What does the Bible say about giving to the poor?

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The Bible definitely supports the principle of giving to the poor. God promised, “Blessed is he who considers the poor; the LORD will deliver him in time of trouble.” (Psalm 41:1). God delights when His children are a blessing to others and use the means within their reach to do good to others, especially those who cannot give anything in return (Acts 20:35).

Giving to the poor is summed up in the golden rule taught by Jesus, “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets” (Matthew 7:12).

Jesus also taught that His children should be generous “Give to everyone who asks you for something. Don’t turn anyone away who wants to borrow something from you” (Matthew 5:42). And He added, “He that hath two coats, let him impart to him” (Luke 3:10-11).

The disciples also followed the example of Jesus for Paul taught, “Supply the needs of the saints. Extend hospitality to strangers” (Romans 12:13). And He exhorted the early believers saying, “Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God” (Hebrews 13:16); and to “give generously to others in need” (Ephesians 4:27-28).

The Bible is very clear that doing good to the poor is more than just words and offering prayer, but putting our faith into action. “What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?” (James 2:14-16). Blessing others glorifies God (Matthew 5:16).

The Bible also gives guidelines to giving so that no one will take advantage of the generosity of the believers. The believers should not encourage laziness by their support for “He who does not work does not eat” (2 Thessalonians 3:10). And giving to the poor should not be at the cost of neglecting one’s own family needs (1 Timothy 5:8). However, if we know there is good that we can do and choose to ignore it, then that would be sin (James 4:17).

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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