"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."
2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV)
2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV)
Discuss the form and content of the Sermon on the Mount. How do you think it fits into Matthew’s gospel? How would you go about exegeting the text? Cite references from your reading to support your answer.
The Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) is one of the most popular teachings of Jesus to both Christians as well as non-believers. Almost everyone who has ever heard the Gospel, has heard some aspect from this message. From the Beatitudes to the Lord’s Prayer, it is also commonly quoted. It is not only popular, but contains many teaching by Jesus that is held dear by the body of Christianity today. This sermon, spanning about two chapters in Matthew contains many of the moral teachings of Jesus and follows closely to the moral laws given by God, through Moses many generations earlier. This sermon is not only predominantly narrative, but also includes a couple of parables and hints of poetry as well. An article by Mark Bailey describes this combination of form by saying, “Parables are distinguished from other literary figures in that they are narratives in form, but figurative in meaning.”
Within this sermon, you find many of the teachings regarding the nature and conduct of the inhabitants of the Kingdom of Heaven and if God’s “will be done on earth as it is in Heaven,” we should also conduct ourselves accordingly. It has a lot to say regarding different issues and dilemmas that we will face in life every day. Jesus is simply saying that if we live our lives according to these statutes, we will be better off as Christians and fellow citizens to our neighbors. Jesus expected His disciples and now His followers to treat others even better than we treat ourselves. Such an example can be found in John 13, where Jesus washes the disciples’ feet. Our text mentions this also by saying, “Foot washing was a task customarily done by non-Jewish slaves and never by a superior to his inferior. In taking on this menial stance, Jesus provides an example of true service, the kind he expected of all his followers.” However, not only will you find that Jesus instructed us how to treat others in this sermon, but also how to communicate, pray, and worship God. He even throws in quite a few tips on how to best take care of ourselves by avoiding such things as worry (6:25-34).
Since much of the Scripture within the Sermon on the Mount appears to be in narrative/parable form, I would most likely approach it from that angel of exegesis. Our assigned article by Mark Bailey helps to lay out the steps for interpreting such Scripture as the parables. There are five steps including: “understand the setting, uncover the need that prompted the parable, analyze the structure and details of the parable, state the central truth of the parable and its relationship to the Kingdom, and respond to the intended appeal of the parable.” By doing these five steps, you can help to understand the historical background, as well as the cultural influences that helped to shape the text. As our text mentions, “Despite these similarities, however, there are sufficient differences suggest that the canonical Gospels constitute a unique genre.” Some truths however, such as many of the elements within the Sermon on the Mount have no limits of application and transcend time because they are related to as Bailey says, “The Kingdom of God.”
 Mark L. Bailey, “Guidelines For Interpreting Jesus’ Parables,” Bibliotheca Sacra 155, (January-March 1996): 29, accessed July 6th, 2017, https://lc-grad3.gcu.edu/learningPlatform/externalLinks/externalLinks.html?operation=redirectToExternalLink&externalLink=https%3A%2F%2Flopes.idm.oclc.org%2Flogin%3Furl%3Dhttp%3A%2F%2Fsearch.ebscohost.com%2Flogin.aspx%3Fdirect%3Dtrue%26db%3Drfh%26AN%3DATLA0000998292%26site%3Dehost-live%26scope%3Dsite
 Andreas J. Köstenberger and Richard D. Patterson, Invitation to Biblical Interpretation: Exploring the Hermeneutical Triad of History, Literature, and Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 2011), 383, accessed July 6th, 2017, GCU eBook. 266.
 Mark L. Bailey, “Guidelines For Interpreting Jesus’ Parables,” 30-37.
 Andreas J. Köstenberger and Richard D. Patterson, Invitation to Biblical Interpretation. 370
 Ibid. 35.