Matthew 5:2

He opened his mouth, and taught them. Our Lord was both a Teacher and a Preacher. The teacher aims at instruction; he seeks to arouse the activity of his scholars' minds. The preacher aims at persuasion, and seeks to arouse into activity the moral nature. The teacher will prefer the interlocutory method; the preacher will prefer the lengthened and systematic address. The so-called sermon on the mount is the full outline, giving the chief points of a continuous address, whose subject is - "A new idea of righteousness." No doubt our Lord had previously spoken in the synagogues, and to small audiences in the houses, but then he would adopt the conversational style. Matthew leads us to think that the pressure of the people led our Lord to adopt the open-air preaching, which became a characteristic feature of his ministry. At once he was recognized as a new preacher, with a new theme, a new style, and a new power.

I. THE NEW THEME. There is the virtually new' and the actually new. That which has long been covered over and lost seems new when it is restored to its place again. The spiritual truths of Mosaism had long been hidden under a mass of rabbinical opinions and ceremonies. Christ brought those spiritual truths and claims into power and prominence again. He took up the much-debated question, "What is righteousness? and how is it to be obtained?" The ruling theme of this first discourse is righteousness; and our Lord makes it a new thing, by sweeping away the rabbinical idea that righteousness is a routine. He shows that it is

(1) character, and

(2) conduct inspired and toned by character.

II. THE NEW STYLE. The prevailing style was a series of petty quibbles and minute discussions, over which men were ever ready to quarrel, but which never touched the heart of truth. Christ's style was plain, searching, spiritual; it made appeal to the best and deepest in men, and woke into power the best and deepest by the appeal. Christ dealt with men as spiritual beings.

III. THE NEW POWER. We respond at once to a speaker of power, who has full command of his subject and of himself. We approve of the "accent of conviction," and that our Lord had. There is self-assertion, but it is the self-assertion of the commissioned Prophet of God. - R.T.

Break one of these least commandments.
Man is set free from the curse of the law, but not from its authority.

I. Let us consider these minor violations of the moral law as they are considered IN RELATION TO THE LAWGIVER HIMSELF. The least commandment has the same authority as the greatest. Little sins will soon acquire all the gigantic proportions of the greatest. It is no paradox to say, that little sins are peculiarly offending in the sight of God, because they are little; in other words, because we run the risk of offending Him for what on our own showing we care very little about, and from which we only expect an insignificant return. It would aggravate the venality of a Judge that the bribe was so paltry. The least sin is aggravated by the small degree of temptation by which it is accompanied.

II. THE AWFUL DANGER OF THESE LITTLE SINS IN REGARD TO OURSELVES. Little sins leave men hardly conscious float they have broken God's law; great sins stir up piercing thoughts. See the peril of little sins, as they are sure to draw greater ones after them. It is fool's sport to play with firebrands. The multiplication of little sins show how we need the merit of an infinite atonement.

(D. Moore, M. A.)

I. That all the law of God is binding on Christians (James 2:10).

II. That all the commands of God should be preached in their proper place by Christian ministers.

III. That they who pretend that there are any laws of God so small that they need not obey them, are unworthy of His kingdom.

IV. That true piety has respect to all the commands of God, and keeps them (Psalm 119:64).

(Dr. A. Barnes.)

I. Christ does not hereby authorise us to suppose any of His commandments to be little. The meaning is — anything contained under or included in them, though seemingly small to us; as anger, scornful speaking, and reviling is the sin of murder.

II. As little in it, as he accounts of them; that is nothing; they shall be excluded.

(1)Observe the danger of vacating God's commands.

(2)In any respect.

(3)In any one instance.

(Thomas Adam.)

That an act in itself inconsiderable, may indicate the existing state of feeling, as clearly as one that is more palpable. As the motion of a leaf shows the quarter from which the wind blows as certainly as the agitated branches of an oak, so you may gather any one's dislike, though he does not strike you, or abuse you, or attempt insidiously to destroy your reputation. Only let him receive you with coldness, and his disaffection is as indisputable as if it were manifest in angry assault .... Is it not evident that the man who has brought himself to the perpetration of one fraud, has broken down the only security against the perpetration of a score, lie who can be the oppressor of a few, wants only the means to become the despot of an empire.

(C. Williams.)

If we would save the big ship, let us stop the small leak. If we would save the palace from flames, let us put out the spark.

(Newman Hall.)

I. What is meant by the "LEAST COMMANDMENT." It must not be understood as if one commandment were less necessary to be obeyed than another; God's commands are all alike necessary.

1. They are all enjoined by the same authority.

2. They are all necessary to be performed in order to eternal life. But when Christ speaks of the least commandment, He alludes(1) to the corrupt doctrine of the Scribes distinguishing God's commands into small and great.(2) Those commandments which are great in respect of the Lawgiver, may yet be least in comparison with other commands of the same law, which are indeed thought greatest. This inequality arises from the inequality of the objects about which they are concerned, our duty to God or man. Sometimes it arises from the latitude that any command hath in it, to our thoughts, words, or actions; a thought is said to be less than an action.

II. What is meant by "BEING LEAST IN THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN." Either the kingdom of grace, the Church, heaven. Little sins carry great guilt and bring heavy condemnation.

1. This appears in that the least sin is a most high affront and provocation of the great God.

2. It is a violation of a holy and strict law.

3. What a complicated evil every sin is, that the commission of the least makes you guilty of the greatest.

4. The authority of the great God seems more to be despised by the commission of small sins than by the commission of great.

5. Little sins do greatly deface the image of God in the soul. In curious pictures, a little scratch is a great deformity.

6. Little sins have in them ordinarily of temptation, and therefore more of wilfulness.

7. Little sins do maintain the trade and course of sinning.

III. The evil and danger of little sins hath been made apparent: I shall add farther proofs of their AGGRAVATED GUILT.

1. Little sins usually are the destroying sins.

2. Small sins — what they want in weight, usually make up in number. A ship may have a heavy burden of sands, as well as of millstones; and may be as soon sunk with them.

3. It is very difficult to convince men of the great evil and danger of little sins.

4. The allowance of the least sin is a certain sign of a rotten heart.

5. Little sins usually make way for the vilest.

(1)The devil, by his temptations, nurses up youngling sins, till they arrive at full stature.

(2)Natural corruption is of a growing nature.

6. Little sins are the greatest provocations; murder is a reproach to all; unbelief does not provoke public scandal.

7. Damnation for little sins will be most intolerable — here for such little sins!


1. If little sins have so much danger, what shall we think of great impieties?

2. Then behold a fearful shipwreck of all the hopes of formalists.

3. What absolute need we stand in of Christ.

4. What cause we have to bemoan and humble ourselves before God.

5. Pray for a tender conscience.

6. Keep alive reverent thoughts of God.

7. Get a more thorough sense of the spirituality of the law.

(Bp. Hopkins.)

The devil cannot expect always to receive such returns of great and crying impieties: but yet, when he keeps the stock of corruption going, and drives on the trade of sinning by lesser sins, believe it, corruption will be on the thriving hand, and you may grow rich in guilt, and treasure up to yourselves wrath against the day of wrath, by adding those that you call little sins unto the heap.

(Bp. Hopkins.)

If Satan prevails with us to go with him one step out of our way, we axe in danger to stop nowhere till we come to the height of all profaneness: he will make us take a second, and a third, and so to travel on to destruction; for each of these is but one step: the last step of sin is but one step, as well as the first; and if the devil prevail with us to take one step, why should he not prevail with us to take the last step as well as the first step, seeing it is but one? Your second sin no more exceeds your first, than your first doth your duty; and so of the rest.

(Bp. Hopkins.)

As you see in rivers, the natural course of them tends to the sea; but the tide, joining with them, makes the current run the swifter and the more forcibly: so is it with sin. Little sins are the natural stream of a man's life; that do of themselves tend hell-ward, and are of themselves enough to carry the soul down silently and calmly to destruction: but, when greater and grosser sins join with them, they make a violent tide, that hurries the soul away with a more swift and rampant motion down to hell, than little sins would or could do of themselves.

(Bp. Hopkins.)

A tender conscience is like the apple of a man's eye: the least dust that gets into it afflicts it.

(Bp. Hopkins.)

Galilee, Jerusalem
Mouth, Opened, Proceeded, Saying, Taught, Teach, Teaching
1. Jesus' sermon on the mount:
3. The Beattitudes;
13. the salt of the earth;
14. the light of the world.
17. He came to fulfill the law.
21. What it is to kill;
27. to commit adultery;
33. to swear.
38. He exhorts to forgive wrong,
43. to love our enemies;
48. and to labor after perfection.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Matthew 5:2

     2354   Christ, mission

Matthew 5:1-2

     4254   mountains

Agree with Thine Adversary
Eversley, 1861. Windsor Castle, 1867. St. Matthew v. 25, 26. "Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing." This parable our Lord seems to have spoken at least twice, as He did several others. For we find it also in the 12th
Charles Kingsley—All Saints' Day and Other Sermons

June 9. "Ye are the Light of the World" (Matt. v. 14).
"Ye are the light of the world" (Matt. v. 14). We are called the lights of the world, light-bearers, reflectors, candle-sticks, lamps. We are to be kindled ourselves, and then we will burn and give light to others. We are the only light the world has. The Lord might come down Himself and give light to the world, but He has chosen differently. He wants to send it through us, and if we don't give it the world will not have it. We should be giving light all the time to our neighbors. God does not put
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

The Eighth Beatitude
'Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.'--MATT. v. 10. We have seen the description of the true subjects of the kingdom growing into form and completeness before our eyes in the preceding verses, which tell us what they are in their own consciousness, what they are in their longings, what they become in inward nature by God's gift of purity, how they move among men as angels of God, meek, merciful, peace-bringing. Is anything more needed
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Salt Without Savour
'Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.'--MATT. v. 13. These words must have seemed ridiculously presumptuous when they were first spoken, and they have too often seemed mere mockery and irony in the ages since. A Galilean peasant, with a few of his rude countrymen who had gathered round him, stands up there on the mountain, and says to them, 'You,
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The First Beatitude
'Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.'--MATT. v. 2. 'Ye are not come unto the mount that burned with fire, nor unto the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of "awful" words.' With such accompaniments the old law was promulgated, but here, in this Sermon on the Mount, as it is called, the laws of the Kingdom are proclaimed by the King Himself; and He does not lay them down with the sternness of those written on tables of stone. No rigid 'thou shalt' compels, no iron 'thou
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Second Beatitude
'Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.'--MATT. v. 4. An ordinary superficial view of these so-called Beatitudes is that they are simply a collection of unrelated sayings. But they are a great deal more than that. There is a vital connection and progress in them. The jewels are not flung down in a heap; they are wreathed into a chain, which whosoever wears shall have 'an ornament of grace about his neck.' They are an outgrowth from a common root; stages in the evolution of Christian
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Fourth Beatitude
'Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.'--MATT. v. 6. Two preliminary remarks will give us the point of view from which I desire to consider these words now. First, we have seen, in previous sermons, that these paradoxes of the Christian life which we call the Beatitudes are a linked chain, or, rather, an outgrowth from a common root. Each presupposes all the preceding. Now, of course, it is a mistake to expect uniformity in the process of building
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Fifth Beatitude
'Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.'--MATT. v. 7. THE divine simplicity of the Beatitudes covers a divine depth, both in regard to the single precepts and to the sequence of the whole. I have already pointed out that the first of the series Is to be regarded as the root and germ of all the subsequent ones. If for a moment we set it aside and consider only the fruits which are successively developed from it, we shall see that the remaining members of the sequence are arranged in
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Sixth Beatitude
'Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.'--MATT. v. 8. AT first hearing one scarcely knows whether the character described in this great saying, or the promise held out, is the more inaccessible to men. 'The pure in heart': who may they be? Is there one of us that can imagine himself possessed of a character fitting him for the vision of God, or such as to make him bear with delight that dazzling blaze? 'They shall see God,' whom 'no man hath seen at any time, nor can see.' Surely
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Seventh Beatitude
'Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.' MATT. v. 9. This is the last Beatitude descriptive of the character of the Christian. There follows one more, which describes his reception by the world. But this one sets the top stone, the shining apex, upon the whole temple-structure which the previous Beatitudes had been gradually building up. You may remember that I have pointed out in previous sermons how all these various traits of the Christian life are deduced from
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The New Sinai
'And seeing the multitudes, He went up into a mountain: and when He was set, His disciples came unto Him: 2. And He opened his mouth, and taught them, saying, 3. Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. 5. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. 6. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. 7. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Lamp and the Bushel
'Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 15. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 16. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.'--Matt. v. 14-16. The conception of the office of Christ's disciples contained in these words is a still bolder one than that expressed by the preceding metaphor, which
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The New Form of the Old Law
'Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 18. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. 19. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20. For I say
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

'Swear not at All'
'Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths: 34. But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God's throne: 35. Nor by the earth; for it is His footstool; neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King. 36. Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black. 37. But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

'Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: 39. But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. 41. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. 42. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.'--MATT. v. 38-42. The old law
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Law of Love
'Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. 44. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45. That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. 46. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

"Ye shall therefore be perfect, as your Father in Heaven is perfect."--MATT. V. 48. "Wretched man that I am! who shall deliver from the body of this death? Thanks be to God, through Jesus Christ our Lord."--ROM. VII. 24, 25. We have studied the meaning of reconciliation through the Cross. We have said that to be reconciled to God means to cease to be the object of the Wrath of God, that is, His hostility to sin. We can only cease to be the objects of this Divine Wrath by identifying ourselves
J. H. Beibitz—Gloria Crucis

On that which is Written in the Gospel, Matt. v. 16, "Even So Let Your Light Shine Before Men, that they May See Your Good Works,
1. It is wont to perplex many persons, Dearly beloved, that our Lord Jesus Christ in His Evangelical Sermon, after He had first said, "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven;" [1934] said afterwards, "Take heed that ye do not your righteousness [1935] before men to be seen of them." [1936] For so the mind of him who is weak in understanding is disturbed, is desirous to obey both precepts, and distracted by diverse, and contradictory
Saint Augustine—sermons on selected lessons of the new testament

On the Words of the Gospel, Matt. v. 22, "Whosoever Shall Say to his Brother, Thou Fool, Shall be in Danger of the Hell of Fire. "
1. The section of the Holy Gospel which we just now heard when it was read, must have sorely alarmed us, if we have faith; but those who have not faith, it alarmed not. And because it does not alarm them, they are minded to continue in their false security, as knowing not how to divide and distinguish the proper times of security and fear. Let him then who is leading now that life which has an end, fear, that in that life which is without end, he may have security. Therefore were we alarmed. For
Saint Augustine—sermons on selected lessons of the new testament

Upon Our Lord's SermonOn the Mount
Discourse 3 "Blessed are the pure in heart: For they shall see God. "Blessed are the peacemakers: For they shall be called the children of God. "Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. "Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. "Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: For great is your reward in heaven: For so persecuted they the Prophets which were before you."
John Wesley—Sermons on Several Occasions

The Christian Aim and Motive.
Preached January 4, 1852. THE CHRISTIAN AIM AND MOTIVE. "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect."--Matthew v. 48. There are two erroneous views held respecting the character of the Sermon on the Mount. The first may be called an error of worldly-minded men, the other an error of mistaken religionists. Worldly-minded men--men that is, in whom the devotional feeling is but feeble--are accustomed to look upon morality as the whole of religion; and they suppose
Frederick W. Robertson—Sermons Preached at Brighton

A Call to Holy Living
Too many persons judge themselves by others; and if upon the whole they discover that they are no worse than the mass of mankind, they give themselves a mark of special commendation; they strike a sort of average amongst their neighbors, and if they cannot pretend to be the very best, yet, if they are not the very worst, they are pretty comfortable. There are certain scribes and Pharisees among their acquaintance, who fast thrice in the week, and pay tithes of all they possess, and they look upon
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 18: 1872

Persistency in Wrong Doing.
6th Sunday after Trinity. S. Matt. v. 25. "Agree with thine adversary quickly, while thou art in the way with him." INTRODUCTION.--I spoke to you the Sunday before last about the obstinacy of persisting in an opinion after you have good cause to believe that this opinion is unjust, or unreasonable. I am going to speak to you to-day of another form of obstinacy. SUBJECT.--My subject is Persistency in doing wrong, because you have begun wrong. This is only another form of the same fault. The other
S. Baring-Gould—The Village Pulpit, Volume II. Trinity to Advent

"That the Righteousness of the Law Might be Fulfilled in Us,"
Rom. viii. 4.--"That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us," &c. "Think not," saith our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, "that I am come to destroy the law,--I am come to fulfil it," Matt. v. 17. It was a needful caveat, and a very timeous advertisement, because of the natural misapprehensions in men's minds of the gospel. When free forgiveness of sins, and life everlasting, is preached in Jesus Christ, without our works; when the mercy of God is proclaimed in its freedom and fulness,
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

Matthew 5:2 NIV
Matthew 5:2 NLT
Matthew 5:2 ESV
Matthew 5:2 NASB
Matthew 5:2 KJV

Matthew 5:2 Bible Apps
Matthew 5:2 Parallel
Matthew 5:2 Biblia Paralela
Matthew 5:2 Chinese Bible
Matthew 5:2 French Bible
Matthew 5:2 German Bible

Matthew 5:2 Commentaries

Bible Hub
Matthew 5:1
Top of Page
Top of Page