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Reposted from the Christianity stack exchange site, as off-topic there.


A possible observation I made is that the Beatitudes lay out a map for what follows immediately after in the sermon on the mount, but in reverse order. I.e., the structure is A B B' A'.


Here is my consideration:

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Compare gaining the kingdom of heaven with laying up treasures in heaven as discussed in Matthew 6:19-24.

"Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted." Compare true mourning with the hypocritical mournful fasting described in Matthew 6:16-18

"Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth." Compare meekness to loud, public praying to increase one's stature as in Matthew 6:5-14.

"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied." Compare seeking righteousness to the false seeking of righteousness in Matthew 6:1-4.

"Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy." Compare mercy to not retaliating against enemies in Matthew 5:38-48.

"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." Compare purity of heart to sexual impurity discussed in Matthew 5:27-32 with lust and adultery.

"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons[a] of God." Compare peacemaking to the anger Jesus discusses in Matthew 5:21-26.

"Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Compare to the short paragraph immediately following expanding on this in Matthew 5:11-12.


I am not trained in any Biblical scholarship. My question is that can an argument be made that the text does indeed follow this structure? And if so, have any commentaries or Biblical writers made such an observation?

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What an interesting observation. You're on the right track in that the Beatitudes introduce all that will be discussed in the rest of the sermon, but the chiasm breaks down once we look up the OT passages Jesus was referencing. Mourning, meekness, and peacemaking meant different things to Jesus than we imagine today. The Beatitudes are a map of how we should live out our witness, a step-by-step process. You are welcome to read my book on the sermon, The Trouble With Christians, for a in-depth look at every verse.

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