Engaging our Faith

Scriptures on Justice and Advocacy
(Drawn from resources developed by the National Catholic Rural Life Conference, Bread for the World, and others.)

Do justice because God cares about poor people. This is something that Scripture tells us repeatedly.  And because God cares about poor people, God also calls us to not only care, but to take action.  Here are just a few examples.

Leviticus 19:9-10

Isaiah 58:1-10

Palms 72:12-14

Proverbs 14:31

Proverbs 22:9

Proverbs 22:22-23

Proverbs 28:27

Matthew 25:31-46

Luke 4:14-21

I John 3:16-18        

2. Do justice because God calls us to advocate for others. Scripture calls us to defend the rights of poor and hungry people, and to speak up to our nation’s leaders about issues that impact poor people and all people of God. Here are some key texts.

Psalm 82:1-5

Psalm 140:12

Proverbs 31:8-9

Jeremiah 22:11-17

Moses (Exodus 3:1-12)

The Book of Esther 

Biblical Texts on Justice and Mercy (Not an exhaustive list)

Examples from the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament)

Amos

2:6-7 The unjust trample on the heads of ordinary people

5:10-15 Hate what is evil, do right; establish justice

6:1, 3-6 Woe to the complacent and oppressive rich

8:4-7 The powerful trample on the poor and needy

Ecclesiastes

4:1-3 The power of oppressors and the weak

Exodus

3:1-20 God as liberator; frees God’s people from economic and political oppression

6:2-13 God the liberator

9:12-17 Earth is God’s gift to all creatures

22:25-27 Mercy and kindness toward neighbors

23:6-8 Legal systems should judge fairly

Ezekiel

34:1-16 Responsibilities of religious and civil leaders and authorities

34:17-23 Must you foul that which you need?

47:1-12 Cooperation of humans with land & water

Leviticus

19:9-18 Treat your neighbor with justice and mercy; love your neighbor as yourself

25 restoring the original balance between land and people

26:16-22 consequences of departing from God’s way

Micah

6:8 Act justly, love tenderly, walk humbly with God

Proverbs

8:22-31 God’s wisdom and power present in all unfolding of creation

21:3 Justice is more pleasing than sacrifice

21:13 Listen to the cry of the poor or your cry for help will not be heard

Examples from the New Testament

Acts

4:18-22 Obey God rather than people

4:32-35 True Christian community shares possessions

16:16-24 suffering by the public and imprisonment for preaching the truth; causing a disturbance

17:1-9 Paul thrown into jail for preaching Jesus and calling for change

Ephesians

4:11-16 The base for ministry is the community; the whole body grows and is built up by love

4:23-24 Put aside old misdirected ways for a new, fresh way of thinking

Galatians

5:1 You have been called to live in freedom

5:13-15 Use your freedom to serve others

Hebrews

10:24-25 Concern in Christian community

James

1:22-27 Be doers, not only hearers of the word

2:1-9 Love your neighbor, treat all with dignity

2:14-17 Faith without actions is dead

3:13-18 Peacemakers follow true wisdom

5:1-6 Riches obtained unjustly bring misery

John

13:34-35 Love – the distinctive characteristic of Christians

14:10-17 Those who believe in Christ will do the same and greater works through the power of the Spirit

1 John

4:7-12 If we love one another, God’s love is made perfect in us

4:19-21 We can’t love God without loving neighbor

Philippians

2:1-11 Unity and service; be a servant like Christ

Colossians

1:19-20 Christ reconciled all creation

1 Corinthians

11:17-34 Dishonoring the Lord’s supper, division in the community

12:24-26 If one suffers. All suffer

Luke

4:16-30 Jesus announces his mission to liberate people

6:20-26 Beatitudes, condemnation of oppressive and complacent rich

6:27-35 Make peace through nonviolence and love of enemies

6:46-49 Combine prayer with action

10:25-37 The Good Samaritan

12:13-21 A person’s worth is not determined by how much one owns

14:7-14 Humility and hospitality

22:24-27 Be a servant

24:49 Christ empowers us to continue his work

Mark

6:30-37 Give them something to eat yourself

9:35; 10:41-45 Be servants

10:17-31 An invitation to poverty

Matthew

5:1-11 Sermon on the Mount

5:23-25 Forgiveness and reconciliation

6:10 Do God’s will, build the Kingdom

7:21 Combine prayer with action

10:37-39 Take up the cross daily; lose life to gain life

15:32 Compassion and a sense of responsibility (feeding 4000)

23:23-24 Don’t neglect justice and mercy

25:12-30 The parable of the three servants

25:31-46 The last judgment; whatever we do to our neighbor, we do to Christ (works of mercy)

28:18-20 Make disciples of all

1 Peter

4:7-11 Put your gifts at the service of others

2 Peter

12:9-13; 16-17 One body in Christ, serving others

13:8-10 Our only debt is to love one another

14:17-19 The kingdom is justice, peace, and joy

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CONTACT INFO

Ms. Edith Rasell, Ph.D.
Minister for Economic Justice
700 Prospect Ave.
Cleveland,Ohio 44115
216-736-3709
raselle@ucc.org