A couple of pastor’s blogs ago I mentioned that when I’m working on a sermon, I print out four English Bible translations (NKJV, NIV, ESV and NRSV) along with the Greek or Hebrew.

I’m preparing my second sermon on Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, and I’ve noticed something interesting when comparing the English translations—they’re all very similar to one another. This doesn’t always happen. For example, Paul’s writings use such big words and such classical Greek sentence patterns that there can be a good bit of variation depending on what version you’re looking at.

But in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5, 6 and 7) the English versions are very close to being identical. And that’s because Jesus used simple words, and put them in listener-friendly sentences.

But this simplicity doesn’t mean that Jesus’ ideas are easy to put into practice. Pretty much everything He said was breathtakingly challenging to our pride and our stubbornness.

I’ll be spending at least the next two Sabbaths, maybe three, on Jesus famous Sermon. If you’d like to read ahead, I would advise you to read aloud. After all, that’s how Jesus’ hearers heard these words. There’s a good chance these well-known phrases will touch you in a way they never have before.