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. Lorita West says:

    Thank you for explaining the answer so well.

  2. Amy Miller says:

    Thank you for clarifying this verse. I was reading earlier and wanted to be sure I knew and understood his word.
    Thank you!!

  3. Alejandro Morante says:

    In another set of holy scripture it reads: “Blessed are the poor in spirit who come unto me, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” I love the depth and clarity it gives, it is surely not good to be poor in spirit alone, but to be humble enough to recognize it AND come unto Him, then we are blessed, and then are the promises ours.

  4. nimi says:

    This was very helpful. I was really confused with the word poor, but now I’ve replaced it with humble and the puzzle is fixed. Thanks.

  5. Lourdes Mendoza says:

    We are so blessed to have people who help us to understand the Word of God.

  6. Godfred asamoah agyemang says:

    It’s very helpful and understanding.

  7. KathyWeischwill says:

    Thank you for this information. It was very helpful!

  8. William E Dewberry says:

    You are correct in my estimation Only the poor in spirit seek Christ in the right way.

  9. Ject N Tarley Jr says:

    Thank you for taking the time explaining the scripture for our better understanding may God bless your hard work.