Bible with Cross ShadowDid you know that the Bible was not written in chapter and verse form? Chapters were first introduced in 1227, by Stephen Langton. Verse divisions were introduced by Robert Stephanus in 1551. Chapter and verse divisions were added for the convenience of reference and quotation purposes.

However, “it must always be remembered that the divisions into chapters and verses are human-made. They are sometimes arbitrary, and they sometimes interfere with the sense of the passage. The divisions into chapters and verses can actually cause some problems.” See FAQ by Don Stewart for more on the challenges that chapter and verse introduce in Bible interpretation.

Having chapter and verse divisions certainly makes it easier to find passages and direct others to them. It also makes for convenience in summarizing a series on “These Sayings of Mine”. So, with care to avoid any problems such delineation may cause, here is a brief summary of Matthew, chapter 5.

General Message

Beginning His sermon with the Beatitudes, Jesus lays a foundation for our understanding of the normal Christian life. It is a life of being, and being made. It is essential that we understand this from the beginning; for the sayings that follow are otherwise confusing and/or discouraging. Jesus made it clear from the beginning that our hope must not be in our self will and power.

Only Jesus Christ can live the normal Christian life. We know that He has come to live that life through us. The first disciples did not have the advantage of that understanding; and, still, they determined to trust and follow Him. For the modern disciple, this is a challenge and encouragement to embrace the truth: That Jesus would only command that which the Father was willing and capable of doing in and through us.

Emphatically, Jesus states that we are the salt and light of the world. Our responsibility is to be surrendered vessels; to let our light shine. Similarly, we learn that Jesus came to fulfill the law; and to do that from within us. This has been the Father’s plan from the beginning – to transform us into the image of the glory of His Son.

From this foundation, we have hope for a house that will withstand every storm. We have hope for hearing and doing the sayings of Jesus.

Specific Sayings

  1. Guard Your Tongue
  2. Be Reconciled
  3. Guard Your Heart
  4. Be Serious About Sin
  5. Fear the Consequences of Divorce
  6. Do Not Swear at All
  7. Overcome Evil with Good
  8. Give and Lend (Trust and Obey)
  9. Love, Bless, Do Good, and Pray for Your Enemies
  10. Be Extraordinary; Be Perfect

While chapters and verses are man-made, we recognize that the order and flow of The Sermon on the Mount is not. Jesus only spoke what the Father was speaking; and that with intentionality. It is critical that we stop here to believe the word of God – and allow the Holy Spirit to renew our minds in the truth of it – before moving deeper into our Master’s sermon.

Let us pray, for ourselves and those we love, that God would enlighten our hearts; and in receiving the gift of faith and the love of the truth, we would become His instruments of righteousness. Let us pray for transformation, that the world would see the light that is within us. Let us pray for the Life that saves us. Let us pray in His holy name. Amen.

Humbly yours and forever His,