An Examination of the Biblical Dialogue on Poverty and the Poor

International Journal of Research and Innovation in Social Science (IJRISS) | Volume II, Issue X, October 2018 | ISSN 2454–6186

An Examination of the Biblical Dialogue on Poverty and the Poor

Rev. Dr. Manya Wandefu Stephen

Alupe University College, Kenya

Abstract: – Poverty and presentations of such situations have been differently and at times adversely exegeted; bringing into question the biblical hermeneutics that Christians the world over subscribe to. The many interpretations have brought out varied perception and attitudes within the Christendom. Christians and none Christians alike of different persuasions; including socialists, anthropologists, economists, psychologists and most of all theologians, have come up with several convictions to the question, ‘why poverty?’ However, one may wonder, what the bible and bible traditions have to say about poverty. This paper carefully examines the biblical dialogue on poverty. poverty – difficult to define. To me, these are just but different shades of expression of the same concept. They are but lines that people draw concerning wanting situations that the poor people find themselves in.

Key terms: – Poor, The poor, Interpretation, Religion, Christian faith, Hermeneutics

I. INTRODUCTION

At the heartbeat of God are the poor; He speaks passionately about them. In fact the inaugural speech of Jesus in the famous Jerusalem synagogue had the poor featuring prominently; the physically and spiritually poor as well. It seems to me that what God is saying is that poverty is by no means a curse, though it may occur as the curse aftermath. As such the poor should not necessarily be perceived as a cursed lot, as some have alleged before. On many occasions the poor have been the invisible part of our community; the forgotten ones, those whose presence excites no one, they are of no use except to be called upon for wage earning, which in some cases they don’t enjoy altogether. They are therefore disadvantaged and suffering, they carry the pain of the world. God is however the God of the poor and hence he hears their cry, instructs the church to attend to their needs, and that He blesses those who love and attend to their cause (Ex 3: 9).

In the Holy Scriptures, God has spoken to us in many ways about the poor and poverty. God provides a clear identification of who they are, their needs and the cure for such needs. Our attitudes as the neighbours and those who interact with the poor is spelt out and above everything else what God thinks about the poor and poverty is outlined. It must be remembered that poor are God’s creation and are as important to him as the rest of the creation. Although we often forget about injustice and the suffering that emanates from poverty, it is evident from the bible that the poor are always in God’s mind.

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