There is quite a debate among translators over the word makarios, which is found throughout the Greek text of the Bible. Some say it should be translated as blessed, while others say happy.
We actually decided to always translate it as blest – an older spelling of the word blessed, chosen to get rid of the annoying pronunciation of ‘bles-sed.’
Why have we settled on blest rather than happy?
Well, according to Zodhiates’ Complete Word Study Dictionary, the word should never have been translated as happy, as is done in some other Bibles, because happy is derived from the words happen, happening, or happenstance (luck). Why does that matter? Well, when someone receives a reward from God, this is a blessing. However, happiness can come from any source of good luck or fortune.
Therefore, in his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus wasn’t telling his listeners about things that would simply make them happier. Rather, he was speaking of the blessings they would receive if they became his followers.
Note that in Aramaic, there is no debate, as every English translation says ‘blessed’.