By   •   September 1, 2004   •   Topics:


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. Blessings Ng'oma says:

    this is great and powerful

  2. Amber Gilmore says:

    Thank you! For explaing what it means to be poor in spirit, I really appreciate your hard work and dedication towards your ministry in delivering the gospel.

  3. Arnett Lavow says:

    Thanks . Great answer. It is awesome to have information at your fingertips. Especially when it’s about the word of God.

    1. Blessings Ng'oma says:

      that’s true dear

  4. Marcia Hibbler says:

    Dear Pastor Graham,
    Thank you for the explanation of “poor in spirit”. I trust your site for truthful information. I grew up watching you on television. (even though I was raised Catholic) I am no longer a Catholic. Your bible teachings led me to a more personal walk with Jesus. I was so amazed to find out that I could do this.
    Reading the Bible led me even closer to God and being saved. I love your preaching of the word.
    May God continue to bless your ministry.

    Marcia Hibbler

  5. Ross bishop says:

    Thank you!