"For the poor shall never cease out of the land: therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy..." Deuteronomy 14: 11 

"For ye have the poor always with you..." Matthew 26:11

Poverty and Hunger 
A Study in the Scriptures

by Diane Dew

Main Page



Every day in America, 27 children die from poverty. (Source: Children's Defense Fund)


(Click image for full view)





Worldwide, 24,000 people die each day from hunger or hunger-related causes. That's one every 3.6 seconds -- 74% of whom are children. 

The majority of hunger-related deaths are caused by chronic malnutrition. An estimated 800 million individuals simply cannot get enough to eat. (Source: The Hunger Site)




Related story
at this site:

Home Street Home



Copyright 2000 by Diane S. Dew

I.  Poverty is an ongoing problem, universal to every society.

Deuteronomy 15:11 "For the poor shall never cease out of the land: therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land."

Matthew 26:11 (cp. Mark 14:7; John 12:8) "...the poor ye have always with you..."


II.  The causes of poverty and hunger can vary considerably.

A.  Natural or circumstantial disaster.

1.   Famine.

                    1 Kings 17:1, 10-12
Genesis 45:11
                    Acts 11:28-30

          2.   Physical limitations.

                    Acts 3:2, 3

          3.   Loss of income due to death of family breadwinner.

                    1 Kings 17:10-12
                    Mark 12:42, 43 (Luke 21:2, 3)
                    Acts 6:1; 9:39, 41
                    1 Timothy 5:3-16

B.  Personal irresponsibility.

Proverbs 13:18a "Poverty and shame [shall be to] him that refuseth instruction..."

Proverbs 13:23 "Much food [is in] the tillage of the poor: but there is [that is] destroyed for want of judgment."

         1.  Laziness.

Proverbs 6:10, 11 "A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want (lack) as an armed man."

Proverbs 10:4 "He becometh poor that dealeth [with] a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich."

Proverbs 19:15 "Slothfulness casteth into a deep sleep; and an idle soul shall suffer hunger."

Proverbs 20:13 (Proverbs 24:33, 34) "Love not sleep, lest thou come to poverty; open thine eyes, [and] thou shalt be satisfied with bread."

2 Thessalonians 3:10 "For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat."

                 2.   Drunkenness and gluttony.

Proverbs 21:17 "He that loveth pleasure [shall be] a poor man: he that loveth wine and oil shall not be rich."

Proverbs 23:21 "For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe [a man] with rags."

Luke 15:13-17 "And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living. And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want... And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him. And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!"

               3.  Dishonesty.

Proverbs 11:24 "There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and [there is] that withholdeth more than is meet, but [it tendeth] to poverty."

               4.   Poor judgment; gambling; vain pursuits.

Proverbs 13:23 "Much food [is in] the tillage of the poor: but there is [that is] destroyed for want of judgment."

Proverbs 28:19, 22 "He that tilleth his land shall have plenty of bread: but he that followeth after vain [persons] shall have poverty enough."

Proverbs 28:22 "He that hasteth to be rich [hath] an evil eye, and considereth not that poverty shall come upon him."

                              Luke 15:13-17 "...wasted his substance with riotous living."

       D.   Greed and oppression of the rich and powerful.

Proverbs 22:16 "He that oppresseth the poor to increase his [riches, and] he that giveth to the rich, [shall] surely [come] to want."

Proverbs 28:15 "[As] a roaring lion, and a ranging bear; [so is] a wicked ruler over the poor people."

Amos 2:6, 7 "...they sold the righteous for silver, and the poor for a pair of shoes; That pant after the dust of the earth on the head of the poor, and turn aside the way of the meek..."

Amos 4:1 "Hear this word, ye kine of Bashan, that [are] in the mountain of Samaria, which oppress the poor, which crush the needy..."

Amos 5:11, 12 "Forasmuch therefore as your treading [is] upon the poor, and ye take from him burdens of wheat: ye have built houses of hewn stone, but ye shall not dwell in them; ye have planted pleasant vineyards, but ye shall not drink wine of them. For I know your manifold transgressions and your mighty sins: they afflict the just, they take a bribe, and they turn aside the poor in the gate [from their right]."

Amos 8:4-6 "Hear this, O ye that swallow up the needy, even to make the poor of the land to fail, ...falsifying the balances by deceit. That we may buy the poor for silver, and the needy for a pair of shoes; [yea], and sell the refuse of the wheat?"

E.  Poverty itself. (It is a vicious cycle. Many born into poverty lack the opportunity afforded others.)

Proverbs 10:15 "The rich man's wealth [is] his strong city: the destruction of the poor [is] their poverty."

          F.  Punishment; judgment or chastening of God (to teach dependence upon Him).

Deuteronomy 8:3 "And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every [word] that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live."

                              Deuteronomy 32:24
                              Amos 4:6-8

         G.  Affliction of Satan.

Revelation 6:8 "And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth."


III.  Responsibility to care for the poor rests upon all.

            Luke 10:29-37 (even for strangers)

       A.  The church.

                     Romans 15:26
                     Acts 2:44, 45
                     Acts 4:32-35

       B.  The individual believer.

Leviticus 19:10 (cp. 23:22) "And thou shalt not glean thy vineyard, neither shalt thou gather [every] grape of thy vineyard; thou shalt leave them for the poor and stranger: I [am] the LORD your God."

Proverbs 31:20 "She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy." (the virtuous woman)

                    Matthew 25:35-44
                    Mark 10:21

Acts 20:35 "...ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive."

                    1 Corinthians 13:3

        C.   The family of the needy.

                     Leviticus 25:25, 35, 39
                     Deuteronomy 15:7-11, 13, 14
                     1 Timothy 5:3-16

        D.  Even our enemies.

                    Proverbs 25:21
                    Romans 12:20

        E.  Rulers; those in governmental position.

                    Proverbs 29:14
                    Proverbs 31:9

NOTE:  The Bible says so much about Poverty and Hunger, that I cannot post the entire outline on this page. For a complete copy of the 30-page booklet, send $3.00 to Diane Dew, P.O. Box 340945, Milwaukee, WI 53234 USA. 































































Main Page