Some historians and philosophers have pointed out that much of our scientific and medical literature is updated often because new discoveries and new knowledge render previously accepted knowledge obsolete. No one in their right mind would ever be comfortable with a physician using a 50-year-old textbook as a guide for treatment of patients. As knowledge increases our perspective continues to evolve.
This is why encountering the teachings of Jesus is such a fascinating experience. All the things Christ said in the three chapters (Matthew 5-7) that we refer to as the Sermon on the Mount are especially sublime. Augustine described them as “a perfect standard of the Christian life.” In a passage so simple that it can be read in one short sitting, Jesus outlined deep spiritual and ethical truths that, even after centuries of new knowledge about the world, have not yet become obsolete.
In a brief, yet brilliant, sweep of wisdom, Jesus lays down the essential principles of humility (Matthew 5:3), forgiveness (Matthew 6:12, 14-15), mercy (Matthew 5:7), influence (Matthew 5:13-16), interpersonal relationships (Matthew 5:21-24), authentic piety (Matthew …
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