This week in chapel, Dr. Mariano Avila called us to notice how strange the words of Matthew 5:3 are: “blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.” While they may be strange, these words in many ways describe the character that followers of Jesus must have. They describe a character that reflects who Jesus was.

In his chapel message, Professor Avila explores both what “blessing” means, as well as what “poor in spirit” means. What characteristics does a person need in order to enter into this blessing? It has to do with our attitude toward God, our neighbors and, in this context, our attitude toward riches. He spends the remainder of his message exploring how being “poor in spirit” affects each of these three areas of our lives.


Dr. Mariano Avila is a professor of New Testament at Calvin Theological Seminary and serves at his local church as well. He has earned numerous post-graduate degrees in both Mexico and the United States, including two doctorates and a Th.M. Dr. Avila has worked in multiple Bible translation projects and committees and has published many articles and books. He is married to Rosa Maria, and they have two married sons and one grandson.