- Describe the qualities of the happy life as detailed in verses 1-12. What makes them such? To what rewards do they lead, and why?
- Verses 13-16. What is the significance of the two metaphors with which our Lord describes the relation to the world of those who belong to the kingdom? And in what ways does he warn them that they may fail to exercise their proper function?
Note. Verse 3. ‘Poor in spirit’: i.e., aware of their spiritual poverty and of their need of divine help. Cf. Isa. 57:15; Luke 18:13.
- Our Lord demonstrates His respect for the law in verses 17-20. What does verse 20 mean? Does it leave us any hope? Cf. Rom. 3:20-22; 8:3, 4. In what way does our Lord make the law more demanding?
- What is the relevance in our modern world of Christ’s teaching in verses 33-48 on the subject of oaths and talking vengeance? Consider the application of the question in verse 47, ‘what are you doing more than others?’ to the whole subject of Christian love.
- Comparing verses 31, 32 with 19:3-9, what is our Lord’s teaching on the sanctity of marriage and the possibility of divorce?
- Verse 18. ‘Not an iota, not a dot’ (RSV): a reference to the smallest letter or significant part of a letter in the Hebrew language.
- Verse 48. ‘Perfect’ has more the meaning of ‘mature’ or full-grown than any concept of sinless perfection. Cf. Luke 6:36.
- What was wrong with the religion of the scribes and Pharisees, here call ‘hypocrites’, and what kind of religion does our Lord command in contrast?
- In the Lord’s prayer, what can we learn: (a) from the order of the petitions, and (b) from the kind of subjects that are particularly mentioned? What must be our relation: (a) to God, and (b) to our fellow men, if we are to make it our prayer?
- Verses 2, 5, 16. The word ‘hypocrites’ means an actor, i.e., one who plays a part.
- Verses 19-24 are a word to the rich. What should be the Christian’s attitude to material possessions? In what way do these verses portray the character and danger of worldliness?
- Verses 25-34 are a word to the not-so-rich. Note the recurrence of the phrase ‘Do not worry’, and list the reasons given why anxiety is wrong.
- Verse 23. An eye which is ‘bad’, ‘not sound’ (RSV) or ‘evil’ (AV, RV) signifies a covetous or niggardly disposition. Cf. Deut. 15:9; Prov. 28:22; Matt. 20:15 (RSV mg).
- Compare verses 1-5 with verses 6, 16; and see John 7:24. If judging is not always wrong, what is our Lord condemning here?
- What is the teaching of verses 7-12 on the practice of prayer? What place is there for persistency, and what place for trusting? Is there any conflict between these two ideas?
- Verse 6. This indicates that, while Christians must not be guilty of condemning anyone, they must learn to discriminate in their witness. Cf. Prov. 9:8.
- In verses 13-23 what three fold responsibility does our Lord lay on those who would enter His Kingdom: (a) as to a right choice at the beginning (verses 13, 14); (b) as to a right discrimination between false and true (verses 15-20); and (c) as to the condition of being acknowledged by him at the last (verses 21-23)?
- To what categories of men do verses 24-27 refer? In what way do the two houses differ? How is it possible to be building-yet building foolishly?
- Verses 15-20. In what way can we tell the false prophet? Cf. Deut. 13:1-5; 1 John 4:1-6. Can you think of any modern guise in which he appears?