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Alms

Bible DictionarySmith's Bible Dictionary
The duty of alms-giving, especially in kind, consisting chiefly in portions to be left designedly from produce of the field, the vineyard and the oliveyard, (Leviticus 19:9,10; 23:22; 15:11; 24:19; 26:2-13; Ruth 2:2) is strictly enjoined by the law. Every third year also, (14:28) each proprietor was directed to share the tithe of his produce with "the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless and the widow." The theological estimate of alms-giving among the Jews is indicated in the following passages: (Job 31:17; Proverbs 10:2; 11:4; Esther 9:22; Psalms 112:9; Acts 9:36) the case of Dorcas; (Acts 10:2) of Cornelius; to which may be added Tobit 4:10,11; 14:10,11, and Ecclus. 3:30; 40:24. The Pharisees were zealous in almsgiving, but too ostentatious their mode of performance, for which our Lord finds fault with them. (Matthew 6:2) The duty of relieving the poor was not neglected by the Christians. (Matthew 6:1-4; Luke 14:13; Acts 20:35; Galatians 2:10) Regular proportionate giving was expected. (Acts 11:30; Romans 15:25-27; 1 Corinthians 16:1-4)
  
Bible DictionaryEaston's Bible Dictionary
Not found in the Old Testament, but repeatedly in the New. The Mosaic legislation (Lev. 25:35; Deut. 15:7) tended to promote a spirit of charity, and to prevent the occurrence of destitution among the people. Such passages as these, Ps. 41:1; 112:9; Prov. 14:31; Isa. 10:2; Amos 2:7; Jer. 5:28; Ezek. 22:29, would also naturally foster the same benevolent spirit. In the time of our Lord begging was common (Mark 10:46; Acts 3:2). The Pharisees were very ostentatious in their almsgivings (Matt. 6:2). The spirit by which the Christian ought to be actuated in this duty is set forth in 1 John 3:17. A regard to the state of the poor and needy is enjoined as a Christian duty (Luke 3:11; 6:30; Matt. 6:1; Acts 9:36; 10:2, 4), a duty which was not neglected by the early Christians (Luke 14:13; Acts 20:35; Gal. 2:10; Rom. 15:25-27; 1 Cor. 16:1-4). They cared not only for the poor among themselves, but contributed also to the necessities of those at a distance (Acts 11:29; 24:17; 2 Cor. 9:12). Our Lord and his attendants showed an example also in this (John 13:29). In modern times the "poor-laws" have introduced an element which modifies considerably the form in which we may discharge this Christian duty.

 

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