Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God – Matthew 5:9
Meaning of Matthew 5:9
The meaning of the verse, “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God,” is that anyone who intends to make peace between two conflicted parties will be a blessed person. This verse is taken from the New Testament, written by one of Jesus’ disciples, Matthew. The verse is a part of “beatitudes”, which is a series of statements consisting of Godly behavior and benefits. Hence, this beatitudes verse means that a person who works to maintain or bring peace is loved and blessed by God and be called his child.
Interpretations of Matthew 5:9
The “beatitudes” section in the Bible is widely preached in Churches and homes as they convey the required behavior and characteristics of a good Christian. However, the verse can be interpreted in many ways. Here are a few examples.
Interpretation #1 A good Christian must be a peacemaker
The first interpretation of the verse, “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God,” is that in order to prove one is a good Christian, one has to be a peacemaker. This can be interpreted as a required trait or quality one must possess to be Christian or called a child of God. The Beatitudes are taught as God’s direct message to his people on how to be and how not to be. He requires his followers to obey and implement a set of rules and behaviors in order to be called his child, and also to be blessed in abundance in return to obedience. When he or she fails to achieve these, they might be punished or discarded by God.
Interpretation #2 Christians are greater than others as they are peacemakers
The verse Matthew 5:9 is accompanied by acceptance and blessings from God. This can be interpreted as Christians being put on a higher standard than others who don’t worship Jesus. This also implies that Christians are better and greater than the rest who don’t act as peacemakers and resolve conflicts. Thus, the meaning of the verse, “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God”, is that Christians are believed to be peacemakers. Thus, in certain conflicts, the authorities are expected to approach a church priest or a leader to help them resolve the conflict.
Interpretation #3 God will punish anyone who creates conflicts
In this interpretation of the verse, “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God” the reader assumes that God intends to punish anyone who creates conflicts. The opposite of blessing is a curse. The verse conveys that the one who brings peace is blessed and called the child of God. Hence, the reader believes that anyone who is not a peacemaker or who creates problems and conflicts between people must be punished or cursed by God. This could be intended to be a warning for any Christian or non-Christian who creates trouble or fights in situations.
Interpretation #4 A peacemaker is highly rewarded by God
The verse calls anyone who is a peacemaker a child of God. Thus, the reader believes that they are entitled to be rewarded and loved if they make peace with others. Every Christian wants to be called a child of God as it is the highest order of compliment and reward. The reader can interpret that being a child of God might result in them being unique and as an inspiration to the people around them. Hence, by helping maintain peace, they can expect rewards in the form of gifts, jobs, property, wealth, success, etc. Hence, the verse, “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God” encourages the believer to be better than others and hold peace even with their enemies.
Interpretation #5 A peacemaker is well-balanced and cherished by God
The final interpretation of the verse, “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God,” is that the commitment to bring peace wherever the person is without compromising their values. It is important to maintain peace and is highly valued in the Bible. A peacemaker is someone who reconciles people who were in conflict before while keeping peace within as well. Hence, God cherishes and loves anyone who works as a mediator, resolving major and minor issues between people, group,s or even countries. It takes an educated and very well-balanced person to do so. Peace is also symbolic of what Jesus did on the earth. He came to make peace between man and God. Also, being a peacemaker doesn’t require a person to compromise or be friends with enemies.
Historical background of Matthew 5:9
The book of Matthew is the first book in the New Testament and is written by one of Jesus’ disciples, Matthew. Chapter 5 in the book is called Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. Jesus began this sermon by teaching the Beatitudes. The chapter says that many people came from far away to listen to Jesus teach and perform miracles. The word Beatitudes comes from the Latin word “beatus” which means blessed or happy. Every sentence of the beatitudes begins with “blessed are”. The verse Matthew 5:7 is specifically calling for those who strive to maintain peace in every situation and hence are the peacemakers.
Literary Devices of Matthew 5:9
The verse of Matthew 5:9 is a statement commonly used. However, there are some significant literary devices in verse. Here are a few examples.
Theme – The verse is one of the most spoken beatitudes of the chapter. The themes include non-violence, truth, and humility.
Extended Metaphor – The verse Matthew 5:9 is a good example of an extended metaphor. The entire verse is a metaphor for inner peace.
Parallelism – The verse Matthew 5:9 is parallel to the verse Luke 6:35, also from the New Testament, encouraging the readers and believers to make peace with everyone. For example, ‘But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest.’
Consonance – The verse has good use of consonant sounds. For example, the sound of /l/ and the sound of /r/ in ‘for they shall be called the children of God.’
Irony – The verse is also likely to have one of the best ironic statements in the chapter. For example, all human beings are called children of God. However, in this verse, only the peacemakers are called Children of God, which is contradicting.