Sermon on the Mount Bible Study

The Sermon on the Mount: Lesson 1- Introduction

Welcome to our new study, The Sermon on the Mount!

What does God’s Word teach us about thinking biblically and developing Christian character? Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount in Matthew starts off with a list of character traits God blesses (the Beatitudes), then fleshes out how to submit to Scripture in real life scenarios in order for the Holy Spirit to grow us in those godly character traits. For the next several weeks, we’ll be working our way through the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7.

Our lovely title pic for the study was designed by Tammy Athey. The photo is her own, captured in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina. Many thanks to all of those who worked so hard on your entries for our title pic contest. You ladies were very creative and did some outstanding work! 

There were too many entries to share all of them with you, but here are a few “honorable mentions”:

If you’re new to using my Bible studies, just a few housekeeping items and helpful hints:

The studies I’ve written (you can find all of them at the Bible Studies tab in the blue menu bar at the top of this page) are like “training wheels”. They’re designed to teach you how to study the Bible for yourself and what kinds of questions to ask of the text so that, when you get the hang of it, you won’t have to depend on other people’s books and materials – even mine – any more. To that end, I do not provide answers for the study questions in the studies I’ve written.

My studies are meant to be extremely flexible and self-paced so that you can use them in the way that works best for you. You can do an entire lesson in one day or work on the questions over the course of the week (or longer). You do not need to feel obligated to answer all (or any) of the questions. If the Holy Spirit parks you on one question for several days, enjoy digging deep into that one aspect of the lesson. If He shows you something I haven’t written a question about that captures your attention, dive in and study it! Those are ways the Holy Spirit speaks to us through His Word. This is your time to commune with the Lord, not a school assignment or work project you are beholden to complete in a certain way by a certain deadline.

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I use hyperlinks liberallyThe Scriptures for each lesson will be linked at the beginning of the lesson and in the lesson questions. As you’re reading the lesson, whenever you see a word in a different color text, click on it, and it will take you to a Scripture, article, or other resource that will help as you study.

All of the studies I’ve written are suitable for groups or individuals. You are welcome to use them as a Sunday school or Bible study class curriculum (for free) with proper attribution.

You are also welcome to print out any of my Bible studies (or any article I’ve written) for free and make as many copies as you’d like, again, with proper attribution. I’ve explained more about that in this article (3rd section).


Introduction to The Sermon on the Mount

Before we begin studying a book of the Bible, it’s very important that we understand some things about that book. But even though we’re not going to be studying the whole book this time, we still need to know…

Who the author was and anything we might be able to find out about him or his background.

Who the audience of the book is: Jews or Gentiles? Old Testament Israelites or New Testament Christians? This will help us understand the author’s purpose and approach to what he’s writing.

What kind of biblical literature we’re looking at. We approach books of history differently than books of wisdom, books of wisdom differently than books of prophecy, etc.

What the purpose of the book is. Was it written to encourage? Rebuke? Warn?

What the historical backdrop is for the book. Is Israel at war? At peace? In exile? Under a bad king? Good king? Understanding the historical events surrounding a piece of writing help us understand what was written and why it was written.

When the book was written. Where does the book fall on the timeline of biblical history? This is especially important for Old Testament books which are not always arranged in chronological order.

So this week, before we start studying the actual text of the Sermon on the Mount, we need to lay the foundation to understanding the book by finding the answers to these questions.

Read the following overviews of the book of Matthew, taking notes on anything that might aid your understanding of the book, and, particularly the Sermon on the Mount and answer the questions below:

Bible Introductions: Matthew at Grace to You

Overview of the Book of Matthew at Reformed Answers

Summary of the Gospel of Matthew at Got Questions

1. Who wrote the book of Matthew? How do we know this?

2. Approximately when was Matthew written? What is the geographical setting of the book of Matthew? Here are some maps (scroll down to “Matthew”) that may be helpful as you study through the book of Matthew.

3. Who is the original, intended audience of the book of Matthew? Describe the historical setting (historic events, politics, sociology of the time, etc.) of Matthew.

4. Which genre of biblical literature is the book of Matthew: law, history, wisdom, poetry, narrative, epistles, or prophecy/apocalyptic? What does this tell us about the approach we should take when studying this book versus our approach to books of other genres?

5. What is the theme or purpose of the book of Matthew?

6. What are some of the major topics of instruction in the book of Matthew? How do these topics relate to the theme of Matthew?

7. What are some ways Matthew points to and connects to Jesus?

8. What else did you learn about Matthew or the setting of this book that might help you understand the Sermon on the Mount better?

Take some time in prayer this week to begin preparing your heart for this study. Ask God to grow you in holiness and in following the exhortations of Christ as we study together The Sermon on the Mount.

Sermon on the Mount Bible Study

New Bible Study Kickoff and Title Pic Contest

Happy Wednesday, Ladies!

Thank you so much for all of your helpful input regarding which Bible study you’d like to do next. We will be doing Forgiven to Forgive1 at a later date, but today, we’re kicking off our next study…

…..with a fun title pic contest!

What does God’s Word teach us about thinking biblically and developing Christian character? Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount in Matthew starts off with a list of character traits God blesses (the Beatitudes), then fleshes out how to submit to Scripture in real life scenarios in order for the Holy Spirit to grow us in those godly character traits.

The Sermon on the Mount will be an “expositorially topical” (an expository deep dive into a short segment of Scripture) study of Matthew 5-7, similar in format to The Ten. We will examine the character traits God blesses in Christians and how God develops those traits in us as we walk with Him through the practical circumstances of life and as we develop a biblical worldview.

But before we get started studying, how about a little fun?

You’ve probably noticed that I design a title picture for each Bible study I write. Here are a few past title pics:

You can see the rest of them at the Bible Studies tab in the blue menu bar at the top of this page, if you like, to get a feel for my style and the general appearance I like my title pics to portray.

Y’all have sent in some beautiful and creative entries in our past title pic contests – indeed, the title pics for The Women of Genesis, Living Stones, and Imperishable Beauty were all designed by readers – so, once again, I wanted to get some of you involved in the design process for our new study.

Do you enjoy and have a knack for photo editing? Know someone who does? If so, I’m accepting submissions for title pictures for The Sermon on the Mount study. If your submission is chosen it will be used each week of the study, and you’ll be credited (name or website) by watermark. I’d love to be able to offer a huge cash prize, but, hey, we’re small potatoes here. This is just for fun and maybe a little publicity for your site, if you have one.

Contest Guidelines

 You must use images that don’t require attribution. Pictures you’ve taken yourself are fine, as are images from sources such as Pixabay, Pexels, Freely, Unsplash, StockSnap, or other free stock photo web sites. Please include the image source web sites you use along with your submission. (You cannot just grab and use any old picture off the internet. Photographers own their images and usually require permission, attribution, and often a fee, for their use.)

Title pics should be landscape (a horizontal rectangle) with a width of 1000-2000 pixels and proportionate height. I prefer JPG images, but PNG is fine, too, if necessary.

 Your title pic must contain the full title of the study: The Sermon on the Mount. (Be sure to double check your spelling). 

 If your submission is selected, I’ll be glad to watermark it with your website address (please submit your picture without any watermarks) if you have one, as long as your web site doesn’t conflict with my statement of faith or my beliefs outlined in the Welcome tab.

 Deadline for submissions is 11:59 p.m. Monday, January 18, 2021

E-mail your title pic submission along with your full name, web site address (if any), and the source(s) you used for your image(s) to MichelleLesley1@yahoo.com. You are welcome to submit as many images as you like.

 Please don’t be offended if your submission isn’t selected. If I peruse all the submissions and I’m just not “feeling it,” I may still elect to design one of my own.

Feel free to share this around with friends who have an interest in photo editing. If you want to take a whack at it for fun but don’t know where to start, play around with Be Funky, PicMonkey, or Canva and see which one works best for you.

Think about – maybe even read – the Sermon on the Mount and try to capture in your image the theme of what Jesus was teaching or what it might have looked or felt like to be in the audience Jesus preached it to.

Happy designing!


1For those who were hoping for the study on forgiveness, you’ll notice that the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7 does touch on that topic, so we will cover it, albeit briefly, as part of this study.