Matthew 5:3

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.  Matthew 5:3

Outline of the text

Blessed are the

poor

in spirit

for theirs is

the kingdom of heaven

Word Study

Blessed (various translations): blessed, happy, happy in spirit and attitude, spiritually prosperous; spiritually prosperous, happy, to be admired

Greek word (makarios):  blessed; happy; supremely blessed; fortunate, well off; one who has been fully satisfied by God, satisfied by being indwelt by Christ–not one who is happy because of circumstances; happy, to be envied, and spiritually prosperous—with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions

English word (blessed): enjoying happiness or bliss; favored with blessings; happy; highly favored; enjoying, or pertaining to, spiritual happiness, or heavenly felicity; as, the blessed in heaven.

The word blessed, in the beatitudes, is an adjectival noun: it could be written as “the blessed”.  This indicates that those who are blessed by God (with salvation) exhibit the subsequent character traits, not that God blesses those who exhibit the traits.

Poor in spirit (various translations): poor in spirit; destitute in spirit; dependent for support on the Spirit; destitute and helpless in the realm of the spirit; spiritual poverty; humble minded; those who realize their need for God

Greek word translated poor (pthochos): reduced to beggary, begging, asking alms; lowly, afflicted, destitute; helpless, powerless; poor, needy; a pauper; one who crouches and cowers; not someone who has little, but someone who has nothing at all

Related Hebrew word meanings: in want, needy, poor, subject to oppression and abuse, needing help, needing deliverance from trouble; stripped, destitute; low, poor, weak, thin, one who is low; hapless, unfortunate; small, insignificant, unimportant

A person who is truly blessed by God is a person who realizes that they have absolutely nothing of value to give or bring to God.  They recognize their total obligation to God and yet their total inability to meet the obligation, because all they are, do , and have are tainted by sin and thus are worthless. They are in a state of spiritual beggary and can only petition God for mercy and grace.  All men are in this state of utter poverty.  Only those blessed by God understand that this is their state. This verse requires much meditation. As Solomon says, it is better to be in the house of mourning rather than mirth.