Blessed are the Poor in Spirit

Anyone can talk about the physical nature of mankind. When a person is sick, they may need rest, fasting and then proper nutrition; and in some cases, a doctor. But how do we explain the spirit of happiness and joy to someone struggling emotionally and spiritually? What medicine can we offer someone with a broken spirit without diverting to pharmacological alternatives such as SSRI’s which are known to increase depressions and thoughts of suicide? All too often, this is the modern medical answer for social anxieties, depression and mood disorders: “I’ll write you a prescription for that”.

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As a Christian and long-time student of the bible, and a man who has overcome great personal struggles without pharmacology, I believe the answer is faith. Faith, combined with an accurate understanding of what is taking place on planet earth and how we all came to be in this chaotic world. Understanding the true nature of our existence is the answer to healing a broken spirit.

Think of the sentence, “blessed are the poor in spirit” (Mat 5:3) Take a moment to visualize what it means to be “poor in spirit”.

It wasn’t until I started researching the scriptures for myself that I began to realize how much more the bible has to offer us than we are led to believe.

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What could this passage of scripture be talking about?

Despite what some pastors, priests and prosperity teachers would have you believe, it is in fact a good thing to ask questions and seek the truth for yourself.

If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31-32)

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I am asking the reader to think about this logically, putting aside any preconceived notions they may have. In uncovering what I believe is the original context of this passage, we need to first discuss the two obvious conclusions the Christian world portrays in the various versions of the Bible when referring to Matthew 5:3.

The first is: the financially poor are blessed in spirit.

The second is: those who are “poor in spirit” are blessed.

Have you ever noticed how adding punctuation can completely change the structure of a sentence?

The first view says, “Blessed are the poor, (insert a comma) in spirit…” In other words, “you may be poor, financially, but you are blessed in spirit. For yours is the Kingdom of Heaven.”

But is that it? Is not having any money the only qualification to enter the Kingdom of Heaven? Does the word “poor” in this passage only mean lacking money as we understand it in the English language, i.e. financially poor?

It is true, the Lord Jesus had a great love for the poor – those who suffer and had no money were often visited by Jesus during the time of His ministry.

Mat 6:1-4 tells us to give to the poor in secret, not like the hypocrites who proclaim their giving for others to see. This is true, but are all poor people blessed by the very circumstance of being poor?

The second view says, those who are spiritually poor (or poor in spirit) are blessed.

Are the spiritually bummed out souls the truly blessed ones? Will those who are “poor in spirit” be blessed while those who are rich in spirit be shunned? It doesn’t make any sense the way it reads in English. I know I’ve never felt “blessed” being poor in spirit, have you? Being poor in spirit lead me to nearly unintentionally killing myself [through the rebellion of my youth]. How is that blessed? This fact is evident to any thinking person who studies this passage.

Consider even the atheist who willingly shuns the Lord Jesus Christ. The atheist can be bummed out, poor, depressed or spiritually downtrodden. Is this Christ bashing atheist blessed simply because he has no money? Is this man who willingly rejects the Christ “blessed” because he is “spiritually poor”?

Just what does it mean to say the “poor” are blessed in Spirit, or blessed are the “poor in spirit”?

Whichever way you look at it, there is something about this passage that just doesn’t make any sense.

You see, the English Language is a very unique and odd language. Much like how a garbage disposal has an odd smell. Many different types of food (languages) all minced together into tiny pieces before it gets watered down…

I’m sure you’re aware of this fact by now, but it bears repeating. When the books of the Bible were written, the English language did not yet exist. Certainly not as we know it today – if at all [[i]]. The bottom line is, the Bible was not written in English and common folk (especially Western Christianity) need to come to a hard realization of this fact. Being ignorant of the Holy Bible and its linguistic origins can easily lead to the masses being deceived – whether knowingly or unknowingly – by many modern preachers and so it would appear, by Satan himself (2 Tim 4:3-4).

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Could it be, the Fathers desire is to show us so much more, if only we would take the time to listen and to wonder and to seek the truth?

What a more fulfilling life we could all have if we would simply put our religious dogma aside and seek Him in our personal lives. Not just sitting and listening to a preacher’s sermon or a faith-based TV/radio program, but rather, studying the scriptures for ourselves.

We believers did not always have the luxury of scripture availability in such abundance as we do today. Our Christian luxury of biblical text availability is a fairly new blessing. Many students of the Bible believe this is a sign of the end times we are now living in. The gospel will be “published” (Mark 13:10) as well as “preached” (Mat 24:14) in all nations a short time before the Lord returns in power and great glory (Mat 24:30).

Did you know the Bible is the most published book of all time? Unfortunately, it would appear the Christian world is squandering this blessing in many cases by never opening the Bible for themselves. What a shame.

Now, this is important. It is not necessarily the bible that is flawed to this degree. Not at all! It is the English language and the way we interpret it with our modern vernacular which is flawed. Again, we must be willing to seek Him and study the origins of these ancient writings. It takes a conscious effort on our part to divide the word of truth (1 Thes 5:21, 2 Tim 2:15), as well as using some good-old-fashion common sense – a trait not common in modern western cultures.

People are hypnotically content in believing what they already know… This is not wise. The English language has convoluted the context of a deeper understanding all throughout the Bible, and its history. This example in Matthew 5 is no exception. Subtle, yes. But it’s concealing something. What? In this book, I will show you how the bible often has much more to offer us than a “poor” word at a passing glance.

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And much, much more… see the chapters page for more details.

To read the full chapter, please consider purchasing the book (click here) or request a free copy by emailing Philip directly at philipjwalls@gmail.com


[i] A detailed explanation can be found at http://www.thehistoryofenglish.com/

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