What are the Beatitudes - And Why Are They Important

The Beatitudes are a group of teachings recorded in the Gospel of Matthew. In perhaps His best known sermon, The Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught the people and gave them a short list of eight teachings. Each of these eight teachings begin with the word 'Blessed". The word 'Beati' is the Latin term for happy, rich, or blessed. This term was eventually lengthen to become Beatitudes. 

Four of the Beatitudes recorded in the Gospel of Matthew are repeated in the Gospel of Luke when he records the Sermon on the plain. The Gospel of Luke also contains a list of four woes, or counterparts to the Blessing listed in the Beatitudes. Each of the Beatitudes has two parts, a condition and a result.

In the Gospel of Matthew he lists the eight Beatitudes which are followed by two additional blessings, but these are traditionally considered to be separate from the Beatitudes. In some newer translations of the Gospel these blessings are included as a ninth Beatitude. 

The purpose of the Beatitudes is to give Christians basic guidelines or principles by which they should live. The Beatitudes encourage and teach Christians to live a life which directly reflects the teachings as well as the lifestyle of Jesus.  Pope John Paul II called the Beatitudes, a self portrait of Christ.  Likewise Saint Augustine called the Beatitudes the ideal for every Christian life!

From the Gospel of Matthew;

Blessed are the poor in spirit,

   for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.

Blessed are those who mourn,

   for they will be comforted.

Blessed are the meek,

   for they will inherit the Earth.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,

   for they will be satisfied.

Blessed are the Merciful,

   for they will be shown mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart,

   for they will see God.

Blessed are the peacekeepers,

   for they will be called children of God.

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,

   for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.

Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.

Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

From the Gospel of Luke;

Blessed are you who are poor,

   for yours in the kingdom of God.

Blessed are you who hunger now,

   for you will be satisfied.

Blessed are you who weep now,

   for you will laugh.

Blessed are you when people hate you,

 when they exclude you and insult you

 and reject your name as well, 

 because of the Son of Man. 

From the Gospel of Luke;

But woe to you who are rich,

   for you have already received your comfort.

Woe to you who are well fed now,

   for you will go hungry.

Woe to you who laugh now,

   for you will mourn and weep.

Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you,

for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets. 


The Gospel of Matthew is the first book of the New Testament. The Sermon on the Mount is the first sermon given by Jesus and the Beatitudes are the very beginning of the Sermon. This can be seen as the beginning of Jesus' Earthly ministry and He choose to begin His ministry with the Beatitudes. This should give us some indication of their importance and relevance to our faith and the lifestyle Jesus expects from each of us.


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