Justice for the Poor

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Speak up and judge fairly;
defend the rights of the poor and needy.

Proverbs 31:9

Send us to gather
the Outcast, the Least.
Make us your aids
in the Great Justice Feast.

Hymn 3161 Gracious Creator of Sea and of Land

The Bible of the Poor
or, why God is a Liberal

The Bible contains more than 300 verses on the poor, social justice, and God's deep concern for both. This page contains a wide sample of them, and some reflections.
It's aimed at anyone who takes the Bible seriously. As you read these passages, you will very likely feel a good deal of resistance (possibly at first manifesting itself as indifference). American churches have departed strongly from Biblical values in these areas, and even created a rationalization-- "prosperity theology"-- for rejecting them. It takes time and reflection to get past this misteaching.

But try to get past the resistance. Spiritual growth doesn't come from what goes down easily, or what we like to hear and read. It comes from what's different, and even difficult.

The Bible of the Poor

A Place at the Table
For Everyone Born a Place at the Table
And God will delight when we are creators of Justice, and Joy, Compassion and Peace.
Yes God will delight delight when we are creators of Justice, and Joy, Compassion and Peace.

Justice for the Poor Sojourners

Justice for the Poor Sojourners

Jesus’ life and teaching show a deep compassion toward the poor and marginalized. As Christians, what is our responsibility toward the poor and in advocating justice on their behalf? This six-session Participant’s Guide is meant to be used as a companion to the Justice for the Poor DVD. Together these resources will help your small group or Bible study find ways to take action and respond to poverty in your area and around the world.

“Whoever destroys a soul, it is considered as if he
destroyed an entire world.
And whoever saves a life, it is
considered as if he saved an entire world.

Save a Life, Save the World

What You do for Yourself...
Will be forgotten!
What you do for Others...
Will be Remembered!

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16 He went to Nazareth,(A) where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue,(B) as was his custom. He stood up to read,(C) 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:

The Nazareth Manifesto
The Mission of Jesus Christ

18“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,(D) because he has anointed me to proclaim good news(E) to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”[a](F) 20 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down.(G) The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him.21 He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled(H) in your hearing.”

A. Luke 4:16 : S Mt 2:23
B. Luke 4:16 : Mt 13:54
C. Luke 4:16 : S 1Ti 4:13
D. Luke 4:18 : S Jn 3:34
E.Luke 4:18 : Mk 16:15
F. Luke 4:19 : Lev 25:10; Isa 61:1-3;
Ps 102:20; Psalm 103:6; Isaiah 42:7 ;Isaiah 49:8-9 ;Isaiah 58:6
G. Luke 4:20 : ver 17; S Mt 26:55
H. H.Luke 4:21 : S Mt 1:22

‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did
for one of the least of these
brothers and sisters of mine,
you did for me.’

The Sheep and the Goats

31 “When the Son of Man comes(A) in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne.(B) 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate(C) the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.(D) 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom(E) prepared for you since the creation of the world.(F) 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,(G) 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me,(H) I was sick and you looked after me,(I) I was in prison and you came to visit me.’(J)

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’(K)

4 1 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me,(L) you who are cursed, into the eternal fire(M) prepared for the devil and his angels.(N) 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’(O)

46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.(P)”(Q)

Matthew 25:31-46

Warning to Rich Oppressors

5 Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you. 2 Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. 3 Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days.

4 Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. 5 You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned and murdered the innocent one, who was not opposing you.
- James 5:1-6

Rediscovering Values:
A Book I Didn't Plan to Write
Finding Our Way in the New Economy

I am an Evangelical Christian. What does that mean? In part, I believe that Christmas, the celebration of Christ's birth, is good news. Not just to me or my family or those that think or believe just like me, but for everyone. Last Christmas was tough for many families in our country, and this year will be the same for many more. There are few families that will not be touched in some way by the Great Recession. It might be a relative laid off, a friend's house nearing foreclosure, or uncertainty at your workplace. In the midst of it all, families across the world -- along with Joy and I and our boys -- light Advent candles each night and wait with great anticipation for Christmas morning -- but we also engage in preparation.

Preparation for the good news. Because there is good news. Two thousand years ago, in a land under the rule of foreign occupiers, a baby was born to a virgin to bring hope and give light to a world in desperate need. That fact is still good news today; it's the reason why, in the midst of economic uncertainty, we prepare, we anticipate, and we celebrate. It is because of this hope that I do the work I do and that I write you today.

I have written a new book -- one I didn't expect or plan to write, but one that simply emerged as we were seeking to respond to the economic crisis that has gripped the nation and the world. I wrote it as a tract for the times, and it's titled Rediscovering Values: On Wall Street, Main Street, and Your Street -- A Moral Compass for the New Economy. It will be released by Simon & Schuster in January and is available now for pre-orders.

This recession presents us with an enormous opportunity to rediscover our values -- as people, as families, as communities of faith, and as a nation. It is a moment of decision we dare not pass by. We have forgotten some very important things, and it's time to remember them again. Yes, we do need an economic recovery, but we also need a moral recovery -- on Wall Street, Main Street, and Your Street. And we will need a moral compass for the new economy that is emerging.

The Great Recession that has gripped the world, defined the moment, and captured all of our attention has also revealed a profound values crisis. Just beneath the surface of the economics debate, a deep national reflection is begging to take place and, indeed, has already begun in people's heads, hearts, and conversations. The questions it raises concern our personal, family, and national priorities; our habits of the heart; our measures of success; the values of our families and our children; our spiritual well-being; and the ultimate goals and purposes of life -- including our economic life.

Underneath the public discourse, another conversation is emerging about who and what we want to be -- as individuals, as a nation, and as a human community. By and large, the media has missed the deeper discussion and continues to focus only upon the surface of the crisis. And most of our politicians just want to tell us how soon the crisis can be over. But there are deeper questions here and some fundamental choices to make. That's why this could be a transformational moment -- one of those times that comes around only very occasionally. We don't want to miss this opportunity.

The economic tide going out has not only shown us who was "swimming naked," as Warren Buffett put it, but it has also revealed that no invisible hand behind the curtain is guiding our economy to inevitable success. It is a sobering moment in our lives when we can see our own thoughtlessness, greed, and impatience writ large across the global sky. And it is a good time to start asking better questions.

The book suggests we have been asking the wrong question: "When will this crisis end?" It seeks to replace that with the right question: "How will this crisis change us?" The book is about the moral recovery which must accompany the economic recovery, and suggests that we must not go back to business as usual; rather, we need a new normal. The new book is about the values questions that are at the heart of how we got into this crisis, and are critical to getting us out of it. It describes the maxims that overtook us -- Greed is Good, It's All About Me, and I Want it Now -- values that wreck economies, cultures, families, and even our souls. Instead it calls for a return to new/old virtues like Enough is Enough, We're In It Together, and evaluating our decisions by their impact on the Seventh Generation out.

It also calls for a conversion of our habits of the heart to a clean energy economy, a family values culture, and a new meaning for both work and service. It suggests that, spiritually, the market had become god-like, and that restoring proper worship even means recognizing the limits of the market. The book describes how our many religious traditions contain many valuable correctives to this economic crisis that has spun out of control. It describes how the recent narrative of banks, bailouts, and bonuses has all the makings of a bad morality play. And it ends with 20 "moral exercises" that offer a values audit of our personal, family, community, financial, and social life.

Could there be some good news in, through, and even because of this Great Recession? Maybe so, if it becomes the opportunity to rediscover some important things that we somehow lost, but now might find again.

Jim Wallis is the author of The Great Awakening, Editor-in-Chief of Sojourners and blogs at www.godspolitics.com.

Jim Wallis is a bestselling author, public theologian, speaker, and international commentator on ethics and public life. He recently served on the White House Advisory Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships and currently participates in the Global Agenda Council on Faith of the World Economic Forum. His latest book is Rediscovering Values: On Wall Street, Main Street, and Your Street — A Moral Compass for the New Economy. His two previous books, The Great Awakening: Reviving Faith & Politics in a Post–Religious Right America and God’s Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn’t Get It were both New York Times bestsellers. He is President and CEO of Sojourners; where he is editor-in-chief of Sojourners magazine, whose combined print and electronic media have a readership of more than 250,000 people. Wallis frequently speaks in the United States and abroad. His columns appear in major newspapers, including The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and Boston Globe. He frequently appears on radio and television.

CEV Poverty & Justice Bible - American Bible Society
Highlighting more than 2000 verses that wake us up to issues of poverty and justice.

Click here to Look Inside the Book

The Poverty and Justice Bible is your guide to explore God’s messages and challenges regarding the poor. Backed by social justice campaigners including World Vision and other leading organizations, The Poverty and Justice Bible gives you:

Clear and accessible CEV text Highlighted verses to clarify your understanding of God’s passion for social justice.

A unique 56-page study guide to support your individual research and group discussion.

Practical suggestions on how you can make a difference in the lives of the poor and the oppressed.

Quotes from Dr. Martin Luther King on Justice, Hate, Love, and Non-Violence by Bible Basics... Layers of Understanding. Tribute to the Life and Death of Dr. Martin Luther King.

The Movie

What is Wrong With This World...
and What Can We Do About It?

comes something completely different!

I AM is an utterly engaging and entertaining non-fiction film that poses two practical and provocative questions: what’s wrong with our world, and what can we do to make it better? The filmmaker behind the inquiry is Tom Shadyac, one of Hollywood’s leading comedy practitioners and the creative force behind such blockbusters as “Ace Ventura,” “Liar Liar,” “The Nutty Professor,” and “Bruce Almighty.” However, in I AM, Shadyac steps in front of the camera to recount what happened to him after a cycling accident left him incapacitated, possibly for good. Though he ultimately recovered, he emerged with a new sense of purpose, determined to share his own awakening to his prior life of excess and greed, and to investigate how he as an individual, and we as a race, could improve the way we live and walk in the world.

Justice for the Poor

Worship by those who neglect the poor
is offensive to God!

...And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly
with your God.

Micah 6:8

We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak
and not to please ourselves.
Each of us should please his neighbor for his good,
to build him up.

Romans 15:1-2

If anyone has material possessions
and sees his brother in need
but has no pity on him,
how can the love of God be in him?
Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue
but with actions and in truth.

1 John 3:17-18

Do not say to your neighbor,
"Come back later; I'll give it tomorrow"—
when you now have it with you.
Proverbs 3:27-28

'I tell you the truth,
whatever you did for one of the least
of these brothers of mine,
you did for me.'

Matthew 25:40

The Greatest Commandment given to us by Jesus Christ is:
The entire law is summed up
in a single command:
"Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Galatians 5:14

9 Anyone who claims to be in the light
but hates a brother or sister
is still in the darkness.
10 Anyone who loves their brother and sister
lives in the light,
and there is nothing in them to make them stumble.
11 But anyone who hates a brother or sister
is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness.
They do not know where they are going,
because the darkness has blinded them.

1 John 2:9-11

For additional scripture on "Justice for the Poor" and Commentary please go to

The Bible of the Poor

Political Commentary

The Rich and Powerful
believe their wealth and status
qualifies them to sit in judgement
of the poor
rather than to assist them.

“The world is a dangerous place to live;
not because of the people who are evil,
but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.”

`Albert Einstein

"The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness."
~John Kenneth Galbraith

Dear Lord, Purify Our Intentions
and Deepen Our Commitment.

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