What Is Charity In The Bible

Charity is discussed often in the Bible and is expressed in multiple ways. The majority of references can be found in the New Testament and the Book of Sirach as well as other books. To begin with, in Hebrew, the word for charity is derived from the term hesed, which could mean both “kindness” and “mercy”. So beginning from this point of view, it can be assumed that Biblical charity includes mercy, kindness, empathy, and compassion.

The Apostle Paul gives a fuller meaning to charity in his famous letter to the Corinthians. In it, he says that charity is much more than simply giving to those who are in need. It is a love that can be given not only to individuals, but to an entire community—and is given with a sincere heart. Paul even goes on to explain that charity is a love given out of obligation and respect for what others have done, not out of desire to gain something in return. “If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.”

In relation to this, the Bible encourages generosity, kindness and respect for others—which can all be seen as forms of charity. This concept is seen in the many stories we are told throughout the Bible, such as the story of the Good Samaritan, in which a traveler helps a man who has been beaten and robbed—perhaps the ultimate act of charity.

The Bible speaks of charity in many different ways, but the most profound is its discussion of charity as an act of love—“And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13). Love is often equated with charity and is seen as the foundation for a strong spiritual life. So despite the fact that charity is often associated with material goods and money, it can also include spiritual gifts and intangible acts.

Furthermore, it can be argued that charity is not only about helping those in need, but also about taking responsibility for our own lives and helping others to do the same. For example, in Isaiah 58:6-7, we are told of the importance of helping those who are suffering and in need and of offering valuable advice and assistance to others. In this way, charity can be seen as an investment in one’s own spirit and the spirit of the community—and can lead to greater spiritual growth and understanding.

Finally, the Bible encourages us to give freely and generously to those in need—without any expectation of receiving something in return. This concept of charity extends beyond simply giving money—it can also mean giving our time, energy, and attention to those who are in need—and it is an attitude of selflessness that can make us all better people.

Love vs. Charity

The Bible often speaks of the value of charity, along with love. Love is often noted in the Bible to be the greatest kind of charity. Furthermore, it is suggested that without love, even if we give all our possessions and resources to others, that it is still worthless. In 1 Corinthians 13:3, it states “If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.” This implies that charity requires love in order to be of worth. Therefore, love is seen to be more than just a mere act of charity, and must include an element of helping others purely out of a genuine desire to do so, without any expectation of reward.

Love is also seen to be the driving force behind charity. If we act out of a genuine desire to help others without any expectation of return, then we are engaging in love filled charity. Even if we are unsuccessful in providing help to those in need, so long as our desire to help them is genuine, it is still an act of love filled charity. Therefore, charity should ultimately be seen as an act of love, even if we may sometimes not be successful in providing help.

Valuable Acts of Charity

The Bible speaks highly of acts of charity, and offers many examples of what types of charitable acts can be seen as valuable. One of the most prominent acts of charity as seen in the Bible is that of giving to the poor. Both the Old Testament and the New Testament offer examples of giving to those in need. The prophet Abraham is known to have given generously to those in need, just as Jesus preached the same message.

Another important act of charity is that of forgiveness. The Bible calls for people to forgive one another, and to offer mercy to those deserving it. This can be seen as a form of charity as it helps heal relationships, and allows us to forgive those who we may feel have wronged us. It is also seen to be a form of selfless charity as it helps us become better people and strengthens our own spiritual growth.

Furthermore, charitable acts can also take the form of providing guidance and teaching others. In many places throughout the Bible, it is seen that those who offer guidance and counsel are highly praised, and this is seen to be a form of charity. It shows the importance of not only providing material help to those in need, but also spiritual and moral help as well.


The Bible gives us a clear understanding of what charity is, and what it encompasses. The main message of charity is that it is an act of love, and must be conducted with the utmost sincerity and respect. Additionally, the Bible touches upon valuable charitable acts such as giving to the poor, forgiving others, and providing spiritual guidance and counsel. In this way, the Bible encourages people to be charitable and to act in genuine selfless ways.

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