from the Committee on Ministry and Counsel
The Beatitudes (Matthew 5: 3-10) – Three Versions
Bob Fisher writes:
Imagine that you are poor and live in a European country that is occupied by the Nazis (or are an African American in the 1950s). Imagine that your own religious and political leaders had, essentially, sold out to the occupiers or to the powers that be. Or imagine that you had a disability or had been wrongfully imprisoned and had been told all of your life that you were powerless and worthless.
Now imagine a teacher who is generating a lot of excitement in your community. Imagine him talking about not cowing down to the enemy and not taking up arms against them, but Loving them! About walking the extra mile, turning the other cheek, giving your sweater when your coat is taken. Imagine him talking about another kingdom that is "at hand"! About Truth setting you free.
And imagine that he walked the talk, that he knew the law better than anyone and that he lived in the spirit of the law. Imagine that he spoke truth to power and that he spoke that truth with great love, and not only that, but his followers were also loving and courageous and treated you with genuine respect.
Imagine hearing the teacher for the first time. Imagine hearing these words:
God blesses those people who depend only on him. They belong to the kingdom of heaven!
God blesses those people who grieve. They will find comfort!
God blesses those people who are humble. The earth will belong to them!
God blesses those people who want to obey him more than eat or drink. They will be given what they want.
God blesses those people who are merciful. They will be treated with mercy!
God blesses those people whose hearts are pure. They will see him!
God blesses those people who make peace. They will be called his children!
God blesses those people who are treated badly for doing right. They belong to
the kingdom of heaven.
(Contemporary English Version)
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the
kingdom of heaven.
(New Revised Standard Version)
How happy are the humble-minded, for the kingdom of Heaven is theirs!
How happy are those who know what sorrow means, for they will be given
courage and comfort!
Happy are those who claim nothing, for the whole earth will belong to them!
Happy are those who are hungry and thirsty for goodness, for they will be fully
Happy are the merciful, for they will have mercy shown to them!
Happy are the utterly sincere, for they will see God!
Happy are those who make peace, for they will be sons of God!
Happy are those who have suffered persecution for the cause of goodness, for
the kingdom of Heaven is theirs!
(J. B. Phillips Translation of the New Testament)