The following is every verse I could quickly think of regarding poverty and wealth in the Bible. Let's call this a living post. If you have a verse to add, please email disembodied beard at gmail dot com and I'll be happy to add it. I will also list all contributors and any information you'd like linked at the end of the post. All excerpts below come from the Common English Bible.
Old Testament/Hebrew Bible
- Exodus 22:21-27 – "Don’t mistreat or oppress an immigrant, because you were once immigrants in the land of Egypt. Don’t treat any widow or orphan badly. If you do treat them badly and they cry out to me, you can be sure that I’ll hear their cry. I’ll be furious, and I’ll kill you with the sword. Then your wives will be widows, and your children will be orphans. If you lend money to my people who are poor among you, don’t be a creditor and charge them interest. If you take a piece of clothing from someone as a security deposit, you should return it before the sun goes down. His clothing may well be his only blanket to cover himself. What else will that person have to sleep in? And if he cries out to me, I’ll listen, because I’m compassionate."
- Leviticus 19:15 – You must not act unjustly in a legal case. Do not show favoritism to the poor or deference to the great; you must judge your fellow Israelites fairly.
- Leviticus 35:35-43 – "If one of your fellow Israelites faces financial difficulty and is in a shaky situation with you, you must assist them as you would an immigrant or foreign guest so that they can survive among you. Do not take interest from them, or any kind of profit from interest, but fear your God so that your fellow Israelite can survive among you. Do not lend a poor Israelite money with interest or lend food at a profit. I am the Lord your God, who brought you out from the land of Egypt to give you Canaan’s land and to be your God. If one of your fellow Israelites faces financial difficulty with you and sells themselves to you, you must not make him work as a slave. Instead, they will be like a hired laborer or foreign guest to you. They will work for you until the Jubilee year, at which point the poor Israelite along with their children will be released from you. They can return to their extended family and to their family property. You must do this because these people are my servants—I brought them out of Egypt’s land. They must not be sold as slaves. You will not harshly rule over them but must fear your God."
- Deuteronomy 15:7-10 – Now if there are some poor persons among you, say one of your fellow Israelites in one of your cities in the land that the Lord your God is giving you, don’t be hard-hearted or tightfisted toward your poor fellow Israelites. To the contrary! Open your hand wide to them. You must generously lend them whatever they need. But watch yourself! Make sure no wicked thought crosses your mind, such as, The seventh year is coming—the year of debt cancellation—so that you resent your poor fellow Israelites and don’t give them anything. If you do that, they will cry out to the Lord against you, and you will be guilty of sin. No, give generously to needy persons. Don’t resent giving to them because it is this very thing that will lead to the Lord your God’s blessing you in all you do and work at.
- Hannah's Song, 1 Samuel 2:8-9 – God raises the poor from the dust, lifts up the needy from the garbage pile. God sits them with officials, gives them the seat of honor! The pillars of the earth belong to the Lord; he set the world on top of them! God guards the feet of his faithful ones, but the wicked die in darkness because no one succeeds by strength alone.
- Psalms 140:12 – I know that the Lord will take up the case of the poor and will do what is right for the needy.
- Proverbs 14:31 – Those who exploit the powerless anger their maker, while those who are kind to the poor honor God.
- Proverbs 15:17 – Better a meal of greens with love than a plump calf with hate."
- Proverbs 19:17 – Those who are gracious to the poor lend to the Lord, and the Lord will fully repay them.
- Proverbs 25:21 If your enemies are starving, feed them some bread; if they are thirsty, give them water to drink."
- Proverbs 22:9 – Happy are generous people, because they give some of their food to the poor.
- Proverbs 29:7 – The righteous know the rights of the poor, but the wicked don’t understand.
- Proverbs 31:8 – Speak out on behalf of the voiceless, and for the rights of all who are vulnerable.
- Isaiah 3:14-15 – The Lord will enter into judgment with the elders and princes of his people: You yourselves have devoured the vineyard; the goods stolen from the poor are in your houses. How dare you crush my people and grind the faces of the poor? says the Lord God of heavenly forces.
- Isaiah 10:1-3 – Doom to those who pronounce wicked decrees, and keep writing harmful laws to deprive the needy of their rights and to rob the poor among my people of justice; to make widows their loot; to steal from orphans! What will you do on the day of punishment when disaster comes from far away? To whom will you flee for help; where will you stash your wealth?
- Isaiah 25:4 – You have been a refuge for the poor, a refuge for the needy in distress, a hiding place from the storm, a shade from the heat. When the breath of tyrants is like a winter storm.
- Isaiah 41:17 – The poor and the needy seek water, and there is none; their tongues are parched with thirst. I, the Lord, will respond to them; I, the God of Israel, won’t abandon them.
- Isaiah 58:7 – Isn’t it sharing your bread with the hungry and bringing the homeless poor into your house, covering the naked when you see them, and not hiding from your own family?
- Isaiah 58:10 – if you open your heart to the hungry, and provide abundantly for those who are afflicted, your light will shine in the darkness, and your gloom will be like the noon.
- Jeremiah 5:26-29 – Criminals are found among my people; they set traps to catch people, like hunters lying in wait. Like a cage full of birds, so their houses are full of loot. No wonder they are rich and powerful and have grown fat and sleek! To be sure, their evil deeds exceed all limits, and yet they prosper. They are indifferent to the plight of the orphan, reluctant to defend the rights of the poor. Shouldn’t I punish such acts? declares the Lord. Shouldn’t I repay that nation for its deeds?
- Jeremiah 7:5-7 – No, if you truly reform your ways and your actions; if you treat each other justly; if you stop taking advantage of the immigrant, orphan, or widow; if you don’t shed the blood of the innocent in this place, or go after other gods to your own ruin, only then will I dwell with you in this place, in the land that I gave long ago to your ancestors for all time.
- Jeremiah 22:3 – The Lord proclaims: Do what is just and right; rescue the oppressed from the power of the oppressor. Don’t exploit or mistreat the refugee, the orphan, and the widow.
- Jeremiah 22:16-17 – He defended the rights of the poor and needy; then it went well. Isn’t that what it means to know me? declares the Lord. But you set your eyes and heart on nothing but unjust gain; you spill the blood of the innocent; you practice cruelty; you oppress your subjects.
- Ezekiel 16:49 – This is the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were proud, had plenty to eat, and enjoyed peace and prosperity; but she didn’t help the poor and the needy.
- Ezekiel. 22:25, 27, 29-31 – The conspiracy of princes in her is like a roaring lion ripping up prey. They’ve piled up wealth and precious goods and made many widows in her... The officials in her are like wolves ripping up prey. They shed blood and destroy lives for unjust riches... The important people of the land have practiced extortion and have committed robbery. They’ve oppressed the poor and mistreated the immigrant. They’ve oppressed and denied justice. I looked for anyone to repair the wall and stand in the gap for me on behalf of the land, so I wouldn’t have to destroy it. But I couldn’t find anyone. So I’ve poured out my anger on them. With my furious fire I’ve finished them off. I’ve held them accountable. This is what the Lord God proclaims.
- Matthew 5:6-7 – Happy are people who are hungry and thirsty for righteousness, because they will be fed until they are full. Happy are people who show mercy, because they will receive mercy.
- Matthew 5:42 – Give to those who ask, and don’t refuse those who wish to borrow from you.
- Matthew 6:2-4 – Whenever you give to the poor, don’t blow your trumpet as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets so that they may get praise from people. I assure you, that’s the only reward they’ll get. But when you give to the poor, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing so that you may give to the poor in secret. Your Father who sees what you do in secret will reward you.
- Matthew 6:22-24 – The eye is the lamp of the body. Therefore, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how terrible that darkness will be! No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be loyal to the one and have contempt for the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.
- Matthew 6:25-34 – Therefore, I say to you, don’t worry about your life, what you’ll eat or what you’ll drink, or about your body, what you’ll wear. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds in the sky. They don’t sow seed or harvest grain or gather crops into barns. Yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth much more than they are? Who among you by worrying can add a single moment to your life? And why do you worry about clothes? Notice how the lilies in the field grow. They don’t wear themselves out with work, and they don’t spin cloth. But I say to you that even Solomon in all of his splendor wasn’t dressed like one of these. If God dresses grass in the field so beautifully, even though it’s alive today and tomorrow it’s thrown into the furnace, won’t God do much more for you, you people of weak faith? Therefore, don’t worry and say, ‘What are we going to eat?’ or ‘What are we going to drink?’ or ‘What are we going to wear?’ Gentiles long for all these things. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them. Instead, desire first and foremost God’s kingdom and God’s righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore, stop worrying about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
- Matthew 19:20-21 – The young man replied, “I’ve kept all these. What am I still missing?” Jesus said, “If you want to be complete, go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor. Then you will have treasure in heaven. And come follow me.”
- Matthew 19:24 – In fact, it’s easier for a camel to squeeze through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter God’s kingdom.
- Matthew 25:31-46 – Now when the Human One comes in his majesty and all his angels are with him, he will sit on his majestic throne. All the nations will be gathered in front of him. He will separate them from each other, just as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right side. But the goats he will put on his left. Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who will receive good things from my Father. Inherit the kingdom that was prepared for you before the world began. I was hungry and you gave me food to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me. I was naked and you gave me clothes to wear. I was sick and you took care of me. I was in prison and you visited me.’ Then those who are righteous will reply to him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you a drink? When did we see you as a stranger and welcome you, or naked and give you clothes to wear? When did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ Then the king will reply to them, ‘I assure you that when you have done it for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you have done it for me.’ “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Get away from me, you who will receive terrible things. Go into the unending fire that has been prepared for the devil and his angels. I was hungry and you didn’t give me food to eat. I was thirsty and you didn’t give me anything to drink. I was a stranger and you didn’t welcome me. I was naked and you didn’t give me clothes to wear. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.’ Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison and didn’t do anything to help you?’ Then he will answer, ‘I assure you that when you haven’t done it for one of the least of these, you haven’t done it for me.’ And they will go away into eternal punishment. But the righteous ones will go into eternal life.
- Mary's Magnificat, Luke 1:46-55 – With all my heart I glorify the Lord! In the depths of who I am I rejoice in God my savior. He has looked with favor on the low status of his servant. Look! From now on, everyone will consider me highly favored because the mighty one has done great things for me. Holy is his name. He shows mercy to everyone, from one generation to the next, who honors him as God. He has shown strength with his arm. He has scattered those with arrogant thoughts and proud inclinations. He has pulled the powerful down from their thrones and lifted up the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things and sent the rich away empty-handed. He has come to the aid of his servant Israel, remembering his mercy, just as he promised to our ancestors, to Abraham and to Abraham’s descendants forever.”
- Luke 3:11 – He answered, “Whoever has two shirts must share with the one who has none, and whoever has food must do the same.
- Luke 4:16-21 – Jesus went to Nazareth, where he had been raised. On the Sabbath he went to the synagogue as he normally did and stood up to read. The synagogue assistant gave him the scroll from the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written: The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me. He has sent me to preach good news to the poor, to proclaim release to the prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind, to liberate the oppressed, and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. He rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the synagogue assistant, and sat down. Every eye in the synagogue was fixed on him. He began to explain to them, “Today, this scripture has been fulfilled just as you heard it.
- Luke 6:20-26 – Happy are you who are poor, because God’s kingdom is yours. Happy are you who hunger now, because you will be satisfied. Happy are you who weep now, because you will laugh. Happy are you when people hate you, reject you, insult you, and condemn your name as evil because of the Human One. Rejoice when that happens! Leap for joy because you have a great reward in heaven. Their ancestors did the same things to the prophets. But how terrible for you who are rich, because you have already received your comfort. How terrible for you who have plenty now, because you will be hungry. How terrible for you who laugh now, because you will mourn and weep. How terrible for you when all speak well of you. Their ancestors did the same things to the false prophets.
- Luke 12:15 – Watch out! Guard yourself against all kinds of greed. After all, one’s life isn’t determined by one’s possessions, even when someone is very wealthy.
- Luke 12:33 – Don’t be afraid, little flock, because your Father delights in giving you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to those in need. Make for yourselves wallets that don’t wear out—a treasure in heaven that never runs out. No thief comes near there, and no moth destroys. Where your treasure is, there your heart will be too.
- Luke 14:12-14 – Then Jesus said to the person who had invited him, “When you host a lunch or dinner, don’t invite your friends, your brothers and sisters, your relatives, or rich neighbors. If you do, they will invite you in return and that will be your reward. Instead, when you give a banquet, invite the poor, crippled, lame, and blind. And you will be blessed because they can’t repay you. Instead, you will be repaid when the just are resurrected.”
- Luke 16:19-25 – Jesus replied, “A certain man hosted a large dinner and invited many people. When it was time for the dinner to begin, he sent his servant to tell the invited guests, ‘Come! The dinner is now ready.’ One by one, they all began to make excuses. The first one told him, ‘I bought a farm and must go and see it. Please excuse me.’ Another said, ‘I bought five teams of oxen, and I’m going to check on them. Please excuse me.’ Another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’ When he returned, the servant reported these excuses to his master. The master of the house became angry and said to his servant, ‘Go quickly to the city’s streets, the busy ones and the side streets, and bring the poor, crippled, blind, and lame.’ The servant said, ‘Master, your instructions have been followed and there is still room.’ The master said to the servant, ‘Go to the highways and back alleys and urge people to come in so that my house will be filled. I tell you, not one of those who were invited will taste my dinner.’”
- Acts 2:42-47 – The believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to the community, to their shared meals, and to their prayers. A sense of awe came over everyone. God performed many wonders and signs through the apostles. All the believers were united and shared everything. They would sell pieces of property and possessions and distribute the proceeds to everyone who needed them. Every day, they met together in the temple and ate in their homes. They shared food with gladness and simplicity. They praised God and demonstrated God’s goodness to everyone. The Lord added daily to the community those who were being saved.
- Acts 4:32-37 – The community of believers was one in heart and mind. None of them would say, “This is mine!” about any of their possessions, but held everything in common. The apostles continued to bear powerful witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and an abundance of grace was at work among them all. There were no needy persons among them. Those who owned properties or houses would sell them, bring the proceeds from the sales, and place them in the care and under the authority of the apostles. Then it was distributed to anyone who was in need. Joseph, whom the apostles nicknamed Barnabas (that is, “one who encourages”), was a Levite from Cyprus. He owned a field, sold it, brought the money, and placed it in the care and under the authority of the apostles.
- 2 Corinthians. 8:1-5 – Brothers and sisters, we want to let you know about the grace of God that was given to the churches of Macedonia. While they were being tested by many problems, their extra amount of happiness and their extreme poverty resulted in a surplus of rich generosity. I assure you that they gave what they could afford and even more than they could afford, and they did it voluntarily. They urgently begged us for the privilege of sharing in this service for the saints. They even exceeded our expectations, because they gave themselves to the Lord first and to us, consistent with God’s will.
- 2 Corinthians 8:12-15 – A gift is appreciated because of what a person can afford, not because of what that person can’t afford, if it’s apparent that it’s done willingly. It isn’t that we want others to have financial ease and you financial difficulties, but it’s a matter of equality. At the present moment, your surplus can fill their deficit so that in the future their surplus can fill your deficit. In this way there is equality. As it is written, The one who gathered more didn’t have too much, and the one who gathered less didn’t have too little.
- 2 Corinthians 9:7 – Everyone should give whatever they have decided in their heart. They shouldn’t give with hesitation or because of pressure. God loves a cheerful giver.
- 1 Timothy 6:9–10 – But people who are trying to get rich fall into temptation. They are trapped by many stupid and harmful passions that plunge people into ruin and destruction. The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. Some have wandered away from the faith and have impaled themselves with a lot of pain because they made money their goal.
- 1 Timothy 6:17-19 – Tell people who are rich at this time not to become egotistical and not to place their hope on their finances, which are uncertain. Instead, they need to hope in God, who richly provides everything for our enjoyment. Tell them to do good, to be rich in the good things they do, to be generous, and to share with others. When they do these things, they will save a treasure for themselves that is a good foundation for the future. That way they can take hold of what is truly life.
- James 1:27 – True devotion, the kind that is pure and faultless before God the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their difficulties and to keep the world from contaminating us.
- James 5:1-6 – Pay attention, you wealthy people! Weep and moan over the miseries coming upon you. Your riches have rotted. Moths have destroyed your clothes. Your gold and silver have rusted, and their rust will be evidence against you. It will eat your flesh like fire. Consider the treasure you have hoarded in the last days. Listen! Hear the cries of the wages of your field hands. These are the wages you stole from those who harvested your fields. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of heavenly forces. You have lived a self-satisfying life on this earth, a life of luxury. You have stuffed your hearts in preparation for the day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered the righteous one, who doesn’t oppose you.
- James 2:5-7 – My dear brothers and sisters, listen! Hasn’t God chosen those who are poor by worldly standards to be rich in terms of faith? Hasn’t God chosen the poor as heirs of the kingdom he has promised to those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor. Don’t the wealthy make life difficult for you? Aren’t they the ones who drag you into court? Aren’t they the ones who insult the good name spoken over you at your baptism?
- 1 John 3:16–17 – This is how we know love: Jesus laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. But if a person has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need and that person doesn’t care—how can the love of God remain in him?