Questions to Consider
1. Briefly review the background to the Sermon on the Mount in Lesson 2 (link above).
2. Read Matthew 5:1-12. This passage is usually called “The Beatitudes”. How did it happen that Jesus had crowds (v.1) following Him? How did John the Baptist’s ministry (see Lesson 2, link above) help prepare the hearts of the people to hear the Beatitudes? What was the thrust of his message, and what is the thrust of the Beatitudes?
3. Carefully examine verses 3-12. Each Beatitude is written in a three part format. Identify and describe each of the three parts.
4. What word do verses 3-11 start with? What does it mean to be blessed? Who is doing the blessing, who is receiving the blessing, and how does being blessed impact a Christian’s life? (Hint: Use your cross references, and search the word “blessed” in a good concordance.)
5. Make a list of the middle part (the state of being or heart attitude) of each Beatitude (poor in spirit, merciful, etc.). What do each of these words or phrases mean? Use your cross-references and make every effort to define each term yourself first, but if you’re a new Christian or new to the Bible, here’s a little help if you get stuck (scroll down to “Related Topics”).
Read, examine, and consider all of the “middle parts” of the Beatitudes together as a unit. Write a 2-3 sentence synopsis of the middle parts. Are the Beatitudes like the spiritual gifts in that everybody gets at least one, but nobody gets all of them (ex: You’re a peacemaker, but I’m meek.)? Or art the Beatitudes more like the Fruit of the Spirit in that all Christians are supposed to embody everything on the list? Explain your answer. If you answered that the Beatitudes are like the spiritual gifts, list the Beatitudes that only some Christians are meant to embody, and explain why that Beatitude doesn’t apply to all Christians.
6. Make a list of the “third part” (the consequence or blessing) of each Beatitude (receive mercy, called sons of God, etc.). What do each of these words or phrases mean? (Use your cross-references.) Would you characterize these consequences as similar to one another, or very different from one another?
Read, examine, and consider all of the consequences of the Beatitudes together as a unit. Write a 2-3 sentence synopsis of the consequences. Do all of these consequences apply to all Christians who pursue holiness? Why or why not?
7. How many Beatitudes (3-12) are there? If I said to you, “In some ways, the Beatitudes are to the New Testament / New Covenant what the 10 Commandments were to the Old Testament / Old Covenant,” would you agree or disagree? Why? Consider the content, context, and audience of both Christ’s preaching of the Beatitudes and Moses delivering the 10 Commandments to God’s people. Compare the way God’s people in the Old Testament regarded the 10 Commandments with the way Christians regard the teachings contained in the Beatitudes. Think about these passages as you answer these questions. How might Jesus delivering the Sermon on the Mount have reminded the people that God had promised to raise up for them a prophet like Moses?
- Once you have finished the lesson, you may wish to listen to this series of sermons on the Beatitudes by John MacArthur.
- Use the Beatitudes as a prayer guide this week, asking God to increase your Christlikeness in the state of being / heart attitude parts, and thanking Him for blessing you with the consequences of each.
Suggested Memory Verse
Normally, in this section, I will provide you with a suggested verse from that day’s passage to memorize. But today, I want you to pick. Was there a certain verse that particularly impacted you, comforted you, or that deals with a heart attitude you’re praying God will grow you in? Work on memorizing that verse this week. If you’re more advanced in Scripture memory work, or if you just want to challenge yourself, consider memorizing verses 3-12.
Starting with our next lesson, all suggested memory verses will be superimposed on the image above. If you like everything to match (like I do!), you’re welcome to grab the image above and put this week’s memory verse (of your choosing) on it using a photo editor. (And if you’re really obsessive about matching – again, like I am – I’ll be using “Syncopate” font in grey.) Use it for your screensaver or wallpaper, your social media cover photo, or print it out and stick it somewhere you’ll see it often.