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What Does the Bible Say About Defending the Vulnerable?

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The Bible is chock full of passages that reveal God’s heart for the poor and needy. To help you connect more deeply and intimately with God’s heart for the vulnerable and less fortunate, we have compiled these Bible passages to reflect on. This resource can be helpful for Bible study discussions in your small group, Sunday School class, youth group, or family devotions.

“Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.” (Psalm 82:3 NIV)

“Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.” (Psalm 82:3-4 ESV)

“Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.” (Proverbs 31:8-9 ESV)

“Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.” (Isaiah 1:17 ESV)

“Do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor, and let none of you devise evil against another in your heart.” (Zechariah 7:10 ESV)

“Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?” (Isaiah 58:6-7 ESV)

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“Whoever mocks the poor insults his Maker; he who is glad at calamity will not go unpunished.” (Proverbs 17:5 ESV)

“Whoever oppresses a poor man insults his Maker, but he who is generous to the needy honors him.” (Proverbs 14:31 ESV)

“For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who is not partial and takes no bribe. He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing. Love the sojourner, therefore, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.” (Deuteronomy 10:17-19 ESV)

“O LORD, you hear the desire of the afflicted; you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.” (Psalm 10:17-18 ESV)

“I know that the LORD will maintain the cause of the afflicted, and will execute justice for the needy.” (Psalm 140:12 ESV)

“Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will repay him for his deed.” (Proverbs 19:17 ESV)

“It is a sin to despise one’s neighbor, but blessed is the one who is kind to the needy.” (Proverbs 14:21 NIV)

“Those who give to the poor will lack nothing, but those who close their eyes to them receive many curses.” (Proverbs 28:27)

“Because the poor are plundered and the needy groan, I will now arise,” says the Lord. “I will protect them from those who malign them.” (Psalm 12:5 NIV)

“But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.” (1 John 3:17-18 ESV)

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“Then Jesus said to his host… When you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” (Luke 14:14 NIV)

“Give generously to [the poor] and do so without a grudging heart, then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to. There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your fellow Israelites who are poor and needy in your land.” (Deuteronomy 15:10-11 NIV)

“A righteous man knows the rights of the poor; a wicked man does not understand such knowledge.” (Proverbs 29:7 ESV)

Thus says the LORD: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the LORD.” (Jeremiah 9:23-24 ESV)

“He judged the cause of the poor and needy; then it was well. Is not this to know me? declares the LORD.” (Jeremiah 22:16 ESV)

“Only, they asked us to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.” (Galatians 2:10 ESV)

“Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” (James 1:27 ESV)