Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Matthew 5:6 Hungry Thirsty For What?

According to the King James Version of the Bible, Jesus is quoted at Matthew 5:6 as saying: “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” Most other translations read pretty much the same. The NWT changes only one significant word, “blessed” to “happy.” (Other translations) Also, “after” is modernized to “for righteousness.” This raised a few questions in my mind. First, how does a person hunger and thirst for righteousness? Next whose righteousness should people crave? Finally, how do we get “filled”?

Then I came across the rendering given in the Good News Bible (Today’s English Version): “Happy are those whose greatest desire is to do what God requires; God will satisfy them fully!” Indeed, hungering and thirsting may at first seem like two different things, but really, they are both a single desire to be nourish. And just like a person who is VERY hungry, is someone who craves to serve God with every fiber of his (or her) being. They are singularly consumed with the drive, it is the “greatest” desire in their life. And just what is that righteousness?

The Amplified version elaborates that it is “uprightness and right standing with God.” Yes, it is to do God’s will, to please him by loyal devotion. So this is not self righteousness or the righteousness of some other human. Our lofty goal is to imitate our heavenly Father. Finally, how do we get filled with this righteousness? At John 6:35 Jesus promised that we would be more than adequately fed in a spiritual sense. By reading the Bible daily, by contemplating how it is practical and applicable to our own life, if we demonstrate a diligence for those things, God will amply reward us with truly knowing Him as a friend, by providing for our needs, and by comforting us through His Word. (Those who claim they’ve read (past tense) the Bible “once,” do not understand that absolutely nothing we read once is comprehended 100%. Even technical manuals that I’ve read before, I usually find a gem I had glossed over before. The Bible is full of wisdom that takes time to be absorbed. Progressively reading a little bit every day is what will benefit each of us.)

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