Bible Dictionary

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Sermon on the Mount

Matt. 5:1–7:29. A discourse by the Lord to His disciples who were about to be sent forth on missions. It should be placed chronologically soon after the calling of the Twelve. It is similar in many respects to a sermon recorded in Luke 6:20–49, although the Matthew account contains more pointed references to the law, the prophets, and the individual calling and responsibility of the disciples. The Luke account appears to have a more general application. For example, “Ye are the salt of the earth” (Matt. 5:13); “Ye are the light of the world” (Matt. 5:14); and, “take no thought, saying, What shall we eat … drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed” (Matt. 6:31) do not occur in the Luke account. The Sermon in Matthew is greatly clarified by the JST (see Matt. 5–7 footnotes and JST Appendix) and a similar sermon recorded in 3 Ne. 12–14. These sources reveal that certain plain and precious information has not survived in the KJV account.

    A brief analysis of the Matthew record is as follows:
  1. The subjects of the kingdom: their character and privileges (5:3–12), and their responsibility (5:13–16).
  2. The kingdom of heaven in relation to the law (5:17–48) and Pharisaic rules (6:1–34). It is the highest fulfillment of the law in regard to the Decalogue (5:21–37); the law of retaliation (5:38–42); and love or charity (5:43–48). It exceeds the righteousness of the Pharisees in regard to almsgiving (6:1–4); prayer (6:5–15); fasting (6:16–18); and earthly possessions and daily cares (6:19–34).
  3. Characteristics of the life within the kingdom: judgment on others (7:1–6); the Father’s love for His children (7:7–12); the narrow entrance (7:13–14); the danger of false guides and the test of the true (7:15–23); a description of the true subjects of the kingdom, as distinguished from the false (7:24–27).