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A Mary T. Hoffman Commentary from


"Joyful Curmudgeon" An oxymoron?
No! I see all the beauty of God's creation and I'm joyful.  At the same time, I see all the suffering and corruption going on in the world, and feel called to help expose and end it so that we may have true peace and compassion.


The Sermon on the Mount (Continued) – 15 October 2006
By Mary T. Hoffman

8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”
~ New American Standard Bible

8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
~ King James Version

These two versions of this Beatitude (Matthew 5:8) use the same words and differ in punctuation only.

David’s Psalm 23 of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament), though written much earlier, offers a clearer understanding of this teaching of Jesus:

3 Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord? And who may stand in His holy place?

4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart, Who has not lifted up his soul to falsehood, And has not sworn deceitfully. ~ New American Standard Bible

Incidentally, the word “heart” is mentioned 726 times in the Bible (New American Standard Version).

In Matthew 12:34-37, Jesus clarifies what is meant by “pure in heart” –

34 …For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart.

35 "The good man out of his good treasure brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of his evil treasure brings forth what is evil.

36 "And I say to you, that every careless word that men shall speak, they shall render account for it in the day of judgment.

37 "For by your words you shall be justified, and by your words you shall be condemned."
~ New American Standard Bible

And in Matthew 15:19-20 Jesus makes it clear that “clean hands” (see Psalm 23:4 above) refers to spiritual cleanliness and/or to hands that have not been used to cause any harm. He is criticizing the ritualistic hand washing (as well as other empty rituals) of the corrupt religious leaders of the times who used outward actions to hide their inward sinfulness.

19 "For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders.

20 "These are the things which defile the man; but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile the man."
~ New American Standard Bible

The Greek word for “pure” is the same word as for “clean” (καθαρός), so it follows that those who have clean or pure hands would have clean or pure hearts. One cannot deliberately harm humans, other animals, or the environment with his or her hands (or be complicit in harm by allowing others do it for them) and claim to have a pure heart before God.

Go on to: The Sermon on the Mount (Continued) – 16 October 2006
Return to: The Sermon on the Mount (Continued) – 14 October 2006
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