Three Views of the Beatitudes — Matthew 5:1-12

Some of you will be using different denominational curriculum materials to study the beatitudes. Your material may focus on one of these three views or some other view.

First, some will interpret the beatitudes as Jesus’ way of showing us that we need a Savior from sin. If we compare our lives to the way of living that the beatitudes describe, we find that we fall far short of being the kind of person who can be blessed because of our behavior. So, the beatitudes should move us to turn our eyes upon Jesus for salvation. The beatitudes can surely be interpreted to accomplish that purpose.

Second, some will interpret the beatitudes as Jesus’ way of revealing himself or more about himself in a very humble manner. Notice: Jesus did not proudly say, “I am a peacemaker!” However, we know that Jesus was meek, and Jesus was a peacemaker, and Jesus was persecuted for righteousness sake. We can learn a lot about Jesus and His character by comparing His way of life to the beatitudes. Jesus lived what He preached and did not say, “Do as I say; don’t do what I do.”

Third, I could have chosen to write on either of the two views above, but these two views are probably well-covered in the Sunday School quarterlies you may be using. Therefore, the view presented in the International Bible Lesson Commentary is one that looks at the beatitudes as a description of our growing spiritual life in Jesus Christ, which the Bible calls sanctification. You may or may not find this view helpful or interesting, but it is my view while also recognizing the truths of views one and two above.

As you read through the commentary, I hope you will think about the spiritual stages or experiences we may go through in our Christian life and why our Christian life is blessed, a happy life despite our daily struggles. Please do not think of this third view in a mechanical way or think you must go through these “stages” with a checklist to make sure you go through them all in the “right” order, or think you must go through all the “stages” in the beatitudes to be saved. Rather, believers do come to Christ for the first time as poor in spirit, and many mature believers are persecuted for righteousness and for the sake of Christ, and others find themselves many times as peacemakers. We will not be blessed as the beatitudes describe apart from the work of the Holy Spirit as He applies the truth of Jesus Christ and the Bible to our lives and we grow and conform our lives to the image of Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, I have studied the beatitudes for so many years that I cannot remember who to give the credit to for this third view. If you know others who have taught this view, please let me know so I can give them credit.

Please share what you have learned or are learning from the beatitudes on this Forum. We can all be blessed from your sharing!

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May God continue to bless your Bible study and teaching and encourage you by His Word and Spirit!

CLICK HERE To Go to the International Bible Lesson Commentary and International Bible Lesson for additional Uniform Sunday School Lesson Series Resources.

Teaching the Truth in Love for the Love of God’s Word and His people,
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