Poor In Spirit

Q. The Word says, “Be ye filled with the Spirit” and “walk in the Spirit.” So I’m not sure what it means in Matthew 5, “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Can you enlighten me?

A. Matt. 5:3 says,

“Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

When the word spirit is in the lower case, as it is in Matt. 5:3, it refers to our human spirit not the Holy Spirit. To be poor in spirit means to be destitute of wealth, influence, position, or honor. The Greek word comes from two others that mean to crouch down and be prostrate. Think of the lowliest subject who finds himself in the presence a mighty king and you’ll get the idea.

This doesn’t mean that every poor person goes to Heaven, but that the Kingdom was made with them in mind. I think the Lord said this in part to counteract the common belief of the day that wealth was a reward for righteousness. If that was true, and it wasn’t, it would mean that the Kingdom of Heaven would be populated mostly by wealthy people. Later, as if to confirm His point, Jesus compared the difficulty of a rich man entering the kingdom to the difficulty of a camel going through the eye of a needle (Matt. 19:24).

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