Poor in spirit

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The "poor in spirit" is a phrase that appears in Matthew 5:3, translated by "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (NIV). The phrase appears nowhere else in the Bible.

Scholars and clergy have debated ever since what Jesus meant by it. An example of an attempt to explain it is as follows:[1]

The "poor in spirit" were people who felt undeserving and little. They would not have imagined great things coming to them, nor would they have hoped or dreamed of a better life.

The phrase suggests a humility, and the attitude of someone who most appreciate an unexpected, tremendous gift.


  1. The Poor in Spirit