Here are 10 Bible passages related to treatment of immigrants, refugees, and foreigners:
Matthew 25:41-45: Jesus said “‘Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons. For I was hungry, and you didn’t feed me. I was thirsty, and you didn’t give me a drink. I was a stranger, and you didn’t invite me into your home. … Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?’ And [I] will answer, ‘… when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.’”
Ezekiel 16:48-49: God said “As surely as I live, … Sodom and her daughters were never as wicked as you and your daughters. Sodom’s sins were pride, gluttony, and laziness, while the poor and needy suffered outside her door. She was proud and committed detestable sins, so I wiped her out ….”
Romans 12:9-13: “Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. … When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.”
Hebrews 13:1-3: “Keep on loving each other …. Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it! … Remember also those being mistreated, as if you felt their pain in your own bodies.”
Leviticus 19:34: “The foreigner who resides with you must be to you like a native citizen among you; so you must love him as yourself, because you were foreigners in the land of Egypt. I am the Lord your God.”
James 2:1-4: “… How can you claim to have faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ if you favor some people over others? … If you give special attention and a good seat to the rich person, but you say to the poor one, ‘You can stand over there, or else sit on the floor’—well, doesn’t this discrimination show that your judgments are guided by evil motives?”
Deuteronomy 10:18-19: “[God] … shows love to the foreigners living among you and gives them food and clothing. So you, too, must show love to foreigners, for you yourselves were once foreigners in the land of Egypt.”
Isaiah 1:17: “[L]earn to do good; seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.”
Jeremiah 7:5-7: “If you really change your ways and your actions and deal with each other justly, if you do not oppress the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow and do not shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not follow other gods to your own harm, then I will let you live in this place, in the land I gave your ancestors for ever and ever.”
Deuteronomy 27:19: ““Cursed is anyone who withholds justice from the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow.” Then all the people shall say, “Amen!””
All quotes are from the New Living Translation, New International Version, New English Translation, or New Revised Standard Version unless indicated otherwise.
Sources / For Further Reading
See Steve Gardner, “What Does the Bible Say About Treatment of Foreigners, Refugees, and Immigrants?,” AuthenticTheology.com (February 3, 2017).
Some will say that the immigrants should simply obey the law and those who enforce it (the government). Part of the point is that if the immigration and detention law and activity that we vote for, endorse, and encourage is not welcoming of the stranger, then it is the law and activity itself that is unjust and a sin and that we endorse and aid and are complicit in.
- God told people in the Bible to build walls (e.g., Nehemiah).
- Romans 13 means we all must obey the laws of the government.
- We must take care of our own people first, per 1 Tim 5 and other scripture.
- We should not encourage people to enter the country illegally, because doing so is to encourage them to sin, and thereby we sin.
- Christians should not tell others that we should let refugees into the United States unless they are willing to take refugees into their own home.
Also see Genesis 23:4; 1 Chron 16:19-22; Job 29:15-17; Psalm 146:9; Ezekiel 47:22; Zechariah 7:9-10; Matthew 25:35, 40; Luke 10:27; Acts 10:34; Romans 13:10; Colossians 3:11; 3 John 1:5; Revelation 21:3.
(The picture at the top is by pixel2013 from pixabay.)