In this introduction to A New Look at the Beatitudes, I will be using The New Testament: An Expanded Translation, by Kenneth Wuest since it presents the more philosophical side of Jesus words. To do this, it is extremely literal, sometimes so much so that the English is awkward, but it extracts the full meaning of the Greek wording. The esoteric understanding, of course, will be up to us.
“And having opened His mouth He went to teaching them, saying, Spiritually prosperous are the destitute and helpless in the realm of the spirit, because theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
Wuest is translating as “spiritually prosperous” the Greek word makarios. The word can mean both blessed and happy, but both expressions are too weak. Makarios means supremely blessed or happy in the sense that it is the ultimate degree of blessedness or happiness. Yet, it also means to be fortunate–in the literal sense of possessing a fortune and “well off”–prosperous. The idea is that of spiritual abundance, of spiritual superabundance. “God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.” (II Corinthians 9:8)
The fullness of spiritual capacity and manifestation is implied here. Modern Christianity is so materialistic that virtually every time they speak of being blessed they mean gaining money. This is especially true of the televangelists and their forerunners the “New Thought” churches. Therefore Wuest is certainly justified in putting the adjective “spiritually” in the translation. Otherwise the Sermon on the Mount will just be another “God’s Prosperity Plan For His People.” [Read more…]