Many people have a hard time accepting that God sees them and loves them. They have not seen other people do this faithfully, so why would God?
But our Lord Almighty is a faithful and loving Father to children.
Among those that need to be encouraged in this Biblical truth are those who have lost parents through death or other circumstances.
Orphans are known and loved by God, and Bible verses about orphans are recorded throughout the Bible.
These scriptures about orphans show how our Heavenly Father provides for orphans, watches over them, and defends them.
Read more to understand the love and compassion the Lord has for orphans.
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Bible Verses about Orphans
For those who might feel marginalized or ignored, it can be difficult to believe that the Bible says anything about them. Yet there are many Bible verses about orphans in both the Old Testament and the New Testament.
What does the Bible say about orphans? Because the Bible is far from silent on this, we have a lot of answers to explore. We can see God's provision, refuge, defense, and love for those who are without parents.
Let’s start by looking at God’s heart for orphans.
“Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” – James 1:27 NASB
This verse from James 1 wraps up a discussion on what it means to know and follow God’s Word.
Pure religion is helping others who need our help, like widows and orphans. It isn’t just talking about doing good or showing people how much you know about the Bible.
It is especially significant that the example of “pure and undefiled religion” recorded in the Bible was helping orphans and widows.
Even more than today, orphans and widows had few options for financial provision without charity from others.
Helping orphans is such a high priority that it is specifically mentioned in the Bible as a ministry to others.
“You have seen it, for You have looked at harm and provocation to take it into Your hand. The unfortunate commits himself to You; You have been the helper of the orphan.” – Psalm 10:14 NASB
This verse about orphans reminds us that God Himself is the helper of the orphan. He sees them and defends them.
Anyone who has ever felt alone and unheard can turn to the Lord to be heard!
The fact that this verse specifically reminds us that God hears the orphans and takes up their defense can be a great comfort.
God offers His love and protection to orphans, and asks Christians to do the same.
“But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior.” – Philippians 3:20 NLT
Having a place to call home is so special. God wants us to put our minds and hearts on our home in heaven.
For those who don’t have a permanent home or aren’t able to return to their childhood home, this verse can be an especially meaningful reminder of God’s provision for what we need.
We long for a feeling of home, and God can meet that need in our heart with our citizenship in heaven. If you are a Christian, whether an orphan or not, heaven is our home!
“I will not leave you as orphans; I am coming to you.” – John 14:18 NASB
While the context of this scripture is Jesus promising believers the Holy Spirit (the “Spirit of truth” in verse 17), the principle of this is important. Jesus was reminding them that He will not leave them on their own.
This is still true for Christians today! He will not leave us on our own. He hears us, and the Holy Spirit lives in us. We are not alone when we have Jesus Christ in our lives!
“When you have finished paying all the tithe of your produce in the third year, which is the year of tithing, giving it to the Levite, the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow, so that they may eat within your towns and be filled.” – Deuteronomy 26:12 ESV
Many chapters in Deuteronomy cover the laws for Israelites in their promised land. Orphans are so important to God that providing for them was written into the law.
From the tenth of the produce in the tithing year, this food was set aside to provide for the priests, the sojourners (some translations say “resident foreigners”), fatherless children, and widows.
These people would have had difficulty providing for themselves. God made sure that the community knew to provide for them. The following verse reiterates this principle.
“The Lord watches over the foreigner and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.” – Psalm 146:9 NIV
The Lord sustains the fatherless and the widow. When this psalm was written, there were not many options for orphans besides the charity of others.
God has compassion on all of us, and watches over vulnerable populations. He does not reward the wicked with success.
“Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, at your altars, O Lord of hosts, my King and my God.” – Psalm 84:3 ESV
In Psalm 84, which C.H. Spurgeon in The Treasury of David called “one of the most sweet of the Psalms of peace,” the psalmist speaks of the house of the Lord.
Birds finding a home in the literal house of the Lord, a place where they could nurture their young, is a beautiful picture of the home that the Lord provides to His children.
No matter the state of our home here on earth, our hearts have a home in the Lord.
“…For in you the fatherless find compassion.” – Hosea 14:3 NIV
While the context of this verse is a message via the prophet Hosea for the repentance of Israel, it highlights another important truth about the Lord.
When Hosea wanted to communicate how loving and compassionate God was, he said, “For in You the orphan finds mercy.” (NASB)
Just like how James 1:27 defines true religion as ministry to orphans and widows, Hosea 14:3 illustrates compassion as God’s mercy shown to the fatherless. This can underline what a priority orphans are to the Lord.
We are thankful for our merciful and compassionate Lord!
“Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation. God settles the solitary in a home; he leads out the prisoners to prosperity, but the rebellious dwell in a parched land.” – Psalm 68:5-6 ESV
We again see how God provides for those who are in need. There is no more perfect Father than the Lord! There is no greater defender of widows than our God.
From His holy dwelling, the Lord brings people together in community. A healthy church can be an excellent example of this, providing a great place of belonging and a common goal to honor the Lord.
And God can also give us what our hearts long for. He brings families together through adoption. He forms friendships for widows and others who need that sense of family.
“The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.” – Psalm 138:8 ESV
The Lord has a purpose for each of us that He will fulfill. It does not guarantee a peaceful or straightforward journey to His will.
Earlier in the chapter, in verse 7, the psalmist says, “I walk in the midst of trouble,” but follows it with,”Your right hand delivers me.”
This verse of scripture can be a reminder of how the Lord gives us purpose and is with us. He is there through challenging times and will deliver us, according to His will.
“For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.” – Isaiah 41:13 ESV
For anyone who is struggling through difficult times, this is a beautiful verse from which to draw strength.
Isaiah 41 talks about God being there for the Israelites, but in our redemption through Jesus Christ, we can also claim this promise.
No matter what we are going through, whether we are orphans or not, holding onto God and His Word is the best choice. He will always be there for us.
His deliverance may not always look like what we want, or be on our timetable. But He will be with us and help us through our difficulties. We can persevere for a little while as we wait for His deliverance.
Another aspect of God that can be of great comfort to orphans is that Christians are God’s children.
“But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” – John 1:12 ESV
We don’t have any say in the families into which we are born. But we can become a child of God by choosing to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ!
When we turn to God and ask Him to be Lord of our lives, we become His child, fully adopted in His family.
It doesn’t matter how old we are, or what we’ve done. We aren’t a distant relation or just “sort of” related. He is our Father!
“For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” – Romans 8:15 NKJV
The apostle Paul was addressing believers, telling them not to live by fear of the law.
Instead, they should live Christian lives, obeying by the power of the Holy Spirit. This verse contains two beautiful points about God being our Father.
The first point tells us we are not required to be coupled with fear; we are instead willingly adopted by God, and given the Holy Spirit.
The second point describes how we call out to the Lord – “Abba, Father.”
The word Abba is described in Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words as a more personal name for God. Many liken this word to a child calling their father “Daddy.”
Both of these aspects are sweet reminders that no matter our family status on earth, Christians are members of the family of God, with God as our Father.
God is not only our Father, but He is our defender. In these Bible verses about orphans, take a look at how God desires justice for orphans.
“He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing.” – Deuteronomy 10:18 NIV
In earlier verses, we saw God's provision for the fatherless and the widow. But in this verse, we are reminded of God’s defense for them.
God wants us to treat others as we would want to be treated. Defending the cause of those who need help is a worthy endeavor.
“If you really change your ways and your actions and deal with each other justly, if you do not oppress the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow and do not shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not follow other gods to your own harm, then I will let you live in this place, in the land I gave your ancestors for ever and ever.” – Jeremiah 7:5-7 NIV
When God was looking for repentance from the Israelites, He spoke through Jeremiah and asked for real change. He specifically told them not to oppress the foreigner, the fatherless, or the widow.
The Lord watches over orphans, and we are reminded again and again that He will take up for their cause. He will not stand for oppression.
Those who oppress the defenseless will suffer the consequences of their sin.
“Then I will come near to you for judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, the adulterers, against those who swear falsely, those who oppress the wage earner in his wages or the widow or the orphan, and those who turn away the stranger from justice and do not fear Me,” says the Lord of armies.” – Malachi 3:5 NASB
Another indictment of those who would oppress orphans shows up in Malachi 3. The oppressors are grouped with sorcerers, adulterers, liars, and cheaters.
Taking advantage of orphans is sinful, and the Lord will harshly judge those who do so.
“Thus says the Lord of hosts, Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another, 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 7:9-10 ESV
This is another reminder that the Lord forbids an improvement of your situation by taking advantage of someone in need.
It describes a situation in which God’s people were doing some of the right things, but were also doing a lot of wrong things, and not listening to the Lord.
God told them through Zechariah to show justice and mercy to each other, to render true judgements, and to not take advantage of those in need, including orphans.
“Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow's cause.” – Isaiah 1:17 ESV
Again, we are reminded of what God considers true ministry. Many of these ministries have this trait in common: it puts us in service to someone who is unlikely to be able to return the favor.
Helping those in desperate need is a selfless ministry. It can go unnoticed, with few accolades from others.
Yet it reflects the love of God. God’s love, mercy and provision are infinite, and He will give far more to us than we could ever return to Him. We can serve others in the same way.
Prayer for Orphans
O Lord, We lift up these orphan children to you, as well as young men and women no longer with their parents. They are precious to You, and to us.
Bring them the help that they need, and shield them from anyone who might bring harm. Show them today how much they are loved!
May they know you as their Heavenly Father, In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Overall, the Bible consistently teaches that God views orphans with compassion and expects His followers to extend love and support to them.
Caring for orphans is not only a moral duty but also an expression of our faith and obedience to God's commandments, reflecting God's loving and protective nature towards the vulnerable in society.
The Bible conveys a consistent message of God's compassion, justice, and love for the vulnerable.
These teachings guide us as believers to act with kindness, mercy, and a sense of responsibility towards orphans, echoing the divine imperative to care for those who lack support and protection.
It reinforces the idea that our actions toward orphans are not just acts of charity but are deeply rooted in the core principles of our faith.