Sermon on the Mount, The

By Carl G. Vaught

Paperback : 9780887063657, 217 pages, January 1987
Hardcover : 9780887063640, 217 pages, January 1987

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Table of contents


Part I. Divine Perfection and Christian Maturity
1 The Context of the Message
2. Entrance into God's Kingdom
3. The Outward Journey
4. Persecution and the Real Order
5. Two Overarching Metaphors: The Salt of the Earth and the Light of the World

Part II. The Past and the Future: Five Practical Problems
6. Jesus as the Fulfillment of Tradition
7. Murder and Anger
8. Adultery and Divorce
9. The Problem of False Vows
10. The Problem of Retaliation
11. Love Your Enemies

Part III. Six Expressions of Perfection
12. Being Seen and Being Noticed: Secret Acts of Charity
13. The Inner Room and the Lord's Prayer
14. Fasting as a Centered Act
15. Two Treasures, Two Ways of Seeing, Two Masters
16. Beyond Anxiety
17. Judgment and Condemnation

Part IV. Final Considerations About God's Kingdom
18. Access to Divine Power
19. The Golden Rule and the Narrow Gate
20. Wolves in Sheep's Clothing
21. Two Final Analogies: Houses, Rock, and Sand



This book focuses on the Sermon on the Mount as the locus classicus of the teachings of Jesus. It argues that the Sermon is an expression of the divine perfection in which it is grounded. The center of the book is the injunction contained at the center of the sermon itself—"Be perfect as your father in heaven is perfect. "

Perfection of this kind is a human response to a divne gift. Consequently, all the Beatitudes and obedience to all the ethical prescriptions in the sermon should be understood as expressions of divine perfection and as finite reflections of God's own work in the world. The Sermon on the Mount requires a transformation of the spirit before its message can become intelligible.


"The Sermon on the Mount is a stimulating interpretation of a familiar text. This book's clarity, organization, and frequent use of autobiographical material make it lively and well-paced. Vaught brings with him a philosophical heritage which provides valuable conceptual tools for interpretation. I found new insights at every turn. "—Merold Westphal, Hope College

"This book is a clearly written, well argued exposition of one of the richest texts in the Bible. It incorporates the best insight of modern New Testament theology and moves beyond the traditional dilemmas of interpretation by concentrating on the primary action of God in Christ realizing the promise of the Sermon and bringing the believer into this action. The Sermon on the Mount is like good homemade bread—solid and nourishing. "—Charles C. West, Princeton Theological Seminary