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God and the Poor


... in certain key passages, so that it means simply 'sinner.' ( Chilton? ... Both 'sinner' and 'pauper' are aspects of 'poor' in the biblical concept, but to ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: God and the Poor

God and the Poor
  • A Brief Biblical Theology of Poverty

The Battle Over Poverty
  • R. Sider, Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger
  • God is on the side of the poor
  • Christians ought to be on the side of the poor
  • Christians ought to advocate for poor-friendly
    government policies (welfare, Social Security)
  • Christians ought to be personally sacrificial in
    giving to the poor/volunteering to care for poor
  • Emphasizes poverty as a corporate or
    institutional problem
  • To his credit, Ron Sider practices what he
    preaches in Philadelphia

The Battle over Poverty
  • D. Chilton, Productive Christians in an Age of
    Guilt Manipulation
  • Reconstructionist
  • Christians ought to be unashamedly productive,
    and thereby become rich (Gods blessing)
  • The poor are poor because they are either (1)
    lazy, or (2) practice false religions
  • Emphasizes poverty as an individual problem
  • Wont entirely resolve this debate today!

Poor in the Bible
  • What does God say about the poor in Scripture?
  • Understand each text in redemptive-historical
    context not flat reading
  • Christs coming fulfills and transforms OT
    teaching (Matthew 517-20 Luke 24)
  • Flesh it out in a future, more extensive study

OT Teaching
  • God is scandalized by poverty and wills its
    abolition (Dt. 154-5, 7-8)
  • God stands up for the poor (Pr. 1323 countless
  • God identifies with the poor (Pr. 1917 1431)
  • God blesses those who do good to the poor (Pr.
    1917 Dt. 1510)
  • God despises laziness (Pr. 2433-34 many others!)

Riches and Blessing in OT
  • Does God bless obedience with wealth? 2 streams
    of thought
  • Gods blesses obedience with abundance (Dt.
    281-5) and curses disobedience with oppression
    (Dt. 2815-19)
  • The righteous suffer, while the wicked prosper
    (Job Ps. 731-9) poor oppressed victims of
  • These are both true at the same time!

Hope for the poor in OT
  • God is the hope of the poor Ps 125
  • God is refuge, strength, etc for poor Is 254
  • Ultimate salvation for poor, though, awaits Gods
    Servant-King, the Messiah, Is 114
  • but with righteousness he shall judge the
    poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the
    earth and he shall strike the earth with the rod
    of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he
    shall kill the wicked.
  • Is that your hope?

Poor in the NT
  • In Christ the hope of the poor is fulfilled, Lk.
  • Gods concern for poor is heightened in New
    Testament (Mk 1017-22 Ja 215-16 1 Jn 317)
  • Some spiritualize the concept poor in certain
    key passages, so that it means simply sinner.
  • Others materialize or politicize the concept of
    poor so that it means only the abject poor,
    paupers who are dispossessed because of political
    or economic oppression. (Sider?)
  • Both sinner and pauper are aspects of poor
    in the biblical concept, but to make either the
    exclusive meaning is to obscure the biblical

Parable of the Great Banquet
  • Lk. 1421 In response to the excuses of those
    invited to the banquet, the master of the house
    became angry and said to his servant, Go out
    quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and
    bring in the poor and crippled and blind and
  • Jesus point, vv. 12-14 When you give a dinner
    or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your
    brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors,
    lest they also invite you in return and you be
    repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the
    poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you
    will be blessed, because they cannot repay you.
    You will be repaid at the resurrection of the

In Church, Dt 15 is fulfilled
  • Dt. 154-5 But there will be no poor among you
    for the Lord will bless you in the land that the
    Lord your God is giving you for an inheritance to
    possessif only you will strictly obey the voice
    of the Lord your God, being careful to do all
    this commandment that I command you today.
  • But, v. 11 For there will never cease to be poor
    in the land. Therefore I command you, You shall
    open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy
    and to the poor, in your land.
  • What gives?

In Church, Dt 15 is fulfilled
  • In the OT, Gods people did not keep covenant
  • Acts 434-35 (Dt. 15 fulfilled in the Jerusalem
    church) There was not a needy person among
    them, for as many as were owners of lands or
    houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what
    was sold and laid it at the apostles feet, and
    it was distributed to each as any had need.
  • What would unbelievers say to that today??

Caution Laziness!
  • Gods concern for the poor is intensified in NT
    so is his concern for laziness in the church!
  • Eph 428 Let the thief no longer steal, but
    rather let him labor, doing honest work with his
    own hands, so that he may have something to share
    with anyone in need.
  • 2 Th 36-12esp. v.10 For even when we were with
    you, we would give you this command If anyone is
    not willing to work, let him not eat.
  • Paul urges excommunication for the idle!

Why be concerned for the poor?
  • Because we were poor without Christ!
  • Ja 25
  • 2 Co 89
  • 1 Co 47
  • 1 Co 126-29
  • God did not save us because we deserved it!
  • We ought to extend help to the poor the same
    way God extended salvation to us!
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