What does Matthew 5:2 mean?
ESV: And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:
NIV: and he began to teach them. He said:
NASB: And He opened His mouth and began to teach them, saying,
CSB: Then he began to teach them, saying:
NLT: and he began to teach them.
KJV: And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,
NKJV: Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying:
Verse Commentary:
Matthew 5–7 contains the first of five long speeches from Jesus recorded in Matthew's gospel. It is called the Sermon on the Mount, and it begins with what are known as the Beatitudes in verses 3–12. Luke 6:17–49 also presents a sermon from Jesus, containing much of the same content. As a former tax collector (Matthew 9:9), Matthew would have been fluent in both reading and writing and might have been there to record Jesus' words verbatim. Writings such as the four Gospels were often topical, not time-ordered, so Matthew may have been present, even though his conversion is explicitly described later in this book. If he was not there, in person, he would have been able to compile the message through Jesus' later, repeated teachings.

Some scholars suggest Matthew and Luke are describing parts of the same sermon. It is likely that Jesus spoke many more words than those recorded in either version. It's possible the Matthew and Luke, under inspiration of the Holy Spirit, emphasized different parts of the same, longer message.

However, Luke describes his version of the sermon as occurring "on a level place." A more likely possibility, then, is Matthew and Luke record two different speeches, delivered in different places. Jesus was a traveling preacher, and He may have preached the same content repeatedly as He came to different places. This is no different in speakers and preachers of the modern era. Matthew's Sermon on the Mount and Luke's Sermon on the Plain would considerably overlap, because Jesus taught similar things in multiple presentations.
Verse Context:
Matthew 5:1–12 contains the beautiful Beatitudes delivered by Jesus in His Sermon on the Mount. The series of nine sentences describes an unlikely group of people as blessed: the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek, those hungry for righteousness, and the merciful. All are blessed because of their part in the kingdom of heaven. This includes those persecuted for the sake of righteousness and on account of Jesus. Instead of despairing, they should rejoice for the great rewards they will receive in heaven. These are not prerequisites for salvation; instead, they are the natural expressions of saving faith in the life of those who know Christ.
Chapter Summary:
The Sermon on the Mount contains some of Jesus' most challenging teaching. It begins with the unlikely blessings of the Beatitudes. Jesus' disciples must do good works in order to be a powerful influence: as the salt of the earth and light of the world. The superficial righteousness of the Pharisees is not good enough to earn heaven. Sins of the heart, such as angry insults and intentional lust, are worthy of hell just as much as adultery and murder. Easy divorce and deceptive oaths are forbidden. Believers should not seek revenge. Instead, God intends us to love our enemies and pray for our persecutors. In short, we should strive to be perfect, as God is perfect.
Chapter Context:
Matthew 5 follows Matthew's description of the enormous crowds that were following Jesus (Matthew 4:25). One day, Jesus sits down on a hill to teach them, in an address we now call the Sermon on the Mount. He describes as blessed those who are poor in spirit, who mourn, and who are persecuted. Christ also explains how God's standards of righteousness go far beyond behaviors and speech; they also include our thoughts and attitudes. Meeting God's standards means perfection. Chapter 6 continues this sermon, with more examples of Jesus clarifying God's intent for godly living.
Book Summary:
The Gospel of Matthew clearly shows the influence of its writer's background, and his effort to reach a specific audience. Matthew was one of Jesus' twelve disciples, a Jewish man, and a former tax collector. This profession would have required literacy, and Matthew may have transcribed some of Jesus' words as they were spoken. This book is filled with references to the Old Testament, demonstrating to Israel that Jesus is the Promised One. Matthew also includes many references to coins, likely due to his former profession. Matthew records extensive accounts of Jesus' teaching, more than the other three Gospels.
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