Matthew 5:4 Commentary, Blessed are they that Mourn

A close-up image of a group of lit mini-candles.

4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

Matthew 5:4, KJV

4 Blessed are those who mourn,

    for they will be comforted.

Matthew 5:4, NIV

4 God blesses those who mourn,

    for they will be comforted.

Matthew 5:4, NLT

4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

Matthew 5:4, ESV

4 Blessed are those who mourn,

For they shall be comforted.

Matthew 5:4, NKJV

For this verse analysis, we will be using the O.I.C.A. method of studying the Holy Bible.

An image describing the OICA method of bible study. The O represents Observation and says "Read the passage and make some observations about what it says, consider why it was written. What does this tell you about God? About the Bible? Any key words." The I represents Interpretation and says "What does this passage mean? Why was it written? Always remember the context of the scripture when you make your interpretations." The C represents Correlations and says "How does this passage fit into the overall story of the Bible?" The A represents Application and says "What does this passage mean for your own life? What is the potential personal application?"


Matthew 5:4 is one of the most famous of the Beatitudes. This verse offers hope and comfort to those who are grieving. It reminds us that our sorrows will one day come to an end. 

This verse provides consolation and strength in times of loss, and it reminds us of the hope that we have in Christ.

There are two primary perspectives to approach this verse from:

  1. We live in a world surrounded by sin, and consequently, death. Our experience beyond this world in heaven comes later and we must contend with mourning as those around us pass away.
  2. As mentioned, we live in a world surrounded by sin, and during the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus is likely referring to his followers mourning their own sin, or the sin of Israel.

Regardless, those who have suffered loss, tragedy, or the consequences of sin will find comfort in the arms of God. It is a promise that God will not abandon us in our time of need, but will instead be a source of strength and support. 


The word “beatitude” comes from the Latin words for “blessed” and “happy.” They are a set of eight principles for Christian living, first articulated by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount. They can be summarized as follows: 

  • Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
  • Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
  • Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
  • Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
  • Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
  • Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
  • Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
  • Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Though often quoted as a code of conduct or ethical system, the beatitudes should not be understood primarily as a set of rules to follow. Rather, they should be seen as an expression of the character of God and an invitation to enter into His life.

Sermon on the Mount

The Sermon on the Mount was a sermon given by Jesus Christ and recorded in the Gospel of Matthew. In this sermon, Jesus tells his followers how they should live their lives, talking about topics such as love, forgiveness, humility, and other important virtues. 

The Sermon on the Mount is one of the most famous events in the Bible, and it continues to be a source of inspiration for Christians today. By living our lives according to these teachings, we can help to make the world a better place.

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Matthew 5:16, NIV

The sermon has been seen as a key text for understanding the ethics of Jesus, emphasizing the importance of humility, justice and love.


This verse is often interpreted to simply mean that those who grieve will be comforted. 

To circle back, there is another way to understand this verse. The word “mourn” can also be translated as “grieve.” In this context, the verse would mean that those who grieve for their own sins, and the spiritual state that finds them in. Those that can acknowledge their falling short, that find their way to the Father is through Christ, will find themselves comforted in His kingdom.

This interpretation makes sense in light of the rest of the Sermon on the Mount, where Jesus is teaching his followers how to live a righteous life. 

Therefore, it seems likely that Matthew 5:4 is not just about grieving but also repentance and forgiveness.


Among other things, the purpose of the book of Matthew is to show that Jesus Christ is the promised Messiah and Savior of Israel. 

And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”

Matthew 1:21-23, NKJV

The Sermon on the Mount includes some of the best-known passages in the Bible, such as the Beatitudes, and it is often considered to represent the core of Jesus’ moral teaching. 

Jesus is teaching his disciples about what it means to be blessed. In this particular instance, Jesus is teaching that those who mourn are blessed because they will be comforted. 

They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.
He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.

Psalm 126:5-6, KJV

The word “mourn” can refer to both the grieving process after someone passes away, and also to a general sense of sadness or regret, particularly in light of sin and falling short of God.

This is an important principle for Christians to remember, because it reminds us that even in our darkest times, God is always with us and will comfort us.


Matthew 5:4 correlates to the Bible through a larger discussion about righteousness. Jesus is teaching that those who live righteously will be blessed, even if they face hardships in this life. They will ultimately be comforted by God.

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

James 5:16, NIV

Righteousness is a powerful message and contributes to hope for those who are grieving. It shows that even though we may experience pain and loss in this life, we can have comfort and hope in God. 

It is okay to mourn and we should not try to bottle up our emotions or pretend that everything is okay when it is not. Whether we are facing sin or the loss of a loved one, we should express our sadness and allow ourselves to grieve, knowing that God is with us and will comfort us.

Lord, hear my prayer,
    listen to my cry for mercy;
in your faithfulness and righteousness
    come to my relief.

Psalm 143:1, NIV


Spiritually, we must recognize that we will always fall short of God without the blessing of eternal life and repentance of our sins through Jesus Christ. We must start by accepting Him into our hearts as Lord and savior.

However, this does not mean our grief will meet a permanent end. We will find that we constantly fall short and sin, and our mourning will often be perpetual, but it will be important and serve as a reminder that we must strive to do better while accepting that we will never be perfect

It reassures us that even though we may feel alone and lost in our sorrow, we are not forgotten by God. Furthermore, it reminds us that our sorrow will eventually be replaced by joy with Him in heaven. 

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

Romans 14:17, ESV

Physically, this promise can give us the strength to face the pain of loss and to keep going even when we feel like giving up. There are many ways we can apply this verse to our lives. 

For example, when a loved one dies, we can turn to this verse for comfort and assurance that we will be reunited with them one day. We can also use it as a reminder to be kind and compassionate to others who are grieving, knowing that they too are going through a difficult time. By applying the principles in this verse to our lives, we can find hope and healing amid sorrow.

This doesn’t mean that our grief will simply disappear; rather, it means that we will find the strength to get through it. We may not always feel like we are being comforted, but if we trust in Jesus, we can know that he is with us always. 

teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

Matthew 28:20, NKJV

For more on the book of Matthew, please reference our articles here.

This article references verses written from the King James Version (KJV), New International Version (NIV), New Living Translation (NLT), English Standard Version (ESV), and New King James Version (NKJV) translations of the Bible.