Q. Thank you for your wonderful ministry! I have always been confused by the Beatitude which states, “Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”. What exactly does “poor in spirit” mean? I have been told it stands for the righteous, but I would like your clarifying interpretation.
A. The best word to describe the phrase “poor in spirit” from Matt. 5:3 is humble. It’s the opposite of being proud or self centered. The Greek word means to be destitute of wealth, influence, position or honor. In other words with nothing to commend oneself. It describes how we should think of ourselves when we come into the presence of the Lord.
Paul gave us a good example of this. In Phil 2:5-8 he wrote that while Jesus really was God in human form, He didn’t go around acting like He was God. Instead He humbled himself and became an obedient servant of God. He became poor in spirit.
Our sin nature wants us to be self reliant, self centered, and self promoting. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self control (Galatians 5:22-23).