By   •   September 1, 2004


What does it mean to be poor in spirit, as Jesus said we ought to be? I don't understand this, because it seems to me that we ought to strive to be rich in spirit, not poor. Or am I missing the point?


Your confusion is understandable; after all, the Bible does warn us against being empty and impoverished in our souls, and urges us to seek spiritual riches instead. Jesus said, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21).

But Jesus also said that there is another kind of spiritual poverty—one we should seek. He said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3). What did He mean? Simply this: We must be humble in our spirits. If you put the word “humble” in place of the word “poor,” you will understand what He meant.

In other words, when we come to God, we must realize our own sin and our spiritual emptiness and poverty. We must not be self-satisfied or proud in our hearts, thinking we don’t really need God. If we are, God cannot bless us. The Bible says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6).

Pride can take all kinds of forms, but the worst is spiritual pride. Often the richer we are in things, the poorer we are in our hearts. Have you faced your own need of Christ? Do you realize that you are a sinner and need God’s forgiveness? Don’t let pride or anything else get in the way, but turn to Christ in humility and faith—and He will bless you and save you.

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  1. Rebecca Yatukinga says:

    thank you so much for the clarification, i too was confused by the meaning of “poor” in this verse.
    am blessed and edified by the explanation.
    God Bless you

  2. Samuel Henaku says:

    Good revelation. I now understand that it’s about humility. Thank you.

  3. Ephry David says:

    I am blessed by it

  4. Monah says:

    This has been extremely helpful. I always wondered about the meaning of this verse of scripture but never looked deeper into it. Now, I m glad I did because I have new insight. I am always bless by the Billy Graham Ministry and thank God for the work that is being done in the life of thousand of souls.