What Does the Bible Say About the Responsibility of the Church Towards Refugees?

The issue of refugees and immigration can often be a contentious topic, even within the church. Yet, did you know the Bible has a lot to say about how we should treat strangers and foreigners in our land? This article offers insight into Scripture’s teachings on embracing refugees, providing practical ways for Christians to reflect God’s love amidst these challenging circumstances.

Let’s dive in so you can learn more about your Christian responsibility towards welcoming and caring for refugees!

Key Takeaways

  • The Bible teaches Christians to treat strangers, including refugees, with love and disciple – like behavior.
  • Oppressing or mistreating foreigners goes against the core principles of Christianity.
  • It is the church’s responsibility to incorporate foreigners and refugees into their communities by providing hospitality and showing genuine love.
  • Christians should show hospitality to strangers, creating an environment where refugees feel welcomed, supported, and loved within their churches and communities.

The Biblical Perspective on Refugees and Displaced People

The Bible teaches treating strangers with love and disciple-like behavior, incorporating foreigners and refugees into the community, and showing hospitality to strangers.

Treating strangers with love and disciple-like behavior

Manifesting love and discipleship towards strangers is a core principle of Christian faith, clearly underscored in biblical teachings. The Bible encourages Christians to extend kindness and hospitality not only to their neighbors but also to the foreigners among them.

Such behavior reflects Christ’s love and emulates his ministry during his time on earth. It aligns with Biblical passages such as Genesis 3:22-24 which highlights treating immigrants justly, as well as Matthew 25 where Jesus himself emphasized that our actions towards strangers reflect our faith deeply.

This isn’t merely about charity; it’s about demonstrating God’s love through action, recognizing that we are all equally deserving of dignity and respect regardless of nationality or immigration status.

Oppression of foreigners is not aligned with biblical teachings

In the Bible, God’s Word clearly instructs us to treat foreigners with love and respect. Oppressing or mistreating those who are strangers in our land goes against the core principles of Christianity.

Old Testament passages like Exodus 22:21 and Deuteronomy 10:19 remind us that we were once strangers ourselves and that we should extend kindness and compassion to others in similar situations.

As followers of Christ, it is our duty to uphold these teachings by showing hospitality, embracing diversity, and ensuring that refugees are welcomed into our communities with open arms.

Incorporating foreigners and refugees into the community

As Christians, it is our duty to incorporate foreigners and refugees into our communities. The Bible teaches us the importance of showing love and discipleship to those who are strangers in our land (Leviticus 19:34).

We are called to extend hospitality and make a conscious effort to welcome them into our churches, homes, and hearts (Hebrews 13:2). This means going beyond simply providing for their physical needs but also embracing them as part of our community.

By incorporating foreigners and refugees into our lives, we have the opportunity not only to show God’s love but also to share the Gospel with them (Matthew 25:35). It is through these acts of compassion that we can truly fulfill the responsibility that the church has towards refugees and displaced people.

Showing hospitality to strangers

The Bible consistently emphasizes the importance of showing hospitality to strangers, including refugees. Hebrews 13:2 reminds us to not neglect hospitality because by doing so, some have entertained angels without even knowing it.

This verse serves as a powerful reminder that when we welcome and care for strangers, we are truly reflecting God’s love and opening ourselves up to divine encounters. Throughout Scripture, individuals like Abraham and Lot demonstrated extraordinary hospitality towards strangers who turned out to be messengers from God.

In today’s context, this means creating an environment where refugees feel welcomed, supported, and loved within our churches and communities. It means going beyond basic provision of food or shelter and extending genuine friendship, empathy, and compassion towards those who have been displaced from their homes.

Bible Verses About the Responsibility of the Church Towards Refugees

Discover powerful biblical verses that guide the church’s responsibility towards refugees and how we can embody God’s love in action. Read more to find inspiration for your role as a follower of Christ.

Deuteronomy 10:18-19 – God’s command to love and care for foreigners

In Deuteronomy 10:18-19, God clearly commands His people to love and care for foreigners. He reminds us that He is the defender of the fatherless, widows, and strangers – those who are often vulnerable and in need of our help.

As Christians, we are called to emulate God’s heart by extending hospitality and compassion to refugees.

This biblical passage emphasizes that our responsibility towards foreigners goes beyond mere tolerance or indifference. We are instructed to show them genuine love, just as God loves us unconditionally.

This means welcoming them into our communities with open arms, providing support during their time of displacement, and treating them with dignity and respect.

Matthew 25:35 – Jesus’ instruction to provide for strangers’ needs

Jesus’ instruction in Matthew 25:35 urges Christians to provide for the needs of strangers. This passage reminds us that our faith is not just about personal salvation, but also about showing practical love and compassion to those in need, including refugees.

It emphasizes the importance of stepping outside of our comfort zones and actively caring for strangers as an expression of God’s love and grace. Through this verse, Jesus calls us to be a source of support and assistance for those who have been displaced, offering them not only physical provisions but also emotional care during their time of vulnerability.

Leviticus 19:33-34 – Treating foreigners as citizens and loving them as ourselves

In Leviticus 19:33-34, God instructs His people to treat foreigners as citizens and love them as they love themselves. This passage emphasizes the importance of showing kindness and hospitality towards those who are not from our own community or nation.

It reminds us that God calls us to embrace a spirit of inclusiveness and compassion, recognizing that all individuals, regardless of their background, deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.

As Christians, we have a responsibility to extend our love and care not only to those within our immediate circles but also to those who may be different from us. By doing so, we reflect the heart of God and create an environment where refugees feel welcome and valued.”.

The Church’s Role in Welcoming and Supporting Refugees

The church plays a crucial role in welcoming and supporting refugees by providing sanctuary, offering assistance with physical and emotional needs, as well as advocating for refugee rights and justice.

Providing sanctuary and shelter to immigrants and refugees

One important way that the church can fulfill its responsibility towards refugees is by providing sanctuary and shelter to those in need. Throughout the Bible, we see examples of God’s people opening their homes and extending hospitality to strangers.

In Hebrews 13:2, it says, “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” This verse reminds us of the power of offering refuge and support to those who are displaced or seeking safety.

As Christians, we are called to follow this example and provide a safe haven for immigrants and refugees in our communities. By opening our doors and hearts, we can demonstrate God’s love in a tangible way and help these individuals find comfort during their time of transition.

Offering assistance in meeting physical and emotional needs

As Christians, we have a responsibility to offer assistance in meeting the physical and emotional needs of refugees. The Bible teaches us to show compassion and love towards those who are displaced, reminding us that Jesus himself was once a refugee when his family fled to Egypt.

We can provide practical support by helping them find shelter, food, and basic necessities, as well as offering comfort and empathy for the emotional trauma they may have experienced. By extending kindness and care to refugees, we not only meet their immediate needs but also demonstrate God’s love in action.

Advocating for refugee rights and justice

The Bible calls upon Christians to not only welcome and support refugees but also advocate for their rights and justice. Throughout the Old Testament, God commands his people to treat foreigners with love, respect, and fairness.

As followers of Christ, we are called to reflect his character by standing up for those who have been displaced or oppressed. This means taking action in practical ways such as supporting organizations that work towards refugee rights, raising awareness about their struggles, and speaking out against unjust policies.

By advocating for refugee rights and justice, we demonstrate our commitment to living out the teachings of the Bible and showing God’s compassion to all those in need.

The Call for Christians to Welcome Refugees

Christians are called to actively welcome and embrace refugees, understanding that believers themselves are strangers on earth and belong to the kingdom of God, not just a specific nation.

Understanding that all believers are strangers on earth

As Christians, we are called to understand that all believers are strangers on earth. This means that our true citizenship is not of this world, but rather in the kingdom of God. Just as refugees are seeking a place of refuge and belonging, we too can relate to their experience of being temporary residents in this earthly realm.

Our identity lies in being followers of Christ, regardless of our nationality or immigration status.

In recognizing that we are all strangers on earth, it becomes easier for us to empathize with the plight of refugees and displaced individuals. We have a unique opportunity to extend hospitality and love towards them, just as God has shown us mercy and grace.

Through welcoming refugees into our churches and homes, we can demonstrate the values of compassion and inclusivity that Jesus taught us.

Recognizing that believers belong to the kingdom of God, not just a specific nation

As Christians, it is crucial to recognize that our identity goes beyond any specific nation or earthly borders. We are citizens of the kingdom of God, a global community bound together by faith in Jesus Christ.

This perspective should shape how we view and engage with refugees and displaced individuals. Instead of being driven by political agendas or nationalistic interests, we are called to see each person as a fellow sojourner in this world, deserving of love, compassion, and support.

Just as God’s kingdom knows no boundaries, our responsibility towards refugees extends beyond geographical limitations. Let us remember that our primary allegiance is to Christ and His kingdom, prompting us to open our hearts and doors to those seeking refuge in our midst.

Embracing the Matthew 25 Challenge to actively care for strangers

As Christians, we are called to embrace the Matthew 25 challenge and actively care for strangers, including refugees. In this powerful passage, Jesus reminds us that when we welcome and serve those in need, it is as if we are doing it for Him.

This means going beyond simply offering kind words or prayers but taking tangible actions to provide support and meet their physical and emotional needs. By embracing this challenge, we can show God’s love in a practical way and be a beacon of hope for those who have been displaced from their homes.


In conclusion, the Bible clearly emphasizes the responsibility of the church towards refugees and displaced people. As followers of Christ, we are called to treat strangers with love and discipleship, incorporating them into our communities and showing hospitality.

Through biblical teachings and examples, we are reminded of our duty to welcome and support refugees, advocating for their rights and providing sanctuary. Let us heed this call from scripture and fulfill our Christian responsibility towards refugees with compassion and kindness.


1. What does the Bible say about welcoming refugees?

The Bible encourages believers to show hospitality and kindness to strangers, including foreigners or refugees. In Matthew 25:35-36, Jesus says, “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.” This teaches us that it is our responsibility as Christians to welcome and provide for those in need.

2. How should the church respond to refugees?

The church should respond with compassion and love towards refugees. We are called to help meet their physical needs by providing food, shelter, clothing, and medical care. Additionally, we should support them emotionally by offering friendship, understanding their stories, and advocating for their rights.

3. Are there any specific biblical examples of the church helping refugees?

Yes! Throughout the Bible, we find examples of God’s people providing refuge for those fleeing danger or seeking asylum. One notable example is when Israel provided sanctuary for foreigners through laws such as allowing gleaning (Leviticus 19:9-10) or leaving behind crops at harvest time (Deuteronomy 24:19-22). Another example is when Joseph’s family sought refuge in Egypt during famine (Genesis 46-47).

4. Does the Bible speak about showing mercy towards refugees?

Absolutely! The concept of showing mercy towards others is a significant theme throughout scripture. Micah 6:8 states that God desires us “to act justly” which includes extending mercy towards those who are vulnerable or displaced like refugees. Jesus himself also emphasized showing mercy in his teachings such as the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37).

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