Matthew 5

The Sermon on the Mount: The Beatitudes

1 Now [when he] saw the crowds, he went up the mountain and [after he] sat down, his disciples approached him.
2 And opening his mouth he began to teach them, saying,
3 "Blessed [are] the poor in spirit, because theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed [are] the ones who mourn, because they will be comforted.
5 Blessed [are] the meek, because they will inherit the earth.
6 Blessed [are] the ones who hunger and thirst [for] righteousness, because they will be satisfied.
7 Blessed [are] the merciful, because they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed [are] the pure in heart, because they will see God.
9 Blessed [are] the peacemakers, because they will be called sons of God.
10 Blessed [are] those who are persecuted because of righteousness, because theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute [you] and say all kinds of evil things against you, lying on account of me.
12 Rejoice and be glad, because your reward [is] great in heaven, for in the [same] way they persecuted the prophets before you.

The Sermon on the Mount: Salt and Light

13 "You are the salt of the earth. But if salt becomes tasteless, by what will it be made salty? It is good for nothing any longer except to be thrown outside [and] trampled under foot by people.
14 You are the light of the world. A city located on top of a hill cannot be hidden,
15 nor do they light a lamp and place it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it shines on all those in the house.
16 In the [same] way let your light shine before people, so that they can see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

The Sermon on the Mount: The Law and the Prophets Fulfilled

17 "Do not think that I have come to destroy the law or the prophets. I have not come to destroy [them] but to fulfill [them].
18 For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one tiny letter or one stroke of a letter will pass away from the law until all takes place.
19 Therefore whoever abolishes one of the least of these commandments and teaches people to do so will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever keeps [them] and teaches [them], this person will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
20 For I say to you that unless your righteousness greatly surpasses [that] of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter into the kingdom of heaven.

The Sermon on the Mount: Anger Toward Others

21 "You have heard that it was said to the {people of old}, 'Do not commit murder,' and 'whoever commits murder will be subject to judgment.'
22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry at his brother will be subject to judgment, and whoever says to his brother, 'Stupid fool!' will be subject to the council, and whoever says, 'Obstinate fool!' will be subject to fiery hell.
23 Therefore if you present your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you,
24 leave your gift there before the altar and first go be reconciled to your brother, and then come [and] present your gift.
25 {Settle the case quickly with your accuser} while you are with him on the way, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the officer, and you be thrown into prison.
26 Truly I say to you, you will never come out of there until you have paid back the last penny!

The Sermon on the Mount: Adultery and Lust

27 "You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery.'
28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
29 And if your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw [it] from you! For it is better for you that one of your members be destroyed than your whole body be thrown into hell.
30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw [it] from you! For it is better for you that one of your limbs be destroyed than your whole body go into hell.

The Sermon on the Mount: Divorce

31 "And it was said, 'Whoever divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.'
32 But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for a matter of sexual immorality, causes her to commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

The Sermon on the Mount: Taking Oaths

33 "Again you have heard that it was said to the {people of old}, 'Do not swear falsely, but fulfill your oaths to the Lord.'
34 But I say to you, do not swear at all, either by heaven, because it is the throne of God,
35 or by the earth, because it is the footstool of his feet, or by Jerusalem, because it is the city of the great king.
36 And do not swear by your head, because you are not able to make one hair white or black.
37 But let your statement be 'Yes, yes; no, no,' and anything beyond these is from the evil one.

The Sermon on the Mount: Retaliation

38 "You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.'
39 But I say to you, do not resist the evildoer, but whoever strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other to him also.
40 And the one who wants to go to court with you and take your tunic, {let him have} your outer garment also.
41 And whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two.
42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

The Sermon on the Mount: Love for Enemies

43 "You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor' and 'Hate your enemy.'
44 But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
45 in order that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven, because he causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust.
46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not the tax collectors also do the same?
47 And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing that is remarkable? Do not the Gentiles also do the same?
48 Therefore you be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Images for Matthew 5

Matthew 5 Commentary

Chapter 5

Christ's sermon on the mount. (1,2) Who are blessed. (3-12) Exhortations and warnings. (13-16) Christ came to confirm the law. (17-20) The sixth commandment. (21-26) The seventh commandment. (27-32) The third commandment. (33-37) The law of retaliation. (38-42) The law of love explained. (43-48)

Verses 1-2 None will find happiness in this world or the next, who do not seek it from Christ by the rule of his word. He taught them what was the evil they should abhor, and what the good they should seek and abound in.

Verses 3-12 Our Saviour here gives eight characters of blessed people, which represent to us the principal graces of a Christian. 1. The poor in spirit are happy. These bring their minds to their condition, when it is a low condition. They are humble and lowly in their own eyes. They see their want, bewail their guilt, and thirst after a Redeemer. The kingdom of grace is of such; the kingdom of glory is for them. 2. Those that mourn are happy. That godly sorrow which worketh true repentance, watchfulness, a humble mind, and continual dependence for acceptance on the mercy of God in Christ Jesus, with constant seeking the Holy Spirit, to cleanse away the remaining evil, seems here to be intended. Heaven is the joy of our Lord; a mountain of joy, to which our way is through a vale of tears. Such mourners shall be comforted by their God. 3. The meek are happy. The meek are those who quietly submit to God; who can bear insult; are silent, or return a soft answer; who, in their patience, keep possession of their own souls, when they can scarcely keep possession of anything else. These meek ones are happy, even in this world. Meekness promotes wealth, comfort, and safety, even in this world. 4. Those who hunger and thirst after righteousness are happy. Righteousness is here put for all spiritual blessings. These are purchased for us by the righteousness of Christ, confirmed by the faithfulness of God. Our desires of spiritual blessings must be earnest. Though all desires for grace are not grace, yet such a desire as this, is a desire of God's own raising, and he will not forsake the work of his own hands. 5. The merciful are happy. We must not only bear our own afflictions patiently, but we must do all we can to help those who are in misery. We must have compassion on the souls of others, and help them; pity those who are in sin, and seek to snatch them as brands out of the burning. 6. The pure in heart are happy; for they shall see God. Here holiness and happiness are fully described and put together. The heart must be purified by faith, and kept for God. Create in me such a clean heart, O God. None but the pure are capable of seeing God, nor would heaven be happiness to the impure. As God cannot endure to look upon their iniquity, so they cannot look upon his purity. 7. The peace-makers are happy. They love, and desire, and delight in peace; and study to be quiet. They keep the peace that it be not broken, and recover it when it is broken. If the peace-makers are blessed, woe to the peace-breakers! 8. Those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake are happy. This saying is peculiar to Christianity; and it is more largely insisted upon than any of the rest. Yet there is nothing in our sufferings that can merit of God; but God will provide that those who lose for him, though life itself, shall not lose by him in the end. Blessed Jesus! how different are thy maxims from those of men of this world! They call the proud happy, and admire the gay, the rich, the powerful, and the victorious. May we find mercy from the Lord; may we be owned as his children, and inherit his kingdom. With these enjoyments and hopes, we may cheerfully welcome low or painful circumstances.

Verses 13-16 Ye are the salt of the earth. Mankind, lying in ignorance and wickedness, were as a vast heap, ready to putrify; but Christ sent forth his disciples, by their lives and doctrines to season it with knowledge and grace. If they are not such as they should be, they are as salt that has lost its savour. If a man can take up the profession of Christ, and yet remain graceless, no other doctrine, no other means, can make him profitable. Our light must shine, by doing such good works as men may see. What is between God and our souls, must be kept to ourselves; but that which is of itself open to the sight of men, we must study to make suitable to our profession, and praiseworthy. We must aim at the glory of God.

Verses 17-20 Let none suppose that Christ allows his people to trifle with any commands of God's holy law. No sinner partakes of Christ's justifying righteousness, till he repents of his evil deeds. The mercy revealed in the gospel leads the believer to still deeper self-abhorrence. The law is the Christian's rule of duty, and he delights therein. If a man, pretending to be Christ's disciple, encourages himself in any allowed disobedience to the holy law of God, or teaches others to do the same, whatever his station or reputation among men may be, he can be no true disciple. Christ's righteousness, imputed to us by faith alone, is needed by every one that enters the kingdom of grace or of glory; but the new creation of the heart to holiness, produces a thorough change in a man's temper and conduct.

Verses 21-26 The Jewish teachers had taught, that nothing except actual murder was forbidden by the sixth commandment. Thus they explained away its spiritual meaning. Christ showed the full meaning of this commandment; according to which we must be judged hereafter, and therefore ought to be ruled now. All rash anger is heart murder. By our brother, here, we are to understand any person, though ever so much below us, for we are all made of one blood. "Raca," is a scornful word, and comes from pride: "Thou fool," is a spiteful word, and comes from hatred. Malicious slanders and censures are poison that kills secretly and slowly. Christ told them that how light soever they made of these sins, they would certainly be called into judgment for them. We ought carefully to preserve Christian love and peace with all our brethren; and if at any time there is a quarrel, we should confess our fault, humble ourselves to our brother, making or offering satisfaction for wrong done in word or deed: and we should do this quickly; because, till this is done, we are unfit for communion with God in holy ordinances. And when we are preparing for any religious exercises, it is good for us to make that an occasion of serious reflection and self-examination. What is here said is very applicable to our being reconciled to God through Christ. While we are alive, we are in the way to his judgement-seat; after death, it will be too late. When we consider the importance of the case, and the uncertainty of life, how needful it is to seek peace with God, without delay!

Verses 27-32 Victory over the desires of the heart, must be attended with painful exertions. But it must be done. Every thing is bestowed to save us from our sins, not in them. All our senses and powers must be kept from those things which lead to transgression. Those who lead others into temptation to sin, by dress or in other ways, or leave them in it, or expose them to it, make themselves guilty of their sin, and will be accountable for it. If painful operations are submitted to, that our lives may be saved, what ought our minds to shrink from, when the salvation of our souls is concerned? There is tender mercy under all the Divine requirements, and the grace and consolations of the Spirit will enable us to attend to them.

Verses 33-37 There is no reason to consider that solemn oaths in a court of justice, or on other proper occasions, are wrong, provided they are taken with due reverence. But all oaths taken without necessity, or in common conversation, must be sinful, as well as all those expressions which are appeals to God, though persons think thereby to evade the guilt of swearing. The worse men are, the less they are bound by oaths; the better they are, the less there is need for them. Our Lord does not enjoin the precise terms wherein we are to affirm or deny, but such a constant regard to truth as would render oaths unnecessary.

Verses 38-42 The plain instruction is, Suffer any injury that can be borne, for the sake of peace, committing your concerns to the Lord's keeping. And the sum of all is, that Christians must avoid disputing and striving. If any say, Flesh and blood cannot pass by such an affront, let them remember, that flesh and blood shall not inherit the kingdom of God; and those who act upon right principles will have most peace and comfort.

Verses 43-48 The Jewish teachers by "neighbour" understood only those who were of their own country, nation, and religion, whom they were pleased to look upon as their friends. The Lord Jesus teaches that we must do all the real kindness we can to all, especially to their souls. We must pray for them. While many will render good for good, we must render good for evil; and this will speak a nobler principle than most men act by. Others salute their brethren, and embrace those of their own party, and way, and opinion, but we must not so confine our respect. It is the duty of Christians to desire, and aim at, and press towards perfection in grace and holiness. And therein we must study to conform ourselves to the example of our heavenly Father, 1Pe. 1:15, 1Pe. 1:16 . Surely more is to be expected from the followers of Christ than from others; surely more will be found in them than in others. Let us beg of God to enable us to prove ourselves his children.

Footnotes 21

  • [a]. *Here "[when]" is supplied as a component of the participle ("saw") which is understood as temporal
  • [b]. *Here "[after]" is supplied as a component of the participle ("sat down") which is understood as temporal
  • [c]. *Here "[and]" is supplied because the previous participle ("thrown") has been translated as a finite verb
  • [d]. Literally "ancients"
  • [e]. A quotation from Exod 20:13; Deut 5:17
  • [f]. Greek "Raca," a term of verbal abuse involving lack of intelligence
  • [g]. Perhaps with the idea of obstinate, godless foolishness; some take the word to be a Greek transliteration of the Hebrew word for "rebel" (Deut 21:18, 20)
  • [h]. *Here "[and]" is supplied because the previous participle ("come") has been translated as a finite verb
  • [i]. Literally "be making friends quickly with your accuser"
  • [j]. A quotation from Exod 20:14; Deut 5:17
  • [k]. A quotation from Deut 24:1
  • [l]. Literally "ancients"
  • [m]. Or "do not break your oath"
  • [n]. A quotation from Lev 19:12
  • [o]. Or "is of evil"
  • [p]. A quotation from Exod 21:24; Lev 24:20
  • [q]. Some manuscripts have "your right cheek"
  • [r]. Literally "leave to him"
  • [s]. A Roman mile was originally a thousand paces, but was later fixed at eight stades (1,478.5 meters)
  • [t]. A quotation from Lev 19:18
  • [u]. An allusion to Deut 23:3-6

Matthew 5 Commentaries