The Bible has much to say about the poor. Here are eight eye-opening reminders from the New Testament on God’s views of the poor.
1. The poor are “blessed”
Luke 6:20-21 – And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied. “Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.”
2. Jesus’ message was designed for the poor
During a return to his boyhood home of Nazareth, Jesus went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and read from the ancient Hebrew scrolls. During one particular visit, Jesus was given the scroll of the prophet Isaiah. After unrolling the scroll, He specifically focused on this passage:
Luke 4:18,19 – “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
3. We bless Jesus by blessing the poor.
Mark 14:7 – Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?… And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’
4. We receive eternal blessings when we help the poor.
Luke 14:13,14 – “But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”
Luke 6:33-36 – And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.
5. Poverty will never end under man’s rule
John 12:8 – You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”
6. The poor are the Christian’s responsibility.
Matthew 5:42 – Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.
Luke 3:11 – He replied to them, “The one who has two shirts must share with someone who has none, and the one who has food must do the same.” (HCSB)
Romans 12:13 – Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.
7. Praying for the poor is not enough.
James 2:15-17 – If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
8. Those who ignore the poor despise God.
1 John 3:17 – But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?
* All verses taken from the English Standard Version (ESV), unless otherwise stated.