ArticleBible & Theology

47 Bible Verses About Helping Others: 7 Scriptural Themes for Generosity

The gospel calls us to give ourselves freely to serve others, but we often resist.
God calls Christians to pour themselves out for others.

But we are often slow to embrace this aspect of the Christian life. We misapply the freeness of God’s grace to us in Christ in such a way that can overshadow the appropriate response to that grace.

Scripture is saturated with God’s command to his people to help others, care for the poor, imitate his generosity, and to take a posture of self-sacrifice. Consider these 47 Bible verses and seven themes in Scripture that instruct the church to love God and neighbor by helping others.

1. Caring for the Weak

God commands us to care for the weak. It is one of his enduring refrains throughout Scripture. The all-powerful Creator of the universe sees every need and watches over every single vulnerable person on earth. One of the powerful ways that God shows care for the disadvantages is by making it a priority for his people to help them.

Leviticus 25:35: “If your brother becomes poor and cannot maintain himself with you, you shall support him as though he were a stranger and a sojourner, and he shall live with you.”

Deuteronomy 15:11: “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.”

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

Isaiah 25:4: “For you have been a stronghold to the poor, a stronghold to the needy in his distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat; for the breath of the ruthless is like a storm against a wall.”

Isaiah 58:10: “If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday.”

Matthew 10:8: “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.”

2. Imitating Generous Christians

One of the ways that God shows us how to be generous is by giving us examples of generosity throughout Scripture. Here are two examples.

Exodus 17:12: “When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset.”

Acts 9:36: “Now there was in Joppa a disciple named Tabitha, which, translated, means Dorcas. She was full of good works and acts of charity.”

3. The Blessedness of Giving

Perhaps one of the most well-known lines in Scripture is: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” This truth endures in our hearts and minds—even in secular culture—because it is so self-evidently true. While it seems counterintuitive, when God stirs our hearts to give and we are obedient to him, we experience satisfaction and become more conformed to the image of Christ, who gave himself for us.

Proverbs 11:25: “Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.”

Proverbs 19:17: “Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward them for what they have done.”

Proverbs 22:9: “The generous will themselves be blessed, for they share their food with the poor.”

Matthew 25:44-45: “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’”

Mark 10:21: “And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, ‘You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.’”

Luke 3:10-11: “‘What should we do then?’ the crowd asked. John answered, ‘Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.’”

Luke 6:28: “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

Luke 12:33-34: “Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Acts 20:35: “In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

Galatians 6:9: “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”

4. Loving to Do What is Right

The more we do what is right—especially in helping others—the more we love to do what is right. Our good God loves to teach us to love to do good, reflecting his character. Through obedience, we are drawn closer to Christ and reflect his glory in the world.

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

Luke 10:27-37: “And he answered, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.’ And he said to him, ‘You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.’ But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbor?’ Jesus replied, ‘A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, “Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.” Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?’ He said, ‘The one who showed him mercy.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘You go, and do likewise.’”

5. Imitating God’s Helpfulness

One of the reasons that God wants us to help others is that he himself Helper. In Exodus 18:4, Moses names his son Eliezer, which in Hebrew means “God is my helper.” This theme resonates throughout Scripture as a command for Christians to be like God, the ultimate Helper.

Matthew 5:16: “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

John 3:17: “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”

John 15:12: “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.”

James 1:5: “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”

James 1:17: “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”

2 Corinthians 8:9: “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.”

1 John 4:19-20: “We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.”

6. The Holiness of Helpfulness

Helping others isn’t just a good thing to do; it is a holy thing to do. This means that helping others is one of the ways that God sets apart his church in the world. Christians are meant to separate themselves from the spirit of this age by refusing to live selfish lives and, instead, serving others.

Matthew 5:42: “Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.”

Ephesians 2:10: “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”

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

Galatians 6:2: “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”

Hebrews 6:10: “God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.”

Hebrews 13:16: “And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.”

Luke 6:30: “Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back.

John 15:13: “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

Romans 12:10: “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.

Romans 12:13: “Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.”

Romans 12:20: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.”

Romans 15:1: “We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves.”

1 Thessalonians 5:11: “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.”

7. The Wickedness of Selfishness

Scripture doesn’t merely teach the praiseworthiness of helpfulness but also condemns its opposite, selfishness. This is the other side of “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” It is a cursed thing to act selfishly at another’s expense. God graciously warns us against walking down this path, which consumes those who take it.

Proverbs 3:27: “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act.”

Proverbs 21:13: “Whoever closes his ear to the cry of the poor will himself call out and not be answered.”

Ephesians 4:28: “Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.”

Philippians 2:3-4: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”

2 Thessalonians 3:10: “For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.”

1 Timothy 5:8: “But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”

James 2:14-17: “What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.”

Conclusion

It is a holy thing for Christians to help others, and the most crucial way in which Christians can help others is by proclaiming the gospel. Perhaps you are called to leave home and dedicate your life to share Christ with an unreached people group.

Pray that God would lead you into good works as you conform your life to the wisdom of these biblical passages.

About the Author

P.C. Maxwell is a writer and theologian. He holds a Ph.D. in systematic theology from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, M.Div. from Westminster Theological Seminary, and a Bachelor’s in biblical languages from Moody Bible Institute. He resides in the Chicago area with his wife and contributes regularly to ABWE’s blog and communications strategy.

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