Sermon on the Mount 3 - Inductive Study Guide

Sermon on the Mount
Matthew 5: 5 Blessed are the gentle (meek)
for they shall inherit the earth

The Meek or Gentle
Man or Woman





What is the context for the Sermon on the Mount? What had John and Jesus both preached (Mt 3:2, 4:17, 23)?

Repent for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand

Jesus was proclaiming the gospel of the Kingdom

Who is Jesus (Mt 1:1, 2:2)?

The King of the Kingdom of heaven

What is He calling for with the proclamation to repent?

He is calling on the Jews (the primary audience at that time but applicable to men and women of all tribes and tongues and peoples and nations) to have a...

Change in thinking

What is the main theme of the Sermon on the Mount?


God's righteousness is all that God is, all that He commands, all that He demands, all that He approves, all that He provides (through Christ).

What was the "plumbline" for righteousness in most of the audience?


What did Jesus teach about the +R necessary to enter the Kingdom of Heaven?

The +R acceptable to God had to surpass that of the scribes and Pharisees

(Mt 5:20)

The Key Verse in the Sermon on the Mount

What then was the change in thinking He was calling for in the hearers?

Change your mind about your working "definition" of +R and seek His Kingdom and His +R (Mt 6:33, cf Mt 18:3-6)

Why does Jesus open with blessings, the beatitudes?

What do the beatitudes describe? What is their purpose? Are they they the way one is saved?

No, they describe the ideal character of one who is saved, the heart attitude of one who although still living on earth is in the Kingdom of Heaven and subject to the King, Christ Jesus.

What are the beatitudes? Are they natural character traits?

No. They are supernatural traits worked out in the heart of believers by the Holy Spirit (cf Gal 5:23 discussed later)

What relationship to the 8 (or 9) beatitudes have to each other? Are they just random thoughts? (to an extent you've already answered this above)

Clearly they are related.

There is an orderly progression which leads one who recognizes their spiritual bankruptcy to mourn (as a lifestyle) over their sin against God, and receiving the Father's comfort in forgiveness to recognize his or her meek state.

How would the world phrase this beatitude? How about the Jews who listened...what were they looking for?

Happy are those who assert themselves and intimidate others with their power and prestige for they shall own the earth!

The Jews were looking for a mighty military monarchy, not a mild meek Monarch!

How the paradoxical words of Jesus must have pierced the hearts of His hearers on that day and every day since then! Have you been pierced to the heart in your study of this radical term, meekness?!

What is the Biblical definition of meek or gentle?

(More detail @ gentle = praus)

"The humble and gentle attitude which expresses itself in a patient submissiveness to offense, free from malice and desire for revenge." (Rogers)

Meekness is the opposite of being out of control. It is not weakness, but supreme self-control empowered by the Spirit

Meekness not weakness

Meekness is the opposite of a proud, self assertive spirit

Meekness is power under control

Meekness is expressing...

Anger at the right time, in the right measure, and for the right reason.

Meekness is trusting in God's sovereignty to undertake, supply, avenge, etc

Meekness is an in-wrought grace of the soul; and the exercises of it are first and chiefly towards God. It is that temper of spirit in which we accept His dealings with us as good, and therefore without disputing and resisting (W E Vine)

The person who is "gentle" or "meek" sees everything as coming from or filtered through the hand God and accepting it without murmuring or disputing (cf Phil 2:14, 12-13)

The Greek word for meek describes a soothing wind, a healing medicine, and a colt that is broken. In each case there is power but it is power under control. If a wind is out of control it becomes a destructive storm; too much medicine can kill; an unbroken horse cannot ridden and is not useful for the purpose God intended (think about that as you ponder meekness in your own life). In sum, meekness is power under control. The meek person does not have to fly off the handle because he has his emotions under control.

Meekness is the opposite of self-interest. In fact, meekness runs counter to much of pop psychology (even that which has like leaven slithered into Christ's body, the church) and in fact is not occupied with self at all!

Biblical Pictures

of Meekness

OT: Moses

What do we learn about Moses in Numbers 12:3?

Very humble (meek)
More than any man

(Note: humble or meek is translated in the Septuagint or LXX by the Greek word praus)
(Moses writing about himself does not deny his meekness - he wrote as he was moved by the Holy Spirit 2Pe 1:20-21)

What fact in Nu 12 makes this declaration even more powerful? Who had he had an audience with (Nu 12:8)?

God spoke with Moses face to face, openly, not in dark sayings or riddles (God often spoke with other prophets in visions, dreams, etc)

What is the context? What and why did Miriam say (Nu 12:1-2)?

He had married a Cushite woman (they were envious and/or jealous - cf Ex 15:20 and Nu 12:6 - of Moses' authority and power)

What does the meekest man on earth say to defend himself? How does he retaliate? How does he try to avenge himself?

He says nothing

He does nothing

He does not retaliate
He is the meekness man on the earth!

What transpires Nu 12:10?

God avenges him

Miriam is left leprous

(cf Ro 12:17-21, Mt 5:39)

Why does Moses not retaliate?

He trusts God - he knows that whatever transpires is filtered through the loving fingers of his heavenly Father. His non-action reflects a humble submission to God's will not his will. And so meekness is a willingness to accept whatever comes as allowed by the sovereign, all loving God.

Meekness realizes that what comes to us from the hand of man has been permitted by the Almighty hand of the sovereign God (Da 4:34-35, Ps 103:19 Da 7:27, 1Ti 6:15), and has been filtered by His fingers of love, and will be used by His Spirit working in us for His glory (Mt 5:16) and our ultimate good (Ro 8:28-29).

How does one arrive at this type of trusting relationship?

Spend time in God's Word, especially studying His attributes (especially His Sovereignty), and His Names which speak of His trustworthy character (See the Name of the LORD is a Strong Tower)

What does the meek Moses do? Gloat? Rejoice? (Nu 12:13)

He intercedes for his enemy and God remits the plague

God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble (Ja 4:6)

How does Moses demonstrate that meekness is not spinelessness when he descends from Mt Sinai and finds Israel worshiping an idol and carousing (Ex 32:19-20)?

His anger burned against Israel. He shattered the 10 Commandments and made the Israelites grind the golden calf into powder and drink it

NB: this is the meekest man in the land but he expresses his anger at the right time, for the right reason, against the right target. Here he undertook for the cause of God but he let God undertake for him in Nu 12! That is meekness in action.

Some other OT examples of powerful men who display meekness in action include


Abraham allowing Lot to chose the well watered plains (cf Ex 13:5-12)


Joseph as second in command in Egypt could have easily had his brothers heads on the chopping block but choose the approach of a gentle man instead (See Ge 50:18-21) (see Heb 6:11-12)


David was cursed by Shimei who even threw rocks and yet how did David respond? (2Sa 16:5-8, 9-14, esp. 16:11-12) (Context= David is hard pressed as he flees from his son Absalom who had usurped his throne!)

David a meek man after God's own heart accepted Shimei's insults as from the Lord. This again demonstrates that the meek response is not the natural response and for David was predicated on a confident trust that God was in control..

Beloved of the Lord, is there anyone in your face (figuratively)? Anyone who is constantly "throwing stones" at you, cursing you to your face or behind your back? How are you handling these sharp arrows? There is a way, the way of meekness, which leads to a supernatural rest (cf Mt 11:29) even in the midst of the storm. Look at the example of our Lord, Whose Spirit now indwells us to daily, progressively conform us into His image. He can use the negative in your life to bring about the positive benefit of Christlike meekness. Trust His sovereignty. Submit to His leading, especially when you don't "feel" like doing so! And keep meditating on His Holy and Righteous character in the Word of Truth as if your spiritual life depended on it, because it does!

NT: Jesus

Mt 11:28-30
What do we learn about Jesus the King?

He is gentle (praus) and humble of heart

Who are those who would even come to Jesus? How does this echo the first beatitude?

The spiritually impoverished, those who recognize (as a result of God's Spirit opening their "eyes") their destitute dead state outside of God's provision of His perfect righteousness in Christ (cf Mt 5:20, 48, 7:13-14, 1Cor 1:30, 2Cor 5:17, 21).

How was the meekness of Jesus manifest in (John 2:13-17, cf Mk 3:1-6)

Gentle, meek Jesus cast out the money changers from His Father's house

Meekness is not milk toast-ness but is power under control. Anger expressed at right time, against right target, for the right reason - that's meekness in action! Clearly meekness is not weakness!

How did Zechariah 9:9 predict that Jesus would enter Jerusalem?

As a King

As one who should cause the Jews to rejoice greatly

As with salvation (not quoted in Mt 21:5)

As a humble (lowly, meek) King mounted on a donkey

Note that the Hebrew word for humble is translated in the LXX with the Greek word praus.

Note also that this is one of the most specific Messianic Prophecies in the entire OT.

How was Zechariah's prophecy fulfilled in Mt 21:1-5, 6-11? When in Jesus' life is this event? By what name do we commonly refer to this event? What then is (or should have) actually occurred on this day?

Zechariah 9:9 marked Jesus' so-called "Triumphal" entry (Mt 21:9, Mk 11:7-10, Lu 19:35-40, Ps 118:25-26) into His beloved City of Jerusalem (cf Mt 23:37, Lu 13:34, 19:41-44), which was to be the capital of His Kingdom. He was hailed as a King but proved not to be the kind of King the Jews were expecting and so was crucified with 2 criminals.

Note that when a king came into a city in peace he rode on a donkey. When he came to make war, he rode on a white horse (Rev 19:11ff)

Note also that the second part of Zechariah's prophecy (Zech 9:10) was not fulfilled at the King's first coming - there has been at least a 2000 year time gap that will be fulfilled when the King returns in His day of vengeance on a white horse and you and I will be riding behind Him! (cf Rev 19:11-16, 17:14, Isa 61:2 see note regarding "day of vengeance" and time gap)

How does Peter encourage (and challenge) his readers, saints who are suffering (1Pe 1:6-7, 3:14, 4:12, 5:10, cf 2Co 4:17-18) in various ways (1Pe 2:21-23)?

Our purpose is to follow in His steps

What do those steps look like? (1Pe 2:21-23)

Not retaliating, not giving back evil for evil, not threatening, not reviling in return

Why? How is this possible?

We must keep trusting our Father for He will judge every wrong done to us righteously (cf also Gal 5:23)

Some Other Examples of

the Meekness of the King

Lu 22:42 - Meekness seeks not its own will

Mt 27:27-31 - Meekness endures insults, mocking, mistreatment and even death if that is God's will

Lu 23:34 - Meekness forgives even with its dying breath! (cf stoning of Stephen Acts 7:58-60, How possible? Acts 6:3, 6:5, 6:8, 6:10, 7:55-56 - may his tribe increase! Amen)

Paul's Example

What does Paul teach about meekness - the source and the practice (2Cor 10:1)?

Christ was his example (cf 1Pe 2:21)

Meekness does not preclude boldness

How do we see Paul's meekness in 1Cor 4:21? (Check the context - 1Cor 5:1-13)

Paul gave the Corinthian church a choice - He could come to them with a rod or with love and a spirit of gentleness (meekness)

As we see in the next chapter (1Cor 5) Paul's meekness does not preclude advising deliverance of a sinning saint over to Satan for the destruction of his flesh!

Let us be "imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises" (Heb 6:11-12)

Note how amazing it is that our loving Father gives us rewards (we might call them spiritual "carrots") to spur us on to obey His exhortations
(cf Ps 103:2 "benefit" = rewards or compensation!)

What are the first rewards mentioned? (Mt 5:5)

Blessed - spiritual satisfied independent of circumstances, people or adverse events

Happy - now and then - independent of what "happens"

Inherit the land (see below)

How does one attain meekness (which itself is a benefit to the believer) (Gal 5:23)?

It is a fruit - one aspect of the 9 part fruit - Meekness is not natural but supernatural being an inwrought grace of the soul, by the indwelling Holy Spirit as we yield our will, trust and obey His leading.

It requires cultivation, fertilization and tender care to grow (cf 1Pe 2:1-2, Ja 1:21, Jo 15:5, Psalm 1:1-6, 2Pe 3:18, etc)

Note that fruit is singular, not plural. The Holy Spirit produces one kind of fruit, that is, Christlikeness. (the essence of the Beatitudes). All the virtues listed in Gal 5:22-23 describe the life of the child of God and as with the Beatitudes every one is foreign to the soil of the human heart, the natural man. They are all supernatural.

What is opposed to meekness in Gal 5:16-17?

The flesh
(see flesh in believers)

Flesh desires to assert self and resist any urging by the Spirit to walk in meekness

Flesh says "Do the things you please - assert yourself, avenge yourself, fight back, push through, step upon, etc, etc)

Note the spiritual "dynamic":
Paul does not say...
"Walk by the Spirit and the flesh will not have desires."

Nor does he say...

"Deny the desires of the flesh so that you may walk in the Spirit."

Focus on the Him first, not on the desires. He must continually increase. You must continually decrease. That's the spiritual order that brings victory. Take care not to reverse it beloved (cf Jo 3:30)

What is the benefit to believers in Gal 5:18?

We have the privilege of following

Paul says the Spirit lives within these bodies, God's temple, to lead ("led by the Spirit") on the "highway of holiness" (cf Isa 35:8)

At each "Y" or "turn in the road" of our day to day life there will be an opportunity either to listen to the flesh and assert self


Listen to the Spirit and submit
(and follow His lead).

It takes practice. It is a process. It is called sanctification. It is lifelong. Sometimes there will be 2 steps forward in your growth in meekness and one step back.
But don't lose heart.
Keep submitting like a good "ox" to your meek Master's yoke which is light and easy to bear. You will enter His rest as your reward (now and in the future) the glorious rest of a meek spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.

Gal 5:25 (NLT) adds that ...

If we are living now by the Holy Spirit, let us follow the Holy Spirit's leading in every part of our lives.

(NIV) Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

Keep proceeding in a row as the march of a soldier, going in order. As good "soldiers of Christ" let us make our steps by the help and guidance of the Spirit.

What is the benefit associated with meekness in the following psalms?

Note that in each of these psalms, the word translated "humble" or "afflicted", is translated in Septuagint (LXX) by the Greek word praus = meek)

Psalm 25:9

Jehovah leads the meek in justice ("in what is right" Amp, NLT, NIV)

Jehovah teaches the meek His way (cf Ja 1:21)

Psalm 76:9

God saves all the meek of the earth (Selah = "pause and calmly think of that!" Amp)

Note: NLT as "rescue the oppressed"

(In a sense is it not a fact that the "meek" often get "stepped on" by the proud powerful people of this world? God says that there is a day of rescue for the saints! Don't lose heart, beloved!

Psalm 147:6

Jehovah "supports the afflicted" (NAS)

Jehovah "sustains the humble" (NIV)

Jehovah "lifts up the humble and downtrodden; He casts the wicked down to the ground." (Amp)

"Jehovah is causing the meek to stand" (Young's Literal)

"But He brings the wicked down into the dust" (NLT)

Meekness (like Jesus Heb 12:2) looks beyond circumstances — no matter how oppressive, upsetting or hurtful — and bows the knee to the sovereign will of the Father realizing that everything is permitted by Him and used by Him for our chastening and our purifying (cf Job 5:17, Heb 12:5-6, 10-11, Pr 6:23, 1Pe 1:6-7, 2Cor 4:16-18)

Psalm 149:4

Jehovah takes pleasure in (takes delight in, sets His affection on, approves, is pleased with) His afflicted (LXX = praus)

He will beautify (glorify cf Ro 8:23, Phil 3:20-21, 2Ti 4:8, 1Jo 3:2) the afflicted ones with salvation

"He crowns the humble with salvation" (NIV)

"He will beautify the humble with salvation and adorn the wretched with victory" (Amp)

What is the benefit to the meek person in Ja 1:21?

Salvation of one's soul

Note that although salvation is a "one time" past tense event (justification - declared +R in a moment in time, never to be repeated cf Titus 3:5-7, 2Ti 1:9, Eph 2:8), it also has a present tense component (sanctification, a continuous, ongoing process in the believer's life, 1Cor 1:18), and finally a future tense component (glorification = consummation of salvation = a one time event, 1Pe 1:5, Ro 8:23, Ro 13:11, Heb 9:28, finally like Christ 1John 3:2-3). And so we see the benefit of James' exhortation, whether saved or not. (See synopsis of Three Tenses of Salvation)

Psalm 37

What do we learn about meekness in Psalm 37:11? Who was this originally addressed to? What is the promise?

The humble or meek will inherit the land

In the context David was writing to Jews who will inherit the land of Israel as promised in the Abrahamic Covenant (and which has never been fulfilled) (see Ge 15:13) See the covenant promises of "the land” for Israel in (Ps 37:3, 9, 11, 22, 29, 34).

What does meekness do in this Psalm? (Ps 37:3-4, 5, 6-8, 9-11)

Trusts in the LORD

Does good
Cultivates faithfulness
Delights in the LORD

Commits to the LORD

In this Psalm David instructed the righteous not to be disturbed over the prosperity of the wicked who reject God, for divine justice will yet be granted. Using a series of proverbial expressions, the psalmist exhorted the righteous to trust in the Lord continually and not fret about evil people who are about to be cast down.

Why do the ungodly prosper while the godly painfully struggle through life?”.

How to react when we become a victim of wicked schemes and venomous tongues.

What do we learn from Rev 5:8-10 about who will inherit the land? (cf Rev 20:6)

Jesus the King of kings did

"purchase for God with Thy blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation"

Believers will be

A kingdom and priests

They will serve God

They will reign on the earth
The earth they own!
("fellow heirs with Christ"
the King of kings)

Who will not inherit the earth (1Cor 6:9-11)?

The unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God

Do not be deceived (stop letting this happen implying some already had been deceived and were not destined as they thought for the Kingdom of God)

What state were some of the readers (and some of us)?

Among the unrighteous

What has happened to some of the readers (and us) (1Cor 6:11)?

But you were washed,
but you were sanctified,
but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God.

The Greek term for meekness has its roots in the domestication of animals. Today we talk about a horse that has been "broken," meaning that the animal has learned to accept control by its master and is properly behaved. From there, the term has been extended to include people who are properly behaved. The meek are those of gentle behavior, loving and submissive.

To exhort means to incite by argument or advice and so to advise or urge strongly, to make an urgent appeal, to spur on, to counsel

What is the exhortation in Mt 11:29? What is the benefit?

Take Jesus' yoke and learn from Him

Benefit: Rest for your soul

Ja 1:21

What does James 1:21 teach about meekness?

After putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness,

Receive (put the welcome mat out for) the Word

Meekness is a teachable spirit -

How are you doing in this area? Is there some truth you have heard in Jesus' Sermon on the Mount that you are resisting?

Benefit: Salvation of your soul (see discussion in middle column)

Ja 3:13

How are believers (especially teachers in context Ja 3:1) to show their good behavior? What should be one of the marks of wisdom? What is the test for anyone who thinks they are wise?

Wisdom = skillfully applying knowledge to the matter of practical living. It is life viewed from God's perspective.

The test of whether one is truly wise in not pride, but gentleness, meekness, mildness in dealing with others. The wise know that God is in control, and they know who they are as redeemed sinners. Thus they can confidently meet their problems and their detractors with the gentle assurance that God will vindicate them. The meek/wise know how to do the right thing as they pass through the traffic of life.

One of the marks of wisdom is gentleness or meekness. No one can be considered wise who is not at the same time meek. Remember James' context is primarily teachers!

Meekness = opposite of arrogance and self-promotion. Power under control (of the Holy Spirit). The teacher who lacks this quality is not demonstrating true wisdom

Net Bible = Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct he should show his works done in the gentleness that wisdom brings.


Note that if one is truly wise, he will show it by "his good behavior his deeds" - he will show it by his conduct which exudes meekness.

The deeds of true wisdom display meekness = the original "show and tell"!

Wisdom is not measured by degrees but by deeds done in meekness.

Wisdom is not a matter of acquiring truth in lectures but of applying truth to life.

Their actions will speak louder than their words!

1Ti 6:11

What is the man of God to do in regard to meekness according to 1Ti 6:11? What is the context?

The man or woman of God is to continually pursue a meek spirit

The context is love of money - continually flee this snare

A man/woman of God, a man/woman who will make men think of God and glorify God.

Flee and pursue are both present imperative

Paul's command in this verse is parallel to 2Ti 2:22 (“flee youthful lusts...pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace.”) The dynamic that follows is when Timothy (or we) cease to flee and pursue, then what is behind ( of money) will catch him!

Ephesians 4:1-2

What is the context (why "therefore" in Eph 4:1)? What is Paul's overall charge to believers?

Walk worthy of your high calling

Expressing an attitude of gentleness is one of the ways we walk worthy of our high calling in Christ (note that all 5 characteristics are part of this worthy walk)

Ephesians 1-3 Paul describes our new position in Christ and the power we possess to live the supernatural life. Therefore (in Eph 4:1) is a "hinge" word which marks Paul's transition from Doctrine to Duty, from what you have come to Believe to how you are to Behave. Right doctrine is essential to Right living. To go to an exhortation like walking worthy with all "humility and gentleness" without understanding the crucial doctrinal truths of Eph 1-3 can only lead to frustration at one's inability to live this supernatural life.

What (in context) is one benefit of "walking worthy all... gentleness"? (Eph 4:3) What will a person with a spirit of gentleness be enabled to carry out?

Forbear with others in love


Because the gentle man or woman is not avenging, self asserting, self defensive or vindictive but is self effacing, quiet and soothing.

When the meek person becomes angry, he or she is aroused by that which maligns God or is harmful to others, not by what is done against himself or herself. And his anger is controlled and carefully directed, not a careless and wild venting of emotion that spatters everyone who is near.

Colossians 3:12

How does Paul address his readers?

Holy (saints) and
Beloved (by God)

What should this truth about our new identity in Christ do for us in regard to the exhortation?

This should motivate us to carry out the exhortations which include putting on or "dressing ourselves" in a garment that has gentleness woven in the "fabric"

Because of who we are and "Whose" we now are (not our own but Christ 1Cor 6:20, Titus 2:13) we should exhibit a willingness to suffer injury or insult rather than to inflict such hurts.

Note that Col 3:1-4 summarizes our high position and our new power to carry out this naturally impossible exhortation.

Note esp. Col 3:3 "Christ our life"

Titus 3:1-2

What is Paul's charge to Titus? What qualities are closely linked? (Titus 3:3)

Remind them to... Show

All consideration for all men (and some on the isle of Crete are not easy to be meek toward - see Titus 1:12)

All men means just that. Clearly meekness is not natural but supernatural (Gal 5:23)

Meekness follows humility because only a humble heart can be truly meek

He knows that he is a sinner and this knowledge of his own sin will teach him to endure meekly the provocations with which sinners may provoke him, and not withdraw himself from the burdens which their sin may impose (Gal 6:1; 2Ti 2:25; Titus 2:2)

It is that temper of spirit in which we accept His dealings with us as good, and therefore without disputing and resisting

Context: Paul moves from how believers are to live in the church (Titus 2) to how they are to live in society. This is a crucial section of instruction for today.

MacArthur: These seven Christian duties (Titus 3:1-2) apply to all believers at all times. They are the attitudes and dispositions that should always characterize our lives among those who do not belong to God. The Holy Spirit here defines our obligation to pagan culture. (Titus. Moody Press)

1Pe 3:4

What is the context?
Who is Peter addressing?
How wide is the application?

Saved wives are addressed as to how they are to behave around unsaved husbands

This behaviour however should adorn every believer and is precious in the sight of the Lord

Benefit: Might "preach" by their lives a message to the unsaved husband which results in salvation.

Gal 6:1-2

What should be our attitude toward a man caught in a trespass? What is potential benefit? (cf 1Cor 5:1-13)

A spirit of gentleness

Not with a spirit of "I told you so" but with a "spiritual caress" so to speak.

Benefit: Restoration of the trespassing believer

Note that the idea behind trespasses (paraptoma) is that we have crossed a line, challenging God's boundaries.

The idea behind sins (hamartia) is that we have missed a mark, the perfect standards of God

Restore as used in Greek meant to “mend” or “repair” - of setting bones, of mending nets (cf Mt 4:21). The figurative idea is to make someone completely adequate or sufficient for something, make adequate, to furnish completely, cause to be fully qualified, adequacy.

2Ti 2:24-26

Who is Paul addressing?
How are they to conduct themselves toward those who oppose them?

What is the potential benefit?

Paul is speaking to bondservants.

When they are opposed they are to respond with gentleness

Benefit: God may grant repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth.
The opponent then comes to their senses and escapes from the snare of the devil having been captive by him to do his will.

1Pe 3:14-16

What is the immediate preceding context? How are believers to respond?

Context: suffering for +R (cf Mt 5:10-12)

Christ is Lord
Ready to make a defense

To give an account of hope

But do it with gentleness and reverence

The meek person has the right attitude toward the unsaved. He does not look down on them with a feeling of superiority but longs for their salvation, knowing that he himself was once lost—and would still be lost but for God’s grace.

A Prayer for the Master's Touch

Lord make our hearts pliable as common clay in the Potter's hands, molding us daily, even moment by moment, by the leading of Your Spirit, Who forms us into vessels of honor, who are meek like our Majestic Master and King, Christ Jesus. Amen.

Here are some tests to see if you are developing meekness...

Harshness: If you are mean in your treatment of others, if there is an absence of gentleness in your treatment of others (cf Pr 15:1), take heed.

Grasping: If you make sure you always get yours first, if numero uno is the subtle driving force in your life, if you care little about how your actions affect others, beware.

Vengeful: When you are on the highway do you want to get that guy back who just rudely pulled in front of you? If you are known as someone never to cross, if you always get your "pound of flesh," be on your guard.

Uncontrolled: Does you "cup runneth over" easily. Do you get angry at the slightest annoyances or inconveniences? If rage fills your soul so that life is a series of explosions occasioned by the "fools" in your life, watch out.

This is not to suggest that you are not a Christian if you fall into one of these sins. Hughes however does warn "that if they are part of your persona, if you are a self-satisfied "Christian" who thinks that the lack of gentleness and meekness is "just you" and people will have to get used to it, if you are not repentant, you are probably not a Christian." (Modified from Kent Hughes' book "Sermon on the Mount")

Sermon on the Mount

Meek as used in modern English are quite different than the way the word for Greek was used in Jesus' day. To our society the meek are everybody's fool but nobody's hero. Webster (the modern edition) does have one entry which is very close noting that "meek" describes one who endures injury with patience and without resentment. The 1828 edition of Webster's is better recording that meek means "1. Mild of temper; soft; gentle; not easily provoked or irritated; yielding; given to forbearance under injuries. 2. Appropriately, humble, in an evangelical sense; submissive to the divine will; not proud, self-sufficient or refractory; not peevish and apt to complain of divine dispensations."

Afflicted, humble (6035) ('anav from verb 'anah = be afflicted, be bowed down, be humbled) is used 18 times in the OT (Nu 12:3 Job 24:4 Ps 9:18, 22:26, 25:9, 37:11, 76:9, 147:6, 149:4, Pr 14:21, Isa 11:4, 29:19, 32:7, 61:1; Am 2:7, 8:4 Zeph 2:3) is an adjective which describes those who put themselves after others in importance; persons who are not proud, haughty, supercilious, unpretentiousness, self-assertive, low in rank or position. It describes those who are tormented and weak and so not able to help themselves. 'Anav expresses the intended outcome of affliction which is humility or meekness. The description of one as 'anav conveys the sense of that persons absolute dependence on God (cf Nu 12:3). In many of the subsequent uses of 'anav in Scripture this attitude and position (humble, meek) is lauded as blessed by God and to be desired by men. This is the goal which God intended when He afflicted His people Israel and for which they were to endure affliction. The humble consider and experience God as their Deliverer (Ps 76:9).

Matthew 5:5

Matthew 11:29

28 "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.

29 "Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and YOU SHALL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.

30 "For My yoke is easy, and My load is light."

Weary (kopiao from kópos = strike or cut = labor, fatigue and pictures wailing, grief with beating of one's breast) means to engage in hard work and can imply difficulties and trouble. It speaks of intense toil even sweating and straining to the point of exhaustion if necessary. Figuratively kopiao could refer to one who has become emotionally fatigued and discouraged to the point that they give up or lose heart Kopiao was sometimes used to refer to athletic training. It was also common used among the down-trodden masses of the Roman world. John uses the term to describe Jesus’ fatigue when He and the disciples reached Sychar after a long, hot journey from Jerusalem (John 4:6). The present tense in Mt 11:28 speaks of this as one's continual state. In the present context the weariness is not just any type of work but here refers figuratively to arduous toil in seeking to please God and know the way of salvation. Jesus calls to Himself everyone who is exhausted from trying to find and please God in his or her own resources. Jesus invites the person who is wearied from his vain search for truth through human wisdom, who is exhausted from trying to earn salvation, and who has despaired of achieving God’s standard of righteousness by his own efforts. Notice how Jesus' call echoes the first beatitude (Mt 5:3) as He reaches out to those who are burdened by their own spiritual bankruptcy and the weight of trying to save themselves by keeping the Law. Without a sovereignly bestowed spiritual awakening, all sinners refuse to acknowledge the depth of their spiritual poverty.

Heavy-laden (phortizo from phórtos = freight of a ship) means first of all to load up (as a vessel or animal, a "beast of burden"). Figuratively as used by Jesus it means to overburden with ceremony (see the only other use Lu11:46). In this verse phortizo is perfect passive participle (see perfect tense and passive voice) which signifies that at some time in the past a great load was dumped on the wearied person and that this condition persists or is their continual state. Thus weary refers to the internal exhaustion caused by seeking divine truth through human wisdom, heavy-laden suggests the external burdens caused by the futile efforts of works righteousness.

MacArthur explains the spiritual dynamic of "heavy laden" noting that...

In Jesus’ day, the rabbinical teachings had become so massive, demanding, and all-encompassing that they prescribed standards and formulas for virtually every human activity. It was all but impossible even to learn all the traditions, and was completely impossible to keep them all. Jesus spoke of the heavy loads of religious tradition that the scribes and Pharisees laid on the people’s shoulders (Matt. 23:4); and at the Jerusalem Council, Peter noted that the Judaizers were trying to saddle Christianity with the same man-made “yoke which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear” (Acts 15:10). (MacArthur, J. Matthew. Chicago: Moody Press)

Ephesians 4:1-3

Walk worthy or live worthy...

John MacArthur explains that

Axios (worthy) has the root meaning of balancing the scales—what is on one side of the scale should be equal in weight to what is on the other side. By extension, the word came to be applied to anything that was expected to correspond to something else. A person worthy of his pay was one whose day’s work corresponded to his day’s wages. The believer who walks in a manner worthy of the calling with which he has been called is one whose daily living corresponds to his high position as a child of God and fellow heir with Jesus Christ. His practical living matches his spiritual position. (MacArthur, J. Ephesians. Chicago: Moody Press)