Poverty Part II: The Biblical Diagnosis

What is the worst state in which a man can be found?  Is it a state of material destitution?  Or is there something more devastating, more horrible – a state that affects him not only now, but forever?  As we know from Scripture, the “light affliction” of this life “is but for a moment” (II Corinthians 4:17).  For this reason, we “look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal” (ibid 4:18).  With this sort of worldview, it is not surprising that the Biblical answer to material destitution – poverty – is far different from all others.  While modern humanism elevates poverty and defines it as inequality, the Bible recognizes it as a result of sin – a fundamental brokenness often expressing itself in material need – a view which leads to help that is radically different and truly helpful.
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Poverty Part I: The Modern Diagnosis

Who are the poor?  In Western society today, material goods are often emphasized with little regard to other essential components of a truly happy life.  For this reason, it is hardly surprising that poverty has been re-defined to mean those who have less, rather than those who have not.  Time was when poor people lived in a one-room house with a dirt floor and were doing good to eat two meals a day; now they can have indoor plumbing and a TV in their living room.  What criteria satisfy the modern definition of poverty?  Based on those criteria, what is the modern solution?  Does it work?

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