The Bible and Class Struggle

Does the Bible say anything about class struggle as the definer of human life? No, it does not. However, it makes clear that the rich must not oppress those with less.

The apostle James writes: “Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries that are coming upon you! Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have heaped up treasure in the last days. Indeed the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. You have lived on the earth in pleasure and luxury; you have fattened your hearts as in a day of slaughter. You have condemned, you have murdered the just; he does not resist you” (James 5:1–6).

An important rider on this statement is found in the apostle Paul’s writings. He says that while God has concern for the cry of the poor and abused worker, employees should have an approach to their employers that exemplifies Christlike humility:

Bondservants, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ; not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men, knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free” (Ephesians 6:5–8).

If there is economic exploitation, there are certainly biblically based methods of dealing with it. The Bible teaches appropriate methods of bringing a grievance.