What does rich in faith in James 2:5 mean?. Is the same concept mentioned in the other verses below?

I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich) and the slander of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.Revelation 2:9

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich. 2 Corinthians 8:9

3 Answers 3


I spent a large part of 14 years living in a tent in Mexico, building homes for the poor, and had to rely on God greatly. I appreciate others' personal experiences, too. However, that is homiletics, not hermeneutics.

In hermeneutics, we call the construction in James 2:5 a "metaphor". The well-known concept of being rich (as "the world" defines it, which the audience is assumed to understand) is extended to the concept of "trust", and simply means in both cases "to have a lot of it", typically with the additional implication that most others have less of it.

A hermeneutic perspective might also discuss the agonistic honor system of value in James' day in order to understand more about what the audience was assumed to know: what exactly it meant to them to be "rich" (as opposed to what we mean today). But that doesn't seem important to carry across the metaphor--it doesn't really alter the meaning.

A hermeneutic perspective might also discuss the meaning of "πίστις" as an interpersonal dynamic of "trust" in one's patron rather than a static "faith" in impersonal ideology. But that has a centuries-long history of flame wars (and physical wars) and won't be answered definitively here, and doesn't seem to be what you're asking. Whatever "πίστις" means, being "rich in πίστις" means, metaphorically, to have a lot of it compared to others.


What does “rich in faith ” in James 2:5 mean?

NET Bible "5 Listen, my dear brothers and sisters![l] Did not God choose the poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom that he promised to those who love him?

The same concept is mentioned in the other verses Rev. 2:9, and 2Cor. 8:9

All verse from James chapter 2 NET Bible.

MANY say that they have faith in God. Yet, mere professed faith is as lifeless as a corpse. “Faith, if it does not have works, is dead in itself,” wrote the disciple James. He also said that God-fearing Abraham had faith that “worked along with his works.”

Good works make you rich in faith. (Read James 2:1-26)


1/ The brothers are showing prejudice, prefering the rich above the poor,thus commiting sin.

6 But you have dishonored the poor![m] Are not the rich oppressing you and dragging you into the courts? 9 But if you show prejudice, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as violators.[q]

2/ The brothers should practice the kingly law

8 But if you fulfill the royal law as expressed in this scripture,[o] “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,”[p] you are doing well. 10 For the one who obeys the whole law but fails[r] in one point has become guilty of all of it.[s]

3/ Show Your Faith by What You Do-Faith produces fine works.

14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters,[x] if someone claims to have faith but does not have works? Can this kind of faith[y] save him?[z] 15 If a brother or sister[aa] is poorly clothed and lacks daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, keep warm and eat well,” but you do not give them what the body needs,[ab] what good is it?

4/ James exhorts true Christians to be merciful to one another,

13 For judgment is merciless for the one who has shown no mercy. But mercy triumphs over[w] judgment.

5/ Abraham justified by works

21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? 22 You see that his faith was working together with his works and his faith was perfected by works. 23 And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Now Abraham believed God and it was counted to him for righteousness,”[aj] and he was called God’s friend.[ak]

6/ Rahab the prostitute also justified by works .

25 And similarly, was not Rahab the prostitute also justified by works when she welcomed the messengers and sent them out by another way? 26 For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.


2 Corinthians 8:9 is referring to the Glory and Honor and true riches that Jesus had before the world was. (John 17:5) He left that and took on the form of flesh.(Phillipians 2:7,8) Him taking on flesh allowed us to become rich, He is that Tree of Life, that we may eat of and live forever.

James 2:5 relates with Revelation 2:9 very well. Historically they were very poor, but when everything is taken from you or discarded, your trust and faith increases tremendously because you are relying on the Lord, many times for your next meal, as well as protection. It is prophetic as well because during tribulation or the time of the antichrist, you may not have food, you will have to rely on him for that as well as shelter, protection, guidance... and everything.

I lived on the streets for a total of 9 years, getting rid of my bars of silver, gold, and possessions and gave myself to intensely searching the scriptures daily and sharing it with others. He massively increased my faith (Romans 10:17) and though I didn't have much, he was very faithful in always providing for me. I could lay down and sleep at night, outside without fear, believing in his promise of protection.(Psalm 4:8 * Isaiah 26:3) He showed me the true riches and now I can walk through this world without fear as He has proved Himself to be true to His Word.

Psalm 91 gives me great hope for the future and during the things that will be coming upon this world.

2 Corinthians 6:10 As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.

Proverbs 13:7 There is that maketh himself rich, yet hath nothing: there is that maketh himself poor, yet hath great riches. (Finding those in need to give to will increase the riches inside of you, as well as increase the faith in others)

The motive has to be love, otherwise it is wood, hay, or stubble.

Many of the poor have become humbled and are able to hear God speaking to them plus they have less distractions. The scriptures say that He will arise to humble the whole earth.

Revelation 3:17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.