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13 June 2017

Poor in Spirit

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

But what is it to be "poor in spirit"?

Poor is from the Greek ptochos, which suggests not the one who labors for his meager daily bread, but the one who only obtains his living by begging, the one who is powerless to change his circumstances (see Strong's G4434). Spirit is from the Greek pneuma, which means a breath or breeze. It's the vital principle, the human spirit. This word is rarely used of wind, but when so used it is known for its strength, vigor, and force (see Strong's G4151).

To put them together suggests to me that this verse is speaking of those who are depleted, worn down and spent, not to poverty (of their energies or force) but to penury: those who have no hope of refreshment, no light at the end of the tunnel, no strength left to give, and no rest in sight.

Christ told us that this life will stretch us, He said, "In the world ye shall have tribulation," but in the very next breath He said not to let it defeat us, to bury us, because the tribulation is not the end of the story: "In the world ye shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer: I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)" It is in His strength that our depletion is filled up, and we can be made strong.

Blessed [fortunate, happy, and blessed] are the poor in spirit who come unto me, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. -3 Nephi 12:3 (emphasis added)

It is coming to Christ that makes all the difference.

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