“Unit 2, Day 4: Matthew 5,” New Testament Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students (2016)
“Unit 2, Day 4,” New Testament Study Guide
Matthew 5–7 records a sermon the Savior gave at the beginning of His ministry. It has come to be known as the Sermon on the Mount. This lesson covers Matthew 5, which contains principles the Savior taught that lead to happiness. He also commanded His disciples to set a righteous example and taught the higher law.
How would you respond to the following questions: Are you happy? Why or why not?
Mark what President Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the First Presidency said about happiness:
“So often we get caught up in the illusion that there is something just beyond our reach that would bring us happiness: a better family situation, a better financial situation, or the end of a challenging trial.
“… External circumstances don’t really matter or determine our happiness.
“We do matter. We determine our happiness” (“Of Regrets and Resolutions,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2012, 23).
As you study Matthew 5, look for principles that can help you understand what will bring true happiness.
Because the word blessed translates from the Latin word beatus, meaning to be fortunate or happy, these verses are commonly called the Beatitudes.
During His visit to the Nephites, Jesus Christ gave a sermon that is similar to the Sermon on the Mount found in Matthew 5. As a preface to His sermon to the Nephites, the Savior explained that the way to come unto Him is through baptism and receiving the Holy Ghost (see 3 Nephi 12:1–2). The Beatitudes found in Matthew 5:1–12 and 3 Nephi 12:1–12 provide a path for us to know how to come unto Him.
- Select one of the Beatitudes in Matthew 5:3–12. In your scripture study journal, write a short talk about that beatitude. (You may want to include insights from 3 Nephi 12.) Include the following information as part of your talk:
Identify the blessing we are promised for living that beatitude.
Suggest specific ways we can live according to this beatitude.
Explain how living according to this beatitude can bring us happiness. You may also want to share an experience that illustrates how that beatitude has brought you happiness.
You may have noticed that each of the Beatitudes teaches about attributes of Jesus Christ. By living these teachings we can become more like Him. From Matthew 5 we learn that as we develop Christlike attributes, we will find increased happiness.
Select an attribute from one of the Beatitudes, and make a goal that would help you develop that attribute.
Consider someone you know, such as a family member or friend, who could be blessed by drawing nearer to Heavenly Father. As you continue to study Matthew 5, look for principles that can guide you as you try to help this person.
List all the uses of salt you can think of:
Add to your list after reading what Elder Carlos E. Asay of the Seventy said about salt:
“[Salt] is essential to health; body cells must have salt in order to live and work. It has antiseptic, or germ-killing, properties. It is a preservative. It is an ingredient in many foods and products. And it is estimated that there are more than fourteen thousand uses for salt. …
“… [Salt that] has savor … is clean, pure, uncontaminated, and useful. In this state or condition, salt will preserve, flavor, heal, and perform other useful functions” (“Salt of the Earth: Savor of Men and Saviors of Men,” Ensign, May 1980, 42).
Read Matthew 5:13, looking for whom the Savior likened to salt.
Consider how disciples of Jesus Christ can demonstrate the same characteristics of good salt.
According to verse 13, what happens when salt loses its savor?
The word savor refers not only to salt’s flavor but also to its unique qualities that make it a healing and preserving agent.
What do you think could cause salt to lose its savor?
Salt loses its savor when it is mixed with other elements (such as dirt) and becomes contaminated.
If the salt represents disciples of Jesus Christ, what could the dirt or other contaminant represent?
From the Savior’s teachings, we learn that becoming contaminated by the sins of the world can prevent us from being a blessing to others. You may want to write this principle in the margin of your scriptures near Matthew 5:13.
Elder Asay also gave counsel to help us avoid being contaminated by the sins of the world: “I would offer these simple guidelines … as the means to preserve one’s savor: If it is not clean, do not think it; if it is not true, do not speak it; if it is not good, do not do it” (“Salt of the Earth,” 42–43).
Consider what you can do today to avoid becoming contaminated by the sins of the world. Remember that through faith in Jesus Christ and repentance, you can become purified from any sins you may have committed.
Read Matthew 5:14–16, and notice how the Savior compared His disciples to a candle. (Matthew 5:14–16 is a scripture mastery passage. You may want to mark it in a distinctive way to help you locate it in the future.)
- In your scripture study journal, draw a simple candle and answer the following questions:
What does it mean to let your light shine?
Why do you think it is important to follow the Lord’s commandment in Matthew 5:14–16 to set a righteous example?
According to these verses, we learn that our righteous example can help encourage others to draw nearer to Heavenly Father. Consider writing this principle in your scriptures.
- Answer the following question in your scripture study journal: When has someone set a righteous example that has helped you draw nearer to Heavenly Father?
Ponder what you can do to be a better example to your family and friends.
Matthew 5:17–20 records that Jesus Christ taught that He did not come to destroy, or do away with, the eternal truths in the law of Moses. Rather, He came to restore the fulness of the gospel that had been lost due to wickedness and apostasy, to correct false teachings, and to fulfill the prophecies made by Old Testament prophets.
In Matthew 5:21–48, the Savior spoke about various laws and traditions the Jews had developed or added under the law of Moses. As He explained the true meaning of the laws, He taught a higher way of living. Members of God’s kingdom must live this higher law. To help you identify what Jesus Christ taught His disciples about the higher law, complete the following matching activity:
Living only the letter of the law
How disciples of Jesus Christ should live
- Review the truths you have learned during this lesson. On separate lines in your scripture study journal, write the words Start, Stop, and Continue. Evaluate your life, and choose one thing you could start doing, one thing you could stop doing, and one thing you could continue doing to apply what you have learned in this lesson. Next to the appropriate word in your scripture study journal, write what you have chosen to start and what you have chosen to continue. Put a check mark next to the word Stop to show that you have chosen something you could stop doing.
- Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied Matthew 5 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: