Bible Verses

24 Best bible verses about immigration

Explore our research that presents 24 carefully selected Bible verses discussing immigration. Experience how biblical wisdom can provide perspective on this contemporary issue, fostering understanding, compassion, and empathy.

Last Updated:
February 12, 2024
8 Minutes

Table of Contents

The Bible contains numerous verses that touch upon themes relevant to immigration, hospitality, and the treatment of foreigners. These verses can be grouped into several categories, reflecting different aspects of the biblical perspective on immigration. Here are 24 carefully selected verses, categorized and reflected upon from a theological standpoint:

The Call to Love and Welcome the Stranger 

Leviticus 19:34

"The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the LORD your God."

Reflection: This commandment emphasizes empathy and reciprocity, reminding believers of their own history of being foreigners and underscoring the divine mandate to love others as oneself.

Hebrews 13:2

"Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it."

Reflection: This verse highlights the sacredness of hospitality, suggesting that in welcoming strangers, one might be entertaining divine messengers, thus linking the act of hospitality to divine encounters.

Matthew 25:35

"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,"

Reflection: This verse emphasizes the identification of Christ with the stranger, suggesting that acts of kindness to the stranger are acts of service to Christ Himself.

2. Justice for the Foreigner 

Deuteronomy 10:18-19

"He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt."

Reflection: This passage highlights God's care for the vulnerable, including foreigners, and commands His people to do the same, reminding them of their own experiences as strangers.

Exodus 22:21

"Do not mistreat or oppress a foreigner, for you were foreigners in Egypt."

Reflection: This command warns against the mistreatment of foreigners, grounding the injunction in the shared experience of marginalization and oppression.

Jeremiah 22:3

"This is what the LORD says: Do what is just and right. Rescue from the hand of the oppressor the one who has been robbed. Do no wrong or violence to the foreigner, the fatherless, or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place."

Reflection: Here, the ethical requirements of justice and protection for the vulnerable, including foreigners, are emphasized as central to living out one's faith.

3. The Blessing of Diversity 

Revelation 7:9

"After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb."

Reflection: This vision of heavenly worship underscores the value of diversity and the inclusivity of God's kingdom, celebrating the gathering of people from all nations.

Galatians 3:28

"There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus."

Reflection: This verse speaks to the breaking down of divisions and the unity found in Christ, transcending national, ethnic, and social barriers.

God's Care for the Sojourner 

Psalm 146:9

"The LORD watches over the foreigner and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked."

Reflection: This psalm highlights God's protective care for the foreigner, aligning divine favor with those who are often marginalized and oppressed.

Deuteronomy 27:19

"Cursed is anyone who withholds justice from the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow."

Reflection: This curse underscores the seriousness with which God views the mistreatment of foreigners, emphasizing the divine demand for justice.

The Ethic of Reciprocity 

Leviticus 24:22

"You are to have the same law for the foreigner and the native-born. I am the LORD your God."

Reflection: This commandment establishes the principle of legal equality, insisting that the same standards of justice apply to both the foreigner and the native-born.

Exodus 23:9

"Do not oppress a foreigner; you yourselves know how it feels to be foreigners, because you were foreigners in Egypt."

Reflection: By invoking the collective memory of being foreigners in Egypt, this verse calls for empathy and just treatment of foreigners,

 grounding ethical behavior in shared experience.

Refuge and Safety for the Vulnerable 

Psalm 91:1-2

"Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, 'He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.'"

Reflection: Although not specifically about foreigners, this psalm speaks to God's protection and provision of refuge, themes relevant to the experience of many immigrants seeking safety.

Matthew 5:10

"Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

Reflection: This beatitude speaks to the blessing of those who suffer for the cause of justice, including those who advocate for the rights and dignity of immigrants.

The Call to Empathy and Understanding 

Proverbs 31:8-9

"Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy."

Reflection: This admonition to advocate for the voiceless applies directly to the plight of many immigrants, calling believers to stand up for those marginalized by society.

Luke 10:36-37

"Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers? The expert in the law replied, 'The one who had mercy on him.' Jesus told him, 'Go and do likewise.'"

Reflection: The parable of the Good Samaritan, from which these verses are taken, teaches the importance of showing mercy beyond cultural and ethnic boundaries, embodying the neighborly love commanded by Christ.

Provision and Prosperity Through Kindness 

Deuteronomy 24:19-21

"When you are harvesting in your field and you overlook a sheaf, do not go back to get it. Leave it for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow, so that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands."

Reflection: This instruction to leave behind part of the harvest for the vulnerable, including foreigners, ties the act of generosity to divine blessing, encouraging a mindset of abundance and care.

Shared Humanity and Mutual Respect 

Malachi 3:5

"So I will come to put you on trial. I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers, against those who defraud laborers of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive the foreigners among you of justice, but do not fear me,” says the LORD Almighty."

Reflection: This verse warns against injustice, specifically mentioning the deprivation of justice for foreigners, highlighting God's concern for fairness and equity.

Colossians 3:11

"Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all."

Reflection: This passage emphasizes the eradication of social and ethnic divisions within the body of Christ, promoting a vision of unity and equality.

Vision of Peace and Unity 

Isaiah 2:4

"He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore."

Reflection: This prophetic vision of peace and reconciliation offers a hopeful future where conflicts, often a cause of migration, are resolved through divine justice.

Ephesians 2:19

"Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household."

Reflection: This verse speaks to the inclusivity of the Christian community, transcending national and ethnic barriers to form a new, unified family in Christ.

The Imperative of Compassion 

1 Peter 4:9

"Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling."

Reflection: This simple command to offer hospitality underscores the importance of welcoming others with a gracious heart, embodying the love of Christ in everyday actions.

Romans 12:13

"Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality."

Reflection: This verse connects the practice of hospitality with sharing resources, highlighting the practical aspects of compassion and care within the community of believers.

Acknowledging the Dignity of Every Person 

Genesis 1:27

 "So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them."

Reflection: This foundational verse affirms the inherent dignity and worth of every human being, providing the theological basis for treating every person, including immigrants, with respect and honor.

These verses, reflecting a broad spectrum of biblical thought, underscore the importance of compassion, justice, and hospitality toward foreigners and immigrants. They provide a robust theological framework for engaging with contemporary issues of migration and hospitality.

Frequently asked questions

What does the Bible say about how we should treat immigrants?

Scriptures such as Leviticus 19:34 guide us to show kindness to foreigners. It states, "The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt." Thus, we are called to extend love and hospitality to immigrants.

How might the story of the Good Samaritan relate to the immigration discussion?

In the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37), Jesus clearly demonstrates that our neighbor is not just someone from our own tribe, country or faith community but anyone who is in need, including immigrants. As such, we're instructed to show compassionate action towards them.

What biblical principles should guide a Christian's perspective on immigration policies?

Matthew 25:35-40 suggests that our Christian faith calls us to welcome the stranger and care for those in need, including immigrants. Policies should thus uphold human dignity and respect for all persons, fully considering their plight and humanity.

How does the biblical concept of 'welcoming the stranger' apply today?

The principle of 'welcoming the stranger' applies today by prompting us to show compassion and kindness to immigrants, refugees, and all those seeking a better life. Hebrews 13:2 reminds us, "Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it!"

How do the biblical teachings influence a Christian's duty towards refugees and immigrants?

As per Deuteronomy 10:18-19, God loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. So, it's our Christian duty to emulate God's love by providing material aid, emotional support and advocating for the rights of refugees and immigrants.

Can the Israelites' experience in Egypt inform our view on immigration?

Exodus 23:9 says, "Do not oppress a foreigner; you yourselves know how it feels to be foreigners because you were foreigners in Egypt." This verse highlights empathy and compassion – since the Israelites were once strangers in a foreign land, they, and by extension we, should treat immigrants with kindness and consideration.

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