What are the Beatitudes?

The Bible is filled with moments where God provides a clear blueprint for how we’re supposed to live our lives.

The Beatitudes are one of the most famous. So, what are the Beatitudes? Let’s look a little more closely at these Bible verses and how they can help us.

The Sermon on the Mount

The Beatitudes are part of the Sermon on the Mount, which took place early in Jesus’ ministry. They are located in the Gospel of Matthew, in chapter 5, verses 3-12.

The Beatitudes are a sweet promise that living a meek and merciful life will be rewarded. There are eight Beatitudes, each beginning with the phrase “blessed are…” Beatitudes can also be found in the Old Testament, for example in Psalms 65:4.

Most of Jesus’ sermons included parables, or short narratives designed to teach a moral lesson. The Beatitudes are unique because they don’t include a narrative of any kind. They emphasize the following ideals that are central to Jesus’ life and mission:

  • Having strong morals
  • Practicing compassion
  • Treating others with mercy

The Greek word that is translated to “blessed” can also mean “happy, “blissful” or, literally translated, “to be enlarged.”

This shows us that in the Beatitudes, Jesus isn’t just talking about a happy state of mind, he’s talking about the rewards that come from living a spiritually grounded life, one that’s girded by God’s love.

The Ideal Disciple

In the Beatitudes, Jesus is also talking about the qualities that can make someone an ideal disciple. This kind of person is living out God’s direction in their lives, and following His lead.

A Guidepost for Life

What are the Beatitudes? Another way to think of them is a guidepost. In moments where you might feel lonely or doubtful, the Beatitudes provide the reassurance that God is looking out for you, right where you are.

The 8 Beatitudes (Blessings) of Jesus in Matthew 5:3-10

Jesus said:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.

Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.

Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

In Matthew (more than in Luke) the Beatitudes refer to moral or spiritual qualities of Christian discipleship. This is a short clip from the Movie Jesus of Nazareth played by Robert Powell as Jesus.

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