心靈貧乏的有福了 Blessed are the Poor in Spirit

經文: 馬太福音 5:3 (「八福」篇)

有一些人在經歷著某些方面的貧乏. 事實上他們也不一定真的貧困, 但是因為社會的某些標準, 使他們有點被看不起, 或者在其他人面前顯得有點不自在. 各種不同的原因會使人有這樣的貧乏感: 有些人因為職場的不順利 (失業、找不到工作、找不到理想的工作), 有些人因為婚姻的失敗 (夫妻關係不好、離婚), 有些人因為單身, 有些人因為身體有些殘疾, 有些人被認為或自認為長得不好看, 等等.

這些事情, 有一些我們可能認為不是那麼大不了. 但是世俗確實有它的某些標準和眼光, 使這些人覺得難受, 可是卻又無可奈何, 因為他們的情形不一定是他們想要的, 不一定是他們自己導致的, 也不一定是他們自己可以改變的. 長期下來, 他們心裡面有一種壓抑感, 有一種傷痛, 甚至有一種自卑感, 覺得自己好像真得比別人差.

這些人需要聽到主耶穌所宣告的福氣, 說在神的國度裡他們沒有比別人差. 在天國裡, 用的不是世俗的標準和眼光. 只要在耶穌基督裡, 大家都一樣!

很多人沒有注意到, 這是登山寶訓裡, 「八福」的第一福! 「靈裡貧窮的有福了, 因為天國是他們的!」

「虛心的人有福了」 (和合本), 原文直譯是「靈裡貧窮的有福了」 (Μακάριοι οἱ πτωχοὶ τῷ πνεύματι). 新譯本的「心靈貧乏的人有福了」是比較直接的翻法. 要理解這句話的意義, 我們必須知道耶穌到底在講那一些人.

很多人在「心靈」(τῷ πνεύματι) 方面有很多解釋, 但是我們必須注意到, 路加福音的平行經文只說: 「貧窮的有福了」 (Μακάριοι οἱ πτωχοί; 路6:20), 而路加福音確是強調物質貧窮的人(參考路 4:18, 7:22, 14:21), 所以這兩者 (心靈貧窮或物質貧窮) 必須要有可以和諧的解釋. 1 到底主耶穌是講物質貧窮, 還是心靈貧窮, 還是兩者都是?

簡單的說, 除非經文顯示出耶穌是在不同的場合講了兩個不同方面的真理, 不然我們不能把馬太福音和路加福音所講的看為不一樣的教導.2 大部份聖經學者都有注意到這問題, 也指出在第一世紀, 物質貧窮的人也是心靈貧窮的人.3 雖然如此, 很多的參考書仍然是講馬太時只講馬太的心靈貧窮, 講路加時只講路加的物質貧窮. 這是缺欠之一.

我們就來看看這些第一世紀中貧窮及心靈貧窮的人們. 了解他們的情形和心境, 能幫助我們裡解主耶穌的所說的「靈裡貧窮的有福了」.

這些貧窮的人, 常被人欺壓和看不起, 可是又不容易改變貧窮的環境. 法利賽人和文士的生活稍好一點. 但貧窮人書讀得少, 不太可能成為法利賽人或文士, 而且法利賽人或文士的生活也不一定是他們想追求的. 撒都該人比較富有. 這也因為他們和政府有點關係. 雖然按照原來的祭司制度, 只有亞倫的後裔才能當祭司, 但是一些撒都該人甚至透過賄絡的方法而取得祭司的位子 (因為作祭司也有一些利益). 窮人也沒有錢去賄絡. 真正認識神的窮人也不想這樣作. 再不然就是在政治上有些成就, 可是那時候的人認為政治界的人總是為外邦人做事情, 所以也不想作.

所以當時貧窮的人也貧窮, 也心靈貧窮, 卻又無奈, 也似乎沒有出路 (追求金錢也不是, 追求信仰也不是, 追求政治也不是). 但是他們內心並不是沒有神或不敬畏神. 或許第一世紀的艾賽尼人4也能使我們多了解一些當代人的心情. 這一派的人, 認為他們自己和國家處在的情形, 是因為很多人遠離了神而導致. 他們強調歸回神. 他們在貧乏中忍耐著, 但是他們盼望神為他們伸冤, 顯出他們雖被欺壓, 可是他們不是錯的.5

當然, 不是每一個第一世紀的猶太人都是艾賽尼人, 但是有不少人持有相同的想法.6 所以當我們考慮當時的窮人和他們的心靈狀況時, 我們就會更清楚的理解主耶穌所宣告的福氣. 主耶穌是說, 這些從世俗角度看起來貧窮的人, 他們既仰望等候神, 神會祝福他們.

今天也有不少這樣的人. 或許你在經濟上貧窮, 被人看不起. 或許你在金錢上並沒有缺乏, 但你有其它方面的缺乏, 以致你遭受別人的看不起或異樣的眼光, 到後來你心靈也受了損傷. 願主耶穌親自安慰你. 希望你相信在天國裡, 你是一樣蒙福的. 在永恆裡是這樣, 現在也是一樣 (雖然有時候連基督徒都不理解你, 但總有真正認識神的人會理解). 希望你在這「好像貧乏」的情況中忍耐和仰望神, 也願你真的聽見主耶穌說: 「心靈貧乏的人有福了, 因為天國是他們的. 」7

  1. 關於「貧窮」和「心靈貧窮」的多種解釋, 大致上可分成單指物質貧窮、單指心靈貧窮、和物質心靈皆貧窮三類. Nolland, J. 在 The Gospel of Matthew : A commentary on the Greek text (2005) 裡有很好的摘要.
  2. 如果主耶穌講的是同一個真理, 他所指的也應該是同一批人; 所以我們不能在講馬太的時候就單講心靈的貧窮, 講路加時就單講物質的貧窮. 我們也不能說耶穌當時講的是心靈的貧窮, 而路加因為顧念窮人, 就把耶穌講的改為物質的貧窮; 也不能說耶穌當時講的是物質的貧窮, 而馬太認為這樣講不太好, 就把耶穌講的改為心靈的貧窮.
  3. Hagner, D. A. (2002). Vol. 33A: Word Biblical Commentary : Matthew 1-13. Word Biblical Commentary (p. 91). Dallas: Word, Incorporated. “The poor are almost always poor in spirit; the poor in spirit are almost always the poor”
  4. The Essenes,又翻成愛瑟人、愛聖人、艾色尼人、 等不同音譯.
  5. 參Nolland, J. The Gospel of Matthew : A commentary on the Greek text, Grand Rapids: W.B. Eerdmans, Paternoster Press, 2005, pp. 200-1
  6. 很多人想到艾賽尼人時會想到在昆蘭隱居的禁慾主義團體, 但四海古卷的發現和研究, 使我們知道艾賽尼人不一定都是禁慾主義, 也不一定都隱居. 有很多就像一般普通人一樣生活在人群中
  7. 傳統的解釋通常說心靈貧窮是指一個人覺得心靈破產了, 覺得自己甚麼都沒有, 所以只能完全依靠神. 但是這個解釋除了好像也合理 (而且很動聽感人) 之外, 並沒有強烈的上下文及背景的支持.

Comments

心靈貧乏的有福了 Blessed are the Poor in Spirit — 3 Comments

  1. Thanks for your sharing of these verses. Actually, I also checked the meaning of the word πτωχοί as prepared the bible study of Luke. Actually, the same word πτωχοί was also used at Matthew, but the difference is it is add πτωχοὶ τῷ πνεύματι in Matthew.
    As checked at the Strong Concordance, it define the word πτωχοὶ as following:
    Definition: poor, destitute, spiritually poor, either in a good sense (humble devout persons) or bad.
    So, does it mean πτωχοὶ already has the meaning “poor in spirit”? If so, Luke already had the meaning “poor in spirit”, but Matthew stressed more “poor in spirit in spirit” (πτωχοὶ τῷ πνεύματι).
    Since you are expert of Greek, maybe you can answer my question.

    • Wei, thanks for reading the article in details! I am not an “expert in Greek,” but I will try to explain with a little more detail:

      πτωχός (the lexical form of πτωχοί) has the basic meaning of economically poor/disadvantaged. In Luke, aside from a couple of quotes from the Old Testament, it is always used to mean this way. In the Beatitudes recorded in Luke (Lk 6:20), it most likely has this meaning as well, especially since Luke also contrasts it with the rich in Lk 6:24-25. The rich is not “rich in spirit” in that verse.

      πτωχός can also be used metaphorically (just like in Chinese when we say someone is poor, we don’t necessarily mean economically). It can also be used to mean spiritually poor, but this has to be determined by context. It usually means depending on God due to one’s distressed stage or poverty. So even in its spiritual meaning, it still contains the element of economically poor or distressed.

      But that the word can has a range of meaning does not mean that we can pick the meaning that we think fit. It means that we have several possibilities, but we need to determine from the context what the authors mean.

      The point that I am trying to say in the article is that Luke and Matthew are talking about the same thing, so both means “poor in spirit” and both mean “poor economically.” The group of people who fits this double meaning are those who were poor (or distressed if we allow some generalization) but who turned to God and waited upon Him. With that, the application that I mentioned is slightly different from popular explanation (although I don’t disagree with the popular explanation that those who are devout and pious and completely rely on God are blessed, but I think it misses the distressed part).

      This is in contrast to some explanation that “the poor in spirit” simply means people who are devout or pious. Doing so would be ignoring Luke’s passage and emphasis. In fact, the famous and authoritative lexicon, the BDAG also does that. On Luke passage, it says πτωχός means “economically disadvantaged” for the reason I mentioned above (i.e. the comparison with Lk 6:24), but on Matthew passage, it says πτωχός means “lacking in spiritual worth.” But the two cannot be different!

      To be fair, BDAG does mention that this use of “lacking in spiritual worth” (outside of the Bible) can mean “the Poor among the Saints in Jewish Christianity and Qumran.” I think this part is often missed, so some people simply take the “lacking in spiritual worth” and explain things from there.

      In general, all tools (Bible dictionaries, commentaries, lexicons, etc.) must be used intellectually and carefully. After all, there are always some human decisions made, and we need to be able to discern them before we agree or disagree with them.

      I don’t know if this explanation is clear. I have a struggle of writing the articles short yet contain explanation and to be readable to different levels (any believer but also serious Bible students), and maybe it is not always possible. I hope the article is not unclear or becoming too difficult to read. If there is any part that is not clear, please ask again.

      God bless you!

  2. Thanks! I think your writing is very clear and understandable!
    I hope that you can write a bible commentary one day, a commentary that everyone can use for study.
    Yes, πλουσίοις does not have the meaning “rich in spirit” at that verse. So, from the nearby context, it is the weakness part if we only pick “Spiritual” part of the meaning. And from your description of background and the same story described at Matthew, I agreed with your point of double meaning and their application to the people at that time and today.
    Thanks again.

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