. Burrelli Jr., ThM, PhD, Senior Minister, Pilgrim Reformed Bible Church
“Reading Dave Swavely’s book helped me to hear Jesus’ instructions to “treat others as I would want to be treated if I was in their situation, doing what is best for them according to the principles of Scripture.” His historical perspective, his skillful use of Scripture, and his explanation of doctrine act as a foundation and context to everything he is saying. As a mental health professional I am always looking for practical, life-altering truth to pass on to my clients. Dave’s application steps at the end of the book are very clear, practical, doable, life-changing, relationship-changing, church-changing, and society-changing, although he makes it clear that no one can consistently live the Golden Rule without true conversion and the power of the Holy Spirit. World and church history would have never been tainted with prejudice, slavery, oppression, and other forms of injustice if the Golden Rule had been practiced.”
—Vincent L. Calloway, MSS, LCSW, CEAP, Founder of V. Calloway Counseling Associates and author of Who’s Your Daddy? I’m Your Daddy
“Dave Swavely has done us all a favor in focusing our attention afresh on the Golden Rule. His book at the same time is readable, positive, and interesting. It is historical, theological, and biblical. Finally, it is very practical. It’s ideal for group study or classroom use with questions that conclude each chapter. For me the book lives up to its title, for in reading it, I also have rediscovered the Golden Rule. This primary teaching of Jesus really is a treasure.”
—Curt Young, DMin, Pastor Emeritus at Church of the Atonement and author of The Least of These
“Jesus was asked, ‘What is the greatest commandment?’ He answered, ‘ “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”’ It is amazing how many folks do not know that this is the summary of the Ten Commandments. In like manner, people have no idea that the Golden Rule is a summary of Jesus’ teaching on how to live in relationships. This work will help you understand how we lost the Golden Rule and encourage you to regain and practice it.”
—Howard Eyrich, ThM, DMin, Director of Doctor of Ministry and MA Biblical Counseling Program at Birmingham Theological Seminary, author of The Art of Aging: Preparing and Caring, Life Lessons from Ancient Prophets, and James: The Other Side of the Coin
“As the west continues its march to a secular tune, even the most basic biblical themes and ideas are becoming increasingly foreign. The Golden Rule, taught by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount, is one such example. Dave Swavely has written an interesting, accessible book on a text whose meaning we misunderstand—or outright miss—to our own theological peril. Unto Others reminds us that the Golden Rule is no platitude, but as Swavely perceptively notes, is important for our salvation, spiritual growth,and service to others.”
—Ryan Rindels, PhD, Pastor of First Baptist Church, Sonoma,CA and author of Andrew Fuller’s Theology of Revival
“Dave Swavely’s hard work on Unto Others has been a blessing to me. The analysis of the loss of the Golden Rule is spot on, as well as his navigation to rediscovering the Golden Rule. I really appreciate his focus on examining your own life long before seeking to help others—this resonates with the sound doctrine of the Holy Scriptures. Help others to rediscover the Golden Rule by encouraging the reading of this book!”
Johnny Touchet, pastor, missionary, founder of Partner 10:15 Ministries
“C.S. Lewis once remarked that a good moral teacher does not teach new morality but reminds us of the old. Dave has done just that by offering the reader a clear and convincing reminder of the foundation of the Golden Rule by confronting the confusion and cultural misgivings that have jaded the meaning of this most consequential command. In a world where substantial relationships seem impossible, Swavely reminds us of God’s truth that grounds meaningful relationships and roots them deeply in the life-giving and life-sustaining Word of God. ”
—T. Dale Johnson, Jr., PhD, Executive Director of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Associate Professor of Biblical Counseling and Director of Counseling Programs at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and author of The Church as a Culture of Care and The Professionalization of Pastoral Care