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What does the Bible say about poverty?

The Bible talks about the importance of giving to the poor and needy

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The Tyndale Bible; circa 1526.

The Tyndale Bible, circa 1526.

Museum of Idaho

The Bible contains many stories and sets of instructions that advise believers on how to approach poverty and inform beliefs of their obligations to the poor. Here are some of the verses and the stories that you can read for guidance.

What does the Bible say about giving to the poor?

The Bible instructs believers to give generously to the poor.

Old Testament verses about giving to the poor

  • Deuteronomy 15:11 features God commanding the Israelites to be generous in giving. “Since there will never cease to be some in need on the earth, I therefore command you, ‘Open your hand to the poor and needy neighbor in your land.’”
  • Isaiah 1:17 reminds believers that they should learn to do good to those who are in need.
  • When someone around you becomes poor, Leviticus 25:35-38 instructs you to take them in and take care of them. These verses also remind the reader to not make money off of the person who is in need and to not “provide them food at a profit.”

New Testament verses about giving to the poor

  • In Luke 18, a rich ruler asks Jesus how he can inherit eternal life. Jesus responds that the ruler needs to sell everything and give to the poor. He states that this is what the ruler lacks even though the ruler has followed all other commandments.
  • In the parable of the sheep and the goats in Matthew 25, Jesus says that giving to the poor is one of the attributes he will look at when judging who will be in heaven and who will not be.
  • Luke 4 contains Jesus’ mission statement about his ministry and, quoting Isaiah, he says that he is to “bring good news to the poor.”