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Matthew 5:3 (NASB)

Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Bible Commentary

Matthew 5:3 is a Bible verse from the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus is describing the blessings of those who are poor in spirit.

Jesus Christ made many powerful statements like this one during His sermon on the Mount. Many people were present. Matthew 5:1 says, “Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him.”

It is interesting that the crowds are mentioned first, then the disciples. In His support circle, the disciples would have been regarded highly, since they were committed to Him and followed Him. They were with Him day and night, learning and serving.


But the crowds are spoken of first in Matthew 5:1, which is a testament to the humility of Jesus and His servant’s heart. He was sent to seek and save those who were lost (Luke 19:10), and His heart’s desires were toward them.

Matthew 5:3 speaks of the “poor in spirit.” The word “poor” in the Greek means: beggar, pauper, distressed. “Spirit” in the Greek means: breath, soul, vital principle, God, Christ’s spirit, Holy Spirit.

If we are poor in spirit, we have little room in our soul for the Holy Spirit to dwell in us or move through us. Most likely, something is clogging our spiritual pipeline, which hinders the power of the Spirit to flow abundantly through our lives.


And yet, Jesus says these people are blessed with the kingdom of heaven. Even if we only have just enough faith to believe in Jesus for our salvation, we still have the kingdom of heaven available to us, now in the present and in Heaven after our passing. Even if you live below your spiritual potential, you are still blessed in this way.

Matthew 5:3 is the first of the groups Jesus calls blessed. As you read further through the sermon on the mount, we see the blessings increase with each group He speaks of, like a progression or spiritual promotion. With each phase we walk through, the blessings increase.

Let’s look and see how we can progress past the “poor in spirit” phase.

Unlocking the Truth - Poor to Promoted

Just like a high level of cholesterol can clog a person’s arteries, hindering the flow of blood moving through, we also have things (lies we believed) that clog our spiritual pipeline, which hinder the Holy Spirit’s power in us and from moving through us.

Let’s identify 2 extremes, or lies of what we believe about ourselves. On one end of the spectrum is pride and contention, and on the other end is shame and disgrace. Our target is the truth in Jesus Christ, at dead center, which is humility and honor.


The goal is to be more like Christ, and in order to do that we must identify the lies. There may be times and situations where we think too highly of ourselves (pride and contention), and then there may be other times when guilt and condemnation keep us down.

Both miss the mark of the target, which is Christ in us. Jesus Christ is the perfect example of humility and honor. The way we identify the lies, the junk keeping the Holy Spirit from moving through, is by focusing on Him—studying His life in the Bible.


When we invite the light of Truth to shine into our hearts, we soon discover the things that need to be cleaned out, and He delights filling in those places with more of Himself. Jesus was a carpenter, and still is today.

With your permission, He will come in and skillfully chip away at those things that keep you poor in spirit, as Matthew 5:8 says. As our pipeline gets cleaned out, it creates more room for the fruit of the Spirit--peace, love and joy (Galatians 5:22-23). Then you can enjoy promotion in the Spirit.

Study the Bible verse of Matthew 5:3, and discover where you are poor in spirit, so you can progress to promotion in the Holy Spirit.



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