Bible Study: The Gospel of Matthew

This is started because of the Beatitudes series done by GCC's pastor on Thursday nights' Bible Study. I think it is very good that we do this in person rather than on Zoom. More people were participating, discussing. Even though the pastor would likely just do this one chapter of the book. So I'll skip first to do Chapter 5.

This entry was posted in Theologization. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Bible Study: The Gospel of Matthew

  1. timlyg says:

    Chapter 1

  2. timlyg says:

    Chapter 2

  3. timlyg says:

    Chapter 3

  4. timlyg says:

    Chapter 4

  5. timlyg says:

    Chapter 5
    I find that John Calvin's commentary on the Beatitudes is the best, by far better than even our GCC Bible Study on Thursdays, because there are lots of conflated terms used during our discussion while Calvin's shockingly clear on the distinctions of terms like meek, merciful, etc. even though they should not be treated mutually exclusively.

    v.3: Poor in Spirit (or just simply poor as in Luk 6:20)...theirs is the kingdom of heaven: I do not have this from GCC until v.5 "the meek", as I wasn't present but Nadia. So I shall do this from Calvin's commentary. For Luke, he contrasted Happy are ye poor with poverty and thus accursed and unhappy, which is clarified by Matthew. The poor is distress only because he continues to swell inwardly with pride and cruelty. Unlike those who submit themselves wholly to God with inward humility.

    Calvin rejected the idea that poor in spirit means counting nothing for oneself [basically like the monks]. Because of Luke's account, both Matthew and Luke must have meant poor to be "pressed and afflicted by adversity". Therefore, it's an external effect, not an internal one. Matthew's addition "spirit" to the verse simply refers to "under the discipline of the cross to learn humility".

    Calvin: It deserves our attention, that he only who is reduced to nothing in himself, and relies on the mercy of God, is poor in spirit: for they who are broken or overwhelmed by despair murmur against God, and this proves them to be of a proud and haughty spirit.

    Theirs is the kingdom of heaven: the hope of eternal life [with God] ~ Calvin.

    v.4: that mourn...shall be comforted. Very related to the previous verse: the poor in spirit. Mourners are happy only in the excitements to seek TRUE COMFORT in God ALONE. ~Calvin. My take is: Thus, this comfort is only obtained from God and no others. Though others may give effective comfort, it is a huge mistake to rest this only in men. God must be the ultimate enjoyment of comfort. Discard any artificial comforts that do not lead to God's. As for the kind of challenges I would and should have no fear praying for (as oppose to the pastor's "don't pray for opposition" as he defined it as going against God in the fundamentally narrow view), Calvin pointed out Romans 5:3 - “We glory in tribulations also knowing that tribulation produces patience, and patience experience, and experience hope: and hope maketh not ashamed,”

    v.5: Meek...inherit the earth.

    v.6: hunger/thirst after filled.

    v.7: Merciful...receive mercy.
    Conflating mercy with righteousness does no good for clarity, as many have done. So they say: it's not to be doormat. The 2024_02_01__19_34_01 The Beatitudes Matthew 5 7-8GCC pastor defined mercy as (@12:20) "favor towards someone that doesn't deserve it". This is conflating mercy with charity which are two different thing. Mercy should simply mean showing concern, care about the distresses of others instead of consulting our own ease (Calvin). We not only prepare to endure our own afflictions, but to take a share in the afflictions of others. Calvin further points out that it's not only God whom we obtain mercy from, but others as well. The GCC pastor tried to do a circular thing: God gave us mercy?(or some other beatitude) to have mercy to others, we do so and in turn we receive mercy again. I think this is a sort of conflating different types of mercy, thereby confusing the active and the passive and the passive-active.
    Speaking of doormat, I think it is therefore crucial to have the order correct, first righteousness as the Lord puts it, then mercy.
    Someone brought up the example of cleaning after someone/co-workers who didn't do their job well. I feel I should address this. This is not someone in affliction or in need of help. This at the very best is just to aid in the prevention of others getting into trouble. Thus, I do not think mercy is the right category for this, but maybe peacemaker or even meek and righteousness. Mercy is not preventing someone for the possibility of trouble, mercy is to aid someone already in trouble.

    v.8: pure in heart...see God.
    Pure of Heart is best defined by Calvin, but most people get it: That is one who is not crafty, ingenuine, dishonest, having ulterior motives, deceitful, cunning, indirect, etc. The opposite of pure in heart is certainly not pride as some defined it @29:30. Pride should be contrasted against meek, not pure of heart. Simple [pure hearted] people are ridiculed for want of caution, and for not looking sharply enough to themselves. (Calvin). Such enjoys the sight of God in heaven.Joy from GCC brought up Psalm 15, which I think is a great Psalm for this, though the Psalm definitely covered more than just pure of heart. She also later @36:32 brought up Titus 1:15. I would really like to take a look at Joy's Bible, it appears that either she has very good memory for well connected verses or she has these notes on her Bible. Some defined pure of heart as "obedience" @31:40. I would move obedience to righteousness, even poor in spirit, but not pure of heart. Pure of heart is from inward (I have no deceit in me, etc.), obedience is from outward (law given externally to be obeyed). And some @32:10 used Job's "Why me" (Though I think that's a bit underestimating Job) that some brought up to contrast obedience, has more to do with the blessed in afflictions, such as poor, meek, etc. not pure of heart.
    Phil however brought up @33:10 a good point with the parable of the two sons (Matthew 21:28-32) to indicate that the son that rejected the father's order was more pure of heart than the one that obeyed yet do not do for such is not genuine. Though rebellious yet pure of heart. This is an interesting point which I think worth checking deeper. Pak Tong had always pointed out how the most rebellious ones are usually more greatly used by God upon conversion, perhaps this is due to purity of heart in them, much better than their ordinary Christian fellows.
    Stephen Tong: 齐克果说:「一个清心的人,就是一个专一一致的人。」一个只有一专一志、一个目的、一个方向的人,这个是心里清洁的人,把圣洁的心与只有一个方向连结在一起,我想历史上前无古人,后不一定无来者,但是他是第一个。= Purity of Heart is to WILL ONE Thing. It is a profound thing to place together will and purity of heart. 2Cor 11:2-3.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.