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32 Important Bible Verses About Helping Others

Early in my marriage, there was a fight that caught me off guard.  While stopped at a red light I gave a homeless man a dollar.  My husband began arguing with me about how irresponsible I was to enable the man.  As the light turned green I was overwhelmed with anger and confusion. 

This one incident launched an ongoing debate between us filled with Bible verses about helping others in an attempt to answer the question, “What does the Bible say about helping others.

man extending a hand out to help someone

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What Does the Bible Say About Helping Others

Have you been burned by an act of charity? 

My husband has had multiple experiences of helping someone only to find out they were addicts or running a scam.  It leaves a sour taste in your mouth and makes you question whether it's wise to help anyone.  

For me the question is not, can I trust the people who need help, but what does the Bible say about helping others?

We found 32 Bible verses about helping others.  After examining them you can decide for yourself, does God want us to help others or not?

Help Others Through Prayer

Scripture tells us over and over again that prayer is an offensive weapon against our real enemy.  While there are physical things we can do to help others, never forget the power of prayer.  Prayer is the calling of every single Christian.  

“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people,” 1

Timothy 2:1 ESV

Related: 27 Fasting and Prayer Scriptures for Spiritual Breakthrough

Kindness and Forgiveness helps others

Often we think there needs to be some big gesture to help others while we miss the little things that make a huge difference in life.  

Kindness helps others.

  • Be kind, even when you don't think the other person deserves it. 
  • Be kind, because they could be facing so much more than you could ever understand.  

Forgiveness helps others. 

  • Often we take offense where none was meant. Forgiveness helps calm the storm and save the relationship.
  • Other times we refuse to forgive when what was done was has been repented of.  Forgiveness saves you from drowning in bitterness and resentment.
  • Other times the offense was intended and harsh and forgiveness takes time.  Forgiveness is really for you in this case, keeping you right with God and saving your peace of mind.

“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”

Ephesians 4:32 ESV

Related: 7 Steps to Thrive Through Forgiveness in Marriage

Help Others by Being There

Sometimes the best way to help someone is to just be there.  Listen.  Let them pour out their heart to you, and cry on your shoulder.  

Investing time in others by being there for them and with them is huge!  Setting aside your own interests to help them is a great way to help others as well.

  • Galatians 6:2 ESVBear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ
  • Philippians 2:4 ESVLet each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Blessings When We Help Others

God blesses us when we help others. Not that we help others to be blessed, but blessing often follows helping others.

There have been many times I've helped others when I didn't have the time or resources, I just felt called to help.  Many of those situations stretched me only to find God returning the resources and the time in beautiful ways.  

“Whoever gives to the poor will not want, but he who hides his eyes will get many a curse.” Proverbs 28:27 ESV

Other times, the blessings were something internal.  I grew spiritually by helping someone or the Gospel was spread by helping them.  Blessings come in many shapes and sizes.  Don't miss them by looking only externally. 

“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. And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.” Isaiah 58:10-11 ESV

Bible Stories About Helping Others

Throughout scripture, we see examples of believers helping others.  There are countless Bible stories about helping others to back up the point.  These are a few of my favorites!  

  • Abigail and David's men (1 Samuel 25)
  • Elijah and the young widow (1 Kings 17)
  • Rahab and the spies at Jericho (Joshua 2)
  • Ruth and Naomi (Ruth 1-2)
  • Boaz and Ruth (Ruth 3-4)
  • Jesus at the wedding (John 2:1-11)
  • Peter and John and the gate called Beautiful (Acts 3:1-9)

What Does the Bible Say About Helping Others Too Much

Is it possible to help others too much?  

We all know there are people who manipulate others while refusing to take on their own responsibilities.  God knows that too.  

“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.” 1 Timothy 5:8 ESV

This verse shows a need for clear boundaries around friends and family who are living outside of God's will through either laziness or sinful lifestyles.

What Does the Bible Say About Helping Freeloaders

There is clear scripture about setting boundaries around friends and family who are able to provide but refuse to provide.  What about other people who seem to be poor and needy?

Yes, there is clear scripture about them and in the Message translation, it calls them freeloaders or those who refuse to work.

“Get along among yourselves, each of you doing your part. Our counsel is that you warn the freeloaders to get a move on.” 1 Thessalonians 5:14 MSG

The Bible tells us that we are to work when we are able. If a person of able body and mind but refuses to work, we are told not to enable that sinful behavior.  

“Don’t you remember the rule we had when we lived with you? “If you don’t work, you don’t eat.” And now we’re getting reports that a bunch of lazy good-for-nothings are taking advantage of you. This must not be tolerated. We command them to get to work immediately—no excuses, no arguments—and earn their own keep. Friends, don’t slack off in doing your duty.” 2 Thessalonians 3:10-13 MSG

Enabling laziness and sinful habits is a harsh way to think about this, but it is true if we look deeper.  That was the argument my husband had been using on me and it was actually scriptural. 

Giving freeloaders money is not the way to help the lazy or addicted.  No, we need to pray for them and encourage them to do for themselves.

So giving money to someone on the street might not always be the wisest choice, as my husband has been telling me for years.  Still, I felt like there had to be some way to help those in need that are begging. 

“Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.” Ephesians 4:28 ESV 

I don't know if someone is genuinely down on their luck or if they have given up and fallen into despair or addiction.  Also, I believe we are to love and accept everyone rather than judge them.  So how do you help without hurting or judging? 

  • Volunteer at a shelter
  • Donate your gently used clothes and household items to organizations that help others. 
  • Give a bottle of water to the beggar on the street.
  • Have a conversation with a homeless man on the corner.
  • Smile and acknowledge the one who seems down on their luck. 

Remember what Jesus told us as you consider those in your life who are sick or in need.

“And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’” Matthew 25:40 ESV

a family wearing blue volunteer shirts

Bible Verses About Helping Others as Christians

Can we agree that there are enough Bible verses about helping others to make the case that we, as Christians, are called to help others?

I thought so too, but remember the argument with my husband?  He was not convinced.  It's one thing to have the truth of the Scripture telling you to help others, but it's another thing to have lived through the scams.  

In our arguing my husband pointed out some criteria for helping others that I hadn't thought about before. 

First, as we look at the many Scripture on helping others we must begin at the beginning.  God, created the world, watched as men chose to sin, and in His sovereignty made a plan to help us.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

John 3:16 ESV

Not only did God help us, though we could never deserve or earn His help, He then gifted each Believer in ways that let us help others in His name.  

“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace”

1 Peter 4:10 ESV

If we look purely at God's example, then we have say yes, we are called to help others.

Many ways that we can help others seem obvious; giving, serving, and aiding the sick.  We will look at the more obvious ways to help others in a moment but I don't want to miss the ways God has equipped every Christian to help others spiritually.  

Bible Verses About Caring for Others in Need

Knowing that God helps people empowers us to help people because we are called to imitate Him.  What I love about God's character is that it is consistent.  God made provisions to care for those in need from the beginning.  

The Bible makes it clear we are to help our family, both blood and faith family and we see this in the Old and New Testament. 

““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.” Leviticus 25:35 ESV

“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?” 1 John 3:17 ESV

We are also called to share with others who have needs.

“And the crowds asked him, “What then shall we do?” And he answered them, “Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.”” Luke 3:10-11 ESV

“Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” Hebrews 13:16 ESV

The Bible seems to make a difference between being needy and being poor.  In both cases we are called to help, I just wanted to note that they are named differently.

Scripture About Helping The Poor

Earlier we saw that we are to help those in need, though the need is not specified.  Here we see a call to help those who are poor.  Poverty can strike any of us and it shows a deep love and compassion in God's character that He calls us to help in both the Old and New Testament.

“For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, ‘You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.’” Deuteronomy 15:11 ESV

“Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.” Matthew 5:42 ESV

Some are needy and poor due to life circumstances or unwise choices while others are forced into need and poverty.  We see that God cares for both groups.

“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

Bible Verses About Caring for the Sick

We've seen that God helps people and calls us to help in many ways.  One way we can help those in need is to help the sick.  Often the sick are scared and lonely.  They need help in many practical ways that we may miss if we don't stop to look. 

“Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.” James 5:13-15 ESV

There are many many ways to help those who are sick or weak.  

  • Prayer
  • Laying on of hands
  • Visiting
  • Cards
  • Meals
  • Caring for their family

If you are creative and willing to be the hands and feet of God you can find very meaningful ways to care for the sick and weak.

“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.’” Acts 20:35 ESV 

Bible Verses About Helping Others Without Recognition

One criterion or qualification for helping others in a godly way is anonymity.  Doing good to help others is about showing God's love and God rewards it when it is not done with bragging.

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

We see this theme in the Old and New Testament.  Helping others, just like praying is meant to be between us and them and God only.  

“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?” 1 John 3:17 ESV

It would seem that we have a clear direction in scripture about helping others.  There have been 32 Bible verses about helping others in this overview alone and there were many more I could have cited. 

Did we answer the question, “What does the Bible say about helping others?”  Can we end an argument that has been raging for nearly two decades in my marriage?

Sadly no.  My husband sees all of this and still says it's unwise to give money directly to people.  His answer to the dilemma is to not help people directly but to help organizations. This is still helping others but in a way that takes the responsibility for enabling out of his hands.  I get that though I respectfully disagree.  

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

What I see in scripture is a clear call to help others when it is in my power to do so.  So we argue as I help the homeless.  We bicker as he gives to the shelters.  Both are helping others while disagreeing lovingly about the right way.  

Have you had a similar debate?  I'd love to hear how you interpret the call to help others in scripture.  Leave me a comment and let's talk it through. 

in HIM, Tiffany

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