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The Oxford Bible Commentary Line-by-line commentary for the New Revised Standard Version Bible.

Outline.

Following Luther many thought that the letter has no good order, but today most discover a careful structure. If one pays attention to such formulas as ‘my brothers [NRSV and sisters]’ or ‘listen’ (RSV behold) and to such Jewish devices of composition as catchwords or symbolic numbers (3, 5, 7) the following structure seems possible:

The overall structure—first some sort of beatitude ( 1:2, 12 ), then reprimand of the rich ( 4:13–5:6 ), then final exhortations ( 5:7–20 )—resembles the Sermon on the Plain (Lk 6:20–49 ).

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Oxford University Press

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