Blessed are the poor in Spirit
Up Next


The eight verses of Matthew 5:3-10 have been described by Billy Graham as eight beautiful attitudes. They are more commonly known as the beatitudes.

setting: Matthew 5:1-2 Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them, saying:.

When Jesus sat down he was announcing to the crowd that he had authority to teach. The rabbis would sit in the temple when they prepared to teach the people. The words following verses 1-2 were not the usual teaching the people were accustomed to. On the contrary, it was extraordinary. Matthew 7:28-29 When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law. His teaching was different. It was life-challenging and life-changing.

Matthew 5:3 "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Nicky Gumbel: "The Greek word for 'blessed', which appears nine times in the first eleven verses, conveys the idea of happiness, but it means far more than that. Happiness is a subjective feeling. The word used by Jesus means 'blessed by God', or 'receiving God's favour'."

Nicky Gumbel: "There are two Greek words for 'poor'. One means 'lacking in wealth' and therefore needing to work. The other, which is used here, means to be in such a desperate state of abject poverty as to be dependent on others for support."

John Calvin: "Many are pressed down by distresses, and yet continue to swell inwardly with pride and cruelty. But Christ pronounces those to be happy who, chastened and subdued by afflictions, submit themselves wholly to God, and, with inward humility, betake themselves to him for protection."

Matthew Henry also emphasizes humility is describing the 'poor in spirit'.

- directions: read the passage out loud in the group and use questions to generate discussion -


- use the following or make up your own -

What does 'blessed' mean?

What does is mean to be 'poor in spirit'?

What is the kingdom of heaven?

When have you ever been 'poor in spirit'?

What difference does it make to know about the kingdom of heaven?