On the material plane and spirit.
Μακάριοι οἱ πτωχοὶ τῷ πνεύματι , Ὅτιαὐτῶν ἐστιν ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν .
Blessed are the poor in the spirit for theirs is the kingdom of the heavens.
Almost all translations except for the Berean render the first part of this verse, “Blessed are the poor in Spirit…”. This is due to the fact that no matter how skilled you are in the Greek or Hebrew, your translation will always be limited by your revelation. To accept that translation means that it’s not the poor that are empowered to prosper, it’s the spiritually poor.
This is a nifty exercise that takes the real world application out of this verse and introduces a vague (but pious sounding) concept of spiritual poverty. I reject this interpretation in part because Christ was not addressing monks or the doctrinally nimble, he was addressing ‘the folks’, normal people that had come out to hear him. They desperately needed good news and the introduction of a vague spiritual ideal is never good news.
So I’m going for the straight rendering of this section, τῷ πνεύματι: in the spirit.
We learned yesterday about who the poor are and about this radical mandate that Christ brought to the earth. And we see that God has a preferential love for the poor, above the comfortable or the wealthy.
Now we see the process for this blessing and the avenue for walking in it.
There are two separate and distinct realities that we live in as human beings, the material and the spirit. Almost every religion and people group agree on this, even if they don’t agree on their different forms or functions.
There is a spirit realm and there is a material realm.
The material realm is made up of matter, things that you can see, hear, feel, taste and touch. It’s made up of things too small to physically see as well such as atoms. Yet everything in the material plane can be engaged with the physical senses, even if you need assistance in the form of microscopes or other technology.
We know what these sense knowledge entities are in the world due to description and inspection. From the time you were born, you’ve had people helping you to navigate this plane by describing its contents for you: water wet, fire hot, wall solid, tree fixed in place.
Once the description has been offered and accepted, you then become limited by it. Your navigation of the material plane is based on the information that you have.
So then you as a spirit have a soul (mind, will and emotions) and you live in a material body. The purpose of that body is as a vehicle you possess to navigate the material plane.
The spiritual plane is just as much a living reality as the material plane. It however is not sense knowledge based, it is formed by something greater than matter, in fact, it created matter.