Blessed are the poor in spirit (Matthew 5:3)

Mat 5:3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Introduction
Story of Buddhist monk and arrogant student.
The relation of heaven to the heart.
David's confession Ps. 51
Various Interpretations: Economically poor, realization of one's inability

Gospel preached to the poor. Lk 4. 18, Mt. 11. 5
Difficult for rich to enter heaven. Mt. 19. 23; Lk. 18. 24

Barnes: Riches produce care, anxiety, and dangers, and not the least is the danger of losing heaven by them.

Clarke: Poor in spirit - One who is deeply sensible of his spiritual poverty and wretchedness. Πτωχος, a poor man, comes from πτωσσω, to tremble, or shrink with fear. Being destitute of the true riches, he is tremblingly alive to the necessities of his soul, shrinking with fear lest he should perish without the salvation of God. Such Christ pronounces happy, because there is but a step between them and that kingdom which is here promised.

Lk. 6. 20. Blessed are you, speaking to those following Christ, though poor by worldly standards now, for yours is the kingdom of God.

Cp. Lk 6: 24. But woe unto you that are rich, for you have received your consolation.

Note: Jesus is talking to the disciples.

Definition: Encarta - Poverty, economic condition in which people lack sufficient income to obtain certain minimal levels of health services, food, housing, clothing, and education generally recognized as necessary to ensure an adequate standard of living. What is considered adequate, however, depends on the average standard of living in a particular society.

Differentiating between Relative Poverty and Absolute Poverty, between the comparatively poor and the destitute.

Causes: Lower-than-average-ability to earn income: elderly, people with disabilities, single mothers, members of minority groups, lack of educational opportunity, low level of economic development.

The Marxists have accused Christianity & religion in general as promoting poverty among the labour classes by giving them a hope of heaven, while the rich go on becoming richer.

Marx called religion the opiate of the people that dulled their senses against the prospect of material development.

Questions: What are the real causes of poverty and is poverty promoted by the Scriptures?
Clearly, Jesus is not promoting poverty but is only stating that the poverty of the believers is not an unfortunate situation, for the ultimate destiny is heaven, though the pilgrimage is tough. 1 Tim. 6. 7, 8, 9; Ecclesiastes 5. 12; Jas 2. 5 (poor economically but rich in faith); Jas 5. 1

 

Domenic Marbaniang, 2006
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