What Does Charity Mean in the Bible?

When it comes to charity, what does the Bible say? Read on to find out what scripture has to say about this important topic.

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The Hebrew word for charity

The Hebrew word for charity is “tzedakah.” It is often translated as “righteousness” or “justice.” The word encompasses giving to those in need, but it also includes the idea of acting justly in all spheres of life. In other words, charity is not just about giving money to the poor; it is about living a righteous life.


The Hebrew word for charity, “tzedakah,” is derived from the root word “tzedek,” meaning justice or righteousness. In the Bible, tzedakah is not just giving to those in need; it is an act of justice and righteousness. It is an obligation to provide for those who are vulnerable and helpless, and to make sure that everyone has what they need to live a dignified life.

Tzedakah encompasses more than just financial assistance; it includes acts of loving-kindness, mercy, and compassion. It is about giving of oneself in order to help another person, without expecting anything in return.

The concept of tzedakah is central to the Jewish tradition, and it is one of the most important values that we try to instill in our children. We believe that giving tzedakah brings blessing into our lives, and that it is an essential part of living a meaningful and purposeful life.

Gemilut Hasadim

The Hebrew word gemilut hasadim is often translated as “acts of kindness.” It is derived from the root g-m-l, which means “to deal generously with someone.” Someone who performs gemilut hasadim is called a gomer, which means “doer of good.”

The word hasadim appears in the Bible in Leviticus 19:17, where it is commands that we are to “love your neighbor as yourself”:

You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.

The word hasadim is also used in Deuteronomy 15:7-8, where it commands us to be generous to the needy:

If there is among you a needy man, from one of your brothers within any of your gates in your land which the Lord your God gives you, you shall not harden your heart or shut your hand from your needy brother; but you shall open your hand wide to him and lend him sufficient for his need, whatever it may be.

The Greek word for charity

The Greek word for charity is ‘agape’. It is often translated as ‘love’, but it has a different meaning. Agape is a selfless love that is given unconditionally. It is the highest form of love and is often associated with God’s love for humanity.


Agape is the Greek word for love, and it is used throughout the Bible to describe God’s love for us and our love for others. In the New Testament, Jesus often speaks of agape love, and he demonstrates it perfectly through his sacrificial death on the cross.

When we love others with agape love, we are motivated by a desire to see them grow and thrive, not by our own selfish desires. This type of selfless love is characterized by giving freely without expecting anything in return. It is the kind of love that Jesus showed us, and it is the highest form of love that we can strive to attain.

The Parable of the Good Samaritan

In the Parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus tells the story of a man who is robbed and beaten and left for dead. A priest and a Levite pass by without helping, but a Samaritan—a foreigner and an outcast—stops to help. The Samaritan bandages the man’s wounds, takes him to an inn, and pays for his lodging.

The story is told in response to the question, “Who is my neighbor?” The answer is anyone in need, regardless of race, religion, or social status. The Samaritan shows us what it means to love our neighbor as ourselves.

The word “charity” is used in the King James Version of the Bible to translate several different words with different shades of meaning: love, kindness, goodwill, benevolence, and helpfulness. In this parable, charity seems to mean active helpfulness—going out of one’s way to meet the needs of another.

We are called to follow the example of the Good Samaritan and show charity toward those in need. We are also called to be charitable in our thoughts and words toward others. When we speak kindly and helpfully instead of harshly and critically, we show charity. When we forgive instead of holding a grudge, we show charity. When we look for the best in people instead of focusing on their faults, we show charity.

The Bible tells us that God is love (1 John 4:8). Charity is an expression of that love—a love that goes beyond simply feeling good toward someone; it’s a love that takes action on behalf of others.

The Greatest Commandment

“And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” -Mark 12:30-31

Charity is defined in the Merriam-Webster dictionary as “generous actions or donations to aid the poor, ill, or disabled.” When we think of charity, we often think of giving money or material goods to someone in need. However, the word “charity” has a much deeper meaning than simply giving to those less fortunate than us.

The Bible tells us that charity is one of the most important things we can do. In fact, Jesus says it is the second most important commandment after loving God. Why is charity so important? Because when we show love and compassion to others, we are reflecting the character of God. We are also demonstrating our faith by putting our trust in God that He will provide for us and meet our needs.

When we give to those in need, we are not only helping them meet their physical needs, but we are also showing them the love of Christ. We are showing them that they are valuable and worth sacrificing for. We are demonstrating to them that they are not alone in this world and that someone cares about them. Ultimately, when we show charity to others, we are pointing them to the ultimate source of hope and help – Jesus Christ.

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