are the opening sentences of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount which describe the quality of life of a citizen of the kingdom of God.
The word “Beatitude” comes from a Latin word meaning “happy” or “blessed.” Various forms of the word “bless” are used many times in both the Old and New Testaments, but this passage alone is known as the Beatitudes. The Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) sets forth the spiritual principles of the kingdom of God. They define the character of a child of the King. The Beatitudes are not to be seen as separate blessings for different believers. All the Beatitudes are to be applied and developed in all disciples both now and in the future. The eight Beatitudes have continuity. 1. “The poor in spirit” denotes the fact of sin (Matthew 5:3). 2. “They that mourn” means to repent of sin (Matthew 5:4). 3. “The meek” describes not the weak, but rather strength that is surrendered to God in a new birth experience (Matthew 5:5). 4. To “hunger and thirst after righteousness” signifies the strong desire to become more Christ-like (Matthew 5:6). 5. “The merciful” show an attitude of forgiveness (Matthew 5:7). 6. “The pure in heart” strive daily for clean living (Matthew 5:8). 7. “The peacemakers” exert a calming influence in the storms of life (Matthew 5:9). 8. “They which are persecuted” denotes faithfulness under stress (Matthew 5:10-12). Each Beatitude carries with it a strong promise of ultimate good for those who develop the blessed life.
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.
Butler, Trent C. Editor.. "Entry for 'BEATITUDES'". "Holman Bible Dictionary".