Beatitudes, Not Platitudes: Jesus’ Invitation to the Good Life

Beatitudes, Not Platitudes shows that the Beatittudes are not overuesed, well-worn answers to the question, “What would Jesus do?” Rather, they are undervalued and hardly touched claims that transform our destinies. More than spiritual nuggets for personal devotion, practical advice or propositions to be believed, the Beatitudes in Matthew 5 envision and entail a reorientation of the good life in view of Jesus’ kingdom. jesus’ teachings reveal to us that living our best purpose-driven life now involves dying to self and the world system, and dying for our enemies.

Ideal for group study, this series of meditations on each of the Beatitudes, followed by cultural reflections and study questions, helps to bridge the gaps between personal devotion and societal revolution, the academic and the practical, the ancient and the contemporary. All of us want to be happy, to be well and blessed, and esteemed with honor. However, we look for happiness, wellness, blessing, and honor in different places and with mixed results. This book helps us reimagine the good life by taking a fresh look at the Beatitudes as citizens of Jesus’ ever-new kingdom order.

Endorsements for Beatitudes, Not Platitudes:

“I was most impressed with Paul Louis Metzger’s not only evangelical but also social-justice reading and interpretation of Jesus’ powerful Beatitudes. May his tribe increase!”

Frederick Dale Bruner, George and Lyda Wasson Professor of Religion Emeritus, Whitworth University; Author of Matthew: A Commentary

“For preachers and teachers who value Scripture, Paul Louis Metzger provides a robust theological reading of Scripture rooted in sound exegesis. In addition to the careful reading of the biblical text, Metzger offers historical, theological, social, and practical insights that call us to actually embody scripture more than just talk about it.”

Soong-Chan Rah, Professor of Church Growth and Evangelism, North Park Theological Seminary; Author of The Next Evangelicalism: Freeing the Church from Western Cultural Captivity

Beatitudes Not Platitudes reveals what we are missing when we bypass Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount or minimize its meaning to avoid distressing ourselves. Paul Louis Metzger implores us to take a closer look and ponder Jesus’ words. Jesus means to jolt us out of the status quo—even our American Christian status quo—so we will hunger for and cultivate the values of his kingdom. A wise and important book for such a time as this!”

Carolyn Custis James, Author of The Gospel of Ruth: Loving God Enough to Break the Rules; Malestrom: Manhood Swept into the Currents of a Changing World 

“In clear and accessible prose, Paul Louis Metzger walks us through Jesus’ simple but revolutionary introduction to the upside-down kingdom of God . . . With the heart of a friend and the mind of a scholar, Metzger guides us through the cultural setting and contemporary relevance for each of Jesus’ beatitudes. This highly readable book provides a winsome vision for any Christian hungering to walk afresh in the way of Jesus. But it’s also an exceptional resource for preachers and teachers who want to lead their people through this potent and beautiful section of Scripture.”

Matt Woodley, Editor of Preaching Today; Author of The Gospel of Matthew: God With Us

Beatitudes, Not Platitudes is one of the few books in recent memory that meets more than one need in the church today. It is theologically informative and devotionally inspirational, while at the same time, it encourages us to be more sensitive to the social challenges that many are struggling to overcome. Paul Louis Metzger has written a masterpiece for our times.”

Jimi Calhoun, Lead Pastor, Bridging Austin; Author of A Story of Rhythm and Grace: What the Church Can Learn from Rock and Roll About Healing the Racial Divide

“The Beatitudes are spiritual treasures. They are like diamonds that never lose their valueor beauty with the passing of time. However, too often our church theologies and cultural challenges gloss them over with a thick veneer that hides their true meaning. In Beatitudes, Not Platitudes, Paul Louis Metzger, skillfully wipes off the dust, helping the reader rediscover the true light, color and symmetry of these great diamonds. Metzger’s style is clear, direct, biblical, and well-illustrated.”

Alex Awad, Retired Pastor of East Jerusalem Baptist Church; Author of Palestinian Memories: The Story of a Palestinian Mother and Her People

“What philosophers across the ages have described as ‘the good life’ Jesus redefines as ‘the blessed life,’ but not without some surprising promises. In the lucid and devotional prose of Paul Louis Metzger, the Beatitudes of Jesus are no mere platitudes. They challenge conventional notions of success and popularity, revealing the paradoxes of the upside-down kingdom. This book is a must-read—chock full of life-transforming and world-changing possibilities.”

Paul N. Anderson, Professor of Biblical and Quaker Studies, George Fox University; Author of From Crisis to Christ: A Contextual Introduction to the New Testament; Following Jesus: The Heart of Faith and Practice


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