Imagine sitting down in a comfortable chair on the back porch and having an extended conversation with a veteran pastor about what he has learned over many years of preaching and teaching from the Sermon on the Mount.
With a twinkle in his eye, he tells you about insights gathered from respected professors at seminary, insightful scholars of Scripture and his own careful study of Chapters 5–7 in the Gospel of Matthew. He shares personal illustrations he has used to help explain and apply this “greatest sermon” ever preached by Christ.
This is what we find in “Ethics for Every Day,” written by Dewey Mayfield Sr. Now well into his tenth decade, Mayfield has served as pastor of churches in Alabama and Mississippi. He also served as director of missions of the Columbia (now Southeast Alabama) Baptist Association.
His book is not a technical commentary written in dense academic language, but an engaging, fast-paced Bible study that guides the reader through Christ’s teaching and its context. He writes in a clear, understandable manner, strategically explaining relevant words and phrases from the text.
Mayfield divides the book into two major sections. Chapters 1–8 provide a basic exposition of the sermon. Chapters 9–30 give a more extended review and application that has the feel of well-honed sermons based on the text.
At several points, Mayfield emphasizes that seeking to live the principles of the Sermon on the Mount depends on faith in the redeeming work of Christ. “The sermon also calls all of us to faith in Jesus as Savior and Lord,” he writes. The book is full of pithy statements and practical encouragement. For example, he writes, “Good works cannot save us but we are saved for good works. … The Sermon on the Mount is Jesus’ authoritative word on living under the reign of heaven.”
For a layperson looking for a helpful study of the Sermon on the Mount, as well as for pastors and Bible study leaders seeking an accessible volume for a small group or Sunday School class, “Ethics for Every Day” is a welcome new resource. (Independently published, 2023)