What Does the Bible Say About Feeding the Hungry?
Published March 9, 2023
For some of us, food is not really a problem. Whenever we’re hungry, we just open the fridge or order food online. But for millions of people around the world, being able to eat at least once a day is already a luxury.
According to a United Nations report, around 828 million people were affected by hunger in 2021 alone. Though grim, this statistic is an eye-opener. It shows how much of the world is barely hanging on just to survive every single day.
But while reading about these numbers, we can’t help but wonder: what does the Bible say about feeding the hungry?
As it turns out, when it comes to helping the poor and feeding the hungry, the Bible is a great resource. From the old to the new testament, there’s no shortage of Biblical stories and verses about showing compassion and generosity to those who starve – both physically and spiritually.
Hunger and Poverty in the Bible
When we think of hungry people, we often think about poor, undernourished individuals who are all skin and bones. But in the Bible, hunger does not just refer to physical starvation. Man, after all, does not just live by bread alone (Matthew 4:4).
The scriptures recognize both physical and spiritual hunger. The former can be satisfied by food, while the latter can only be met by partaking in the Bread of Life Himself (John 6:35).
In other words, simply giving food to someone may not be enough. Sometimes, people’s needs go beyond physical nourishment. There are people who can afford to eat every kind of food in the world, but even that cannot quell the hunger in their souls.
Does that mean we shouldn’t share our food with the hungry?
Absolutely not. By recognizing the two types of hunger, the Bible is telling us that we should share more than just our food. It’s telling us that we should help not only those who hunger for physical food but also those who are hungry in spirit.
What the Bible Says About Feeding the Hungry
As humans, we all have that basic responsibility to care for our brethren, especially the less fortunate. As they say, no man is an island. Everyone needs something from everyone. That’s why the Bible puts an emphasis on feeding the hungry and caring for those in need as an important aspect of living a faithful life.
That said, here are some of the best bible verses about feeding the hungry.
Bible Verses About Giving Food to Others
- To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” – Romans 12:20
- For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, – Matthew 25:35
- 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. – Isaiah 58:10
- 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 3:11
- Whoever has a bountiful eye will be blessed, for he shares his bread with the poor. – Proverbs 22:9
- And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward. – Matthew 10:42
- Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 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 25:37-40
- If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat, and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. – Proverbs 25:21
- And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. – Deuteronomy 8:3
Bible Verses About Helping Others
- What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. – James 2:14-18
- Whoever gives to the poor will not want, but he who hides his eyes will get many a curse. – Proverbs 28:27
- 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? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. – 1 John 3:17-18
- Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. – Romans 12:13
- Whoever oppresses a poor man insults his Maker, but he who is generous to the needy honors him. – Proverbs 14:31
- When you reap your harvest in your field and forget a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it. It shall be for the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow, that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. – Deuteronomy 24:19
- Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed. – Proverbs 19:17
- Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? – Isaiah 58:7
- Whoever closes his ear to the cry of the poor will himself call out and not be answered. – Proverbs 21:13
- She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy. – Proverbs 31:20
- If among you, one of your brothers should become poor, in any of your towns within your land that the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart or shut your hand against your poor brother, but you shall open your hand to him and lend him sufficient for his need, whatever it may be. – Deuteronomy 15:7-8
- A righteous man knows the rights of the poor; a wicked man does not understand such knowledge. – Proverbs 29:7
- Bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ. – Galatians 6:2
- 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
- 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
- The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; – Isaiah 61:1-2
What Jesus Says About Feeding the Hungry
- Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. – John 6:35
- Now when it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the day is now over; send the crowds away to go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” But Jesus said, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” They said to him, “We have only five loaves here and two fish.” And he said, “Bring them here to me.” Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass, and taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over. And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children. – Matthew 14:15-21
- Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. – Matthew 5:7
- But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” – Matthew 4:4
- For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread the fathers ate and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” Jesus said these things in the synagogue, as he taught at Capernaum. – John 6:55-59
It’s easy to get caught up in our own lives and become blind to those suffering around us. However, we can only truly fulfill our purpose on Earth when we start extending a helping hand every chance we get. But more than helping others, being able to empathize with their struggles is equally as crucial.
By reading these passages and understanding what the Bible says about feeding the hungry, we can strive to make a difference in our lives and the lives of others. This is a perfect way to step outside ourselves and be part of something more meaningful: a more compassionate, loving world built on true empathy for our neighbors.
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About The Author
Judy Ponio is a professional writer and devoted Christian. She has a passion for writing about topics related to morality and helping the poor and homeless. She is the lead author for the Our Father’s House Soup Kitchen blog.
Correct Digital, Inc is paid by private donors to provide website digital marketing services to this non-profit organization.