One of the things I have been meaning to do for some time is to study the Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5-7). Instead of being all over the board in this New Year, because I am not the greatest multi-tasker in the world (just ask my wife), it is better for me to focus on a narrow section of Scripture. More than just an object of study though, I desire to be transformed
by my reading of this text. To quote the great Augustine:
"If anyone will piously and soberly consider the sermon which our Lord Jesus Christ spoke on the mount, as we read it in the Gospel according to Matthew, I think that he will find in it, so far as regards the highest morals, a perfect standard of the Christian life..."
(Augustine of Hippo, “Our Lord’s Sermon on the Mount,” in Saint Augustin: Sermon on the Mount, Harmony of the Gospels, Homilies on the Gospels
, ed. Philip Schaff, trans. William Findlay and David Schley Schaff, vol. 6, A Select Library of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, First Series
[New York: Christian Literature Company, 1888]), 3.n
In other words, my longing is to have a life-changing encounter with the text, not treat it as merely an object for study. Otherwise, what is the point? If one is honest with oneself, the Sermon on the Mount strips away all of our preconceived notions of what it means to be a Christian. It is perhaps the most ethically challenging teaching in the entirety of the Bible.
All that said, I am not sure what this will look like in terms of blog posts. I have already begun reading Scot McKnight's helpful Sermon on The Mount
in The Story of God Bible Commentary
series (Zondervan; 2013). Next, I plan on reading Jonathan Pennington's The Sermon on The Mount and Human Flourishing
(Baker Academic; 2017). I will consult various commentaries as well (Luz, Hagner, France, Allison &Davies, Turner's, etc.). My biggest goal, however, is to memorize the Sermon on the Mount in both English and Greek. I know this will take a lot of time, and I pray that I do not grow weary in the attempt.
I plan on utilizing this blog to act as sort of a journal for my studies. It is my hope that someone else will find this material useful and edifying.
Any suggestions on other resources would be appreciated.