Bible Study on the Beatitudes
The word Beatitude literally means, “declaration of blessing”. Each one starts with “God Blesses” or “Blessed are” (depending on your translation of the Bible). Then they give the attitude the heart should possess in order to receive that blessing, then finishes with the blessing itself. The heart is considered the center of ones being including mind, will and emotions. The beatitudes give us a clear picture of being a “True Disciple of God”.
Lets breakdown each Beatitude:
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of God.
In Isaiah 66:2, the “poor in spirit” are those who are spiritually humble. Spiritually humble means not being prideful in your faith. We need to humble ourselves as a child on order to receive the riches of heaven. In Matthew 18:3, Jesus says, ' I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” To be poor in spirit you must have the hunger to seek the kingdom of heaven humbly and not prideful.
Blessed are they that mourn for they shall be comforted.
There are to different approaches to this beatitude, the first being the guilt we carry because of our own sin but we are comforted by the knowledge that Jesus died for our sins and by accepting him as savior we now live under Grace, meaning that God doesn’t see us as sinners anymore.
We tend to beat ourselves up more than we need to when we sin. As soon as one sins Jesus is there to erase it that instant. But like any parent that knows when a child has done wrong, God wants us to admit it, in doing so we acknowledge the action that made us trip in order to avoid it in the future.
The other interpretation is a little more difficult for some to grab onto, when we lose someone in our lives we mourn, cry and sometimes feel a sense of guilt of what we should of done or said while they were still alive. When we arrive at this place the first person to greet us is Jesus with open arms to allow us to mourn on his shoulders. He is also there to remind us that those we lost are waiting for us in paradise.
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
This could be paraphrased like this, Blessed are those who submit to God's authority, making him Lord.
Revelation 21:7 says, “God's children will inherit all things.” And Psalm 37:11, “but the meek shall inherit then earth”.
So what is meekness? It literally means, non-self assertive, defensive or retaliating, being teachable and not being a know-it-all. Meekness is a mark of strength, spirituality(Galatians 5:23), wisdom and leadership, with the traits of patience, gentleness and (one we wish our children had more of) quietness.
How is meekness obtained? The answer is found in Colossians 3:12, “Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”
Blessed are they that hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.
Do not seek happiness, but righteousness you will obtain happiness in the bargain.
Romans 14:17 says, For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
To hunger and thirst for righteousness you have a passionate longing for Jesus because he can satisfy your soul. In our quest for righteousness we need to do or have four things; A) We need to have a commitment to prayer. B) Be retentive of our actions. C) Be persistent in our quest for spiritual knowledge. D) Have an unquenchable desire for God's Word.
We know what hunger and thirst feels like to our human bodies we need to convert the same feelings in our spiritual quest as well.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will obtain mercy.
Simply put we reap what we sow. Those who demonstrate mercy will receive mercy. This mercy is shown through forgiveness, and also offering kindness and compassion toward others. If you hold a grudge against someone and not forgive them, what would to you if God ignored Jesus' plea for mercy on you because you chose not to forgive others.
Mark 11:25, “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you.”
In the fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, the prince shunned the old hag because of her appearance and his punishment was to become the ugliness of the unmerciful act, and only when someone showed him mercy the curse was broken. Fiction and fact isn't that far apart is it!
In downtown Cleveland where I live there is a homeless older African-American gentleman that sits on the corner of the fountain that decorates Public Square. The only thing he does is hold out a cup for any type of mercy that those walking by will give him.
Let's say you walk by and ignore him then when its time to face God on judgment day, God asks you why you never showed him any mercy? Shocked you ask, “Lord when didn't I show you mercy?”, then he answers, “everyday you walked by me and didn't put anything in my cup.”
Maybe a small act as a few coins or a donation to a food pantry may set in motion a reward you thought would never come.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Hebrews 12:14, “Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy without holiness no one will see the Lord.”
A “pure heart” is one that have been cleansed from within. A pure heart starts with the acceptance of Jesus as our Savior, for it is through his blood that we are guiltless before God. The heart is the seat of all secret thoughts, emotions and motives.
1 Timothy 1:5, “The goal of this, command is love, which comes from a pure heart, and a good conscience and a sincere faith.”
An unpolluted heart is one that is; A) Wholly for God. B) Simplicity. C) Moral. D) Ungreedy. E) Trusting. F) Without doubt.
A sign of a polluted heart is found in James 3:10,11, “ Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing, my brothers, this should not be. Can both freshwater and salt water flow from the same spring?”
If you just leave church and then cuss out someone for anything what is your heart condition?
How to keep your heart pure, pray for it, walk in the light (1 John 1:7), hold fast to your profession of faith (Hebrew 3:12), Cast out idols (1 John 5:21) and fill the heart and mind with proactive purity (Ephesians 5:19).
Basically take sinful thoughts and actions from your heart, like revenge and replace it with forgiveness and compassion.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God.
Your actions and words shouldn't be coarse, they should be peaceful and flowery. Meaning always remain calm even in the face of adversity, for a calm mind and heart can accomplish peaceful things more-so than a mind clouded in anger.
Ephesians 5:1, Be imitators of God, therefore as dearly loved children.
Romans 12:18, If it is possible as far as it depends on you live at peace with everyone.
Being a peacemaker is probably one of the hardest thing to do I our relationships. Especially when it comes to dealing with family, friends and failed relationships. Being a peacemaker doesn’t mean becoming an emotional punching bag either. You remain calm and give sound answers and advice, but if met with enragement back away knowing you didn't retaliate. Not engaging in a volatile moment you don't throw gas on an already raged fire. By allowing a cooling off period all parties will or may be more approachable to a peaceful conclusion.
2 Timothy 2:24, And the Lord's servant must not quarrel: instead he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.
Romans 14:19, Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual spiritual improvement.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Just as Jesus faced persecution, so he promised his followers persecution. Those who endure because of their faith rather than hiding their righteousness to avoid persecution are genuine followers of Jesus. When we are confronted for our belief we need to remember Jesus.
Hebrews 12:2, Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. Who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Acts 14:22, Strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God.
When confronted do you say nothing in fear of rebuttal or do you boldly take a stand knowing the truth of Jesus?
Remember, beatitudes give us a clear picture of what being a true disciple of Jesus is and in doing so it takes faith, dedication and knowing Him for all of us to accomplish these goals.
Lord, thank you for the blessing of the knowledge we seek in order to be better disciples in order to do your will in our lives. Amen.