What Are Alms In The Bible

Alms in the Bible

Alms have been part of the Bible long before its time. Alms are a significant part of the Bible. It is mentioned in the Old Testament and the New Testament, making it even more relevant today. The Hebrew word for alms is mattan and it is a form of charity, a giving of money or goods to someone in need or to a charitable cause. The giving of alms is an expression of love and concern for one’s neighbor.

The practice of alms in the Bible appears in three important contexts: when a person gives to someone in need, when a person gives to a charitable cause, and when a person gives for a spiritual purpose. Matthew 6:2 says “When therefore thou doest alms; when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth.” This is a reference to the practice of not showing off one’s charitable acts. Similarly, Proverbs 19:17 states, “He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the Lord; and that which he hath given will He pay him again.” Here, the giving of alms is seen as an act of homage to and appreciation of God.

Apart from donations to a charitable cause, the giving of alms can also be used as a means of spiritual worship. In the Bible, giving of alms is seen as a form of sacrifice to God or obligation to comply with certain commandments such as tithing. For example, in Deuteronomy 14:28-29, the Israelites are instructed to take a tenth of their crops and give it to the poor, foreigners, and other marginalized people. Furthermore, in Luke 12:33, it is said that those who provide what is necessary for others can denote their trust in God. Here, it is implied that by giving alms, a person is acknowledging total reliance on God and His provision.

The Bible talks about the alms giving practices of the early Christians in Acts 4:34-35. Here, it is said that “the multitude of believers…had all things common and they sold their possessions and goods and distributed them to all, as any had need.” Through their actions, these men and women showed how to follow Jesus’s example and put their faith into action through the giving of alms. This becomes the model for all believers to this day, who seek to follow the teachings of the Bible by giving of themselves.

Today, the giving of alms has become an integral part of the life of people of faith. Alms are still seen as a means to help those in need, whether it is donating to a charitable organization or providing for an individual. Alms are also seen as a way to show reverence to God and remain obedient to His commands. In terms of the act of alms giving, the Bible is quite clear on the importance of giving out of a generous heart, without any expectation of reward or recognition.

What Are the Benefits of Alms?

Alms giving serves to benefit both the giver and the recipient. On one hand, the giver benefits by having an opportunity to show love and concern to those in need, while on the other, the recipient is endowed with the needed assistance. In addition to the spiritual benefits, alms giving has practical applications as well. By offering alms, it enables communities to come together to help those who are less fortunate than others. Furthermore, research has found that providing financial assistance to those in need does more than just alleviate poverty; it has also shown to improve access to education and healthcare, reduce inequality, and provide economic opportunities for disadvantaged communities.

What Alms Should Be Given?

In terms of the type of alms that should be provided, this varies from situation to situation. While there is no one-size-fits-all answer, the Bible does provide some examples of what alms should be in certain circumstances. For instance, in the book of Leviticus, the Israelites are commanded to make an offering of the “first fruits” of their harvest, meaning that they should give their excess produce or goods to those in need. Furthermore, in Luke 14: 13-14, the Bible instructs people to provide the necessities of life to those who cannot provide for themselves. This includes giving shelter, food, or clothing.

What Are Alms According To Other Religions?

The giving of alms is also recognized in other religions besides Christianity. In Islam, for instance, it is an obligatory duty for every able-bodied Muslim to provide for those who are less fortunate and it is seen as a way to purify a person’s wealth. Similarly, in Hinduism, the practice of alms giving is deeply entrenched in its culture, as an act of compassion and generosity. Buddhists also recognize the importance of alms giving, as a way to express their compassion for those in need.

What Are Types of Alms According to the Bible?

The Bible has a clear distinction between two types of alms: obligatory alms and voluntary alms. Obligatory alms are those which are expected of everyone, while voluntary alms are those which are given out of one’s own will. Examples of obligatory alms include giving a tithe of one’s income, or giving the “first fruits” of one’s crop to the poor. Examples of voluntary alms are those given without any expectation of reward or recognition such gifts of food, clothing or shelter.

What Is the Significance of Alms?

The giving of alms is a way to express compassion and concern for one’s neighbor and to show reverence to God. It is an offering which should be given out of a generous heart and with a genuine intention to help those in need. By providing for others, a person is fulfilling the commandment to love one’s neighbor and simultaneously demonstrating a trust in God’s provision. The Bible is quite clear on the importance of alms giving and it remains a relevant spiritual practice to this day.


In conclusion, alms giving is an important part of the Bible. It is a way to help those in need and to show reverence to God. It is an act of compassion and generosity and it is exemplified by the early Christians in the Bible. Alms giving can be both obligatory and voluntary and it serves to benefit both the giver and the recipient. As a spiritual practice, alms giving remains relevant to this day and is a way to express faith through service.

Marcos Reyna is a Christian author and speaker. He is dedicated to helping create disciples of Christ through spreading the power of the gospel to others. He has written several books and articles on a variety of theological topics, including matters of faith, worship, biblical studies, practical ethics, and social justice. A trained theologian and devotee of spiritual writing, Marcos has a mission to spread Christian love everywhere. He lives with his family in Nashville, TN where he spends his days encouraging others to seek Christ's grace in all things.

Leave a Comment