Socialism is a political system that has ebbed and flowed in geopolitics since the late 1800’s. Its various forms range from labor class organizations to Marxism to Facism to full-on Communism. Leaders of socialism or the regimes themselves are recognized as anti-religion and are often criminally or even violently opposed to any public display of worship…even possessing a Bible.

As such, an article that argues six Bible passages “that are blatantly socialist” is a perfect place to start for the Bible Study Framework. Let’s check out the six plus one more in Acts that is often connected to the movement.

“The first requisite for the happiness of the people is the abolition of religion.”

“From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs”

Karl Marx, German German philosopher and socialist revolutionary (1818-1883)

how Scripture answers "Is socialism in the Bible?"

None of these passages1,2,3,4,5,6,7 are speaking about or advocating for socialism. It’s true that the Bible advocates for charity, sharing and community, as some of these passages point out6,7. However, these individual qualities are taught outside of any political system, including socialism. Understanding “Christian charity” is driven by the Christian’s call to view worldly possessions subordinate to God1,2,3,4. The Christian’s faith, hope and trust are in God alone1,3,5,6.

the answer above is based on and footnoted with the following Scripture Blocks
1
And Jesus said to his disciples, Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.
Jesus told his disciples a truth: it is hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven.  Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.

After making this statment to the disciples, they were “astonished” and immediately asked how it was that anyone could be saved.  Jesus answered, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (vs 26).

How does it inform?

Jesus was teaching that nobody (rich or poor) was able to enter heaven (“kingdom of God”) on their own. He is not condeming the rich.

Does it apply? Yes

2
And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. He said to them, It is written, My house shall be called a house of prayer, but you make it a den of robbers.
Jesus entered the temple and expelled all those conducting commerce, overturning the tables of money-changers and the seats of those selling pigeons [for sacrifices].  He said that it was written [in the Law] that My house shall be a called a house of prayer, but you have turned it into a den of robbers.

Jesus has just returned to Jerusalem and has entered his final week before being crucified.  He received a triumphal entry to the city by the people, entering on a donkey (vs 7) and stirring up the whole city (vs 10).

How does it inform?

Jesus quotes from a passage in Isaiah (56:7) to reset the purpose for God’s holy temple. He is not against the commerce per se, only that it is conducted in a holy place and sanctuary for worship to God.

Does it apply? Yes

3
No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.

Nobody can serve two people [at the same time], for either one will be hated while the other loved, or one will be cherished while the other despised.  You cannot serve God and money.

This truth is among many taught by Jesus during his sermon on the mount, recorded by Matthew in chapters 5-7.  Throughout it, Jesus is introducing and describing living out a spiritually-minded life.
How does it inform?

“Money” here is a standin for physical possessions or, as Jesus’ sermon in full context is introducing, the spiritual over/against the physical. He’s not condemning wealth or money with this statement, simply illustrating one’s service (bowing down) to one or the other.

Luke has an account of this same/similar sermon4. There he records the same point with different wording (6:24) – “But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.”  Again, if possessions in this life are your god then you have recieved your reward already.

Does it apply? Yes

4
But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.
To those that are truly listening, love your enemies and do good to those that hate you.  Bless those that curse you and pray for them.  If someone strikes you, let them strike you again.  If someone takes your coat, let them take your hat as well. Give to anyone that begs from you, and don’t demand your belongings if one takes them away.  Treat others however you wish they would treat you.

Luke’s account of Jesus’ ‘sermon on the mount’ given at the same time as Matthew 5-7 records or possibly a simliar but different occurrence.  Either way, the same points are made but with different wording and Matthew’s account is lengthier.

How does it inform?

Jesus is making the point to love your enemies and don’t return a “wrong for a wrong” and the broader point is that the Christian should be looking the God/heaven for their spiritual reward.

Does it apply? Yes

5
He shall judge between the nations, and shall decide disputes for many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.

He [God] will judge between the Gentiles, and decide disputes for many people.  They will convert their weapons into farm implements.  Gentile will not be against Gentile and they will be at peace.

A verse in the midst of a passage describing what “shall come to pass in the latter days” (vs2).  The prophets are repleat with passages describing events and circumstances to occur “in that day” or “in the latter days.”

In this case and passage in particular, an almost identical passage is spoken by the prophet Micah (

4:1-4ff
).  Interestingly, the same but opposite point is made by the prophet Joel (
3:9-12
).

In Isaiah/Micah, the call is to prepare for peace (convert your weapons into farm implements), while Joel’s call is for war (convert your farm implements into weapons).

How does it inform?

God’s prophecy through Isaiah of the ultimate sovereignty of God and an eventual installation of one to judge among all people (e.g. “nations”). This same vision of “swords” and “plowshares” is noted by three prophets in total making its meaning of the two outcomes for God’s final judgement rather clear — either peace with God (for the righteous) or war/conflict with God (for the unrighteous).

!! study note: context is extra important here !!

Does it apply? Yes

6
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

Happy are the meek, for they will inherit the land.

Jesus’ sermon on the mount (chap 5-7) recorded by Matthew and Luke.  Between the two accounts, it was apparently preached several times and earlier in his public ministry.  This verse is part of what’s commonly called “the beatitudes” where he outlines the characteristics of a citizen of God’s spiritual kingdom.  Each verse highlights a particular trait with a corresponding reward and should be understood altogether or cumulatively.

This “beatitude” in particular emphasizes being meek and speaks to a reward of inheriting the “earth” (e.g. land), something the 1st century Jew would be acutely aware of from the Promised Land in the Old Testament.

How does it inform?

Jesus’ message is a spiritual one, announcing the kingdom of God in the early days of his ministry. “Inherit the earth/land” spiritually applied is the inheritance of heaven promised to all the faithful who obey until the end.

Does it apply? Yes

7
And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need.
All who had obeyed were together in mind and purpose.  If anyone among them had a physical need, it was supplied by the contributions from others.

On the day of Pentecost when Jews made the pigramage from all over to celebrate in Jerusalem, Peter and the apostles preached the gospel of Jesus (vss 14-36).   As a result, 3,000 were convicted (vs 37) and converted (vs 41).  While some of that number may have returned to their homeland, those that remained “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers” (vs 42). 

How does it inform?

The new group of Christian’s shared with each other of their means, but more broadly had all things in common spiritually. This was the “fellowship” they enjoyed in the context (vss 42-47).

Does it apply? Yes

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If you know of some other verses or you have something to add to the verses already listed for this question please leave a comment below! We welcome the public discussion and will incorporate your input into the Framework above. We have nothing to hide and invite your help in considering all that God’s word has to say.

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