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Christian communists hold the Biblical verses in Acts 2 and 4 as evidence that the first Christians lived in a communist society. Thomas Wharton Collens' Preaching is a good description of biblical sources being used with the goal of a common-property society; Prof. José P. Miranda, ""Comunismo en la Biblia"" (1981), translated as, ""Communism in the Bible"" (Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis Books, 1982).
But, in addition, they also cite numerous other Biblical passages which, in their view, support the idea that communism is the most ethical social system and that it is inescapably constitutive of the kingdom of God on earth. The most often quoted of these Biblical citations are taken from the three synoptic Gospels, which describe the life and ministry of Jesus.
In the Gospel of Luke (1:49–53), Mary delivered the following description of the works of God:
49 For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name. 50 And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation. 51 He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. 52 He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. 53 He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away.
One of Jesus' most famous remarks regarding the wealthy can be found in Matthew 19:16–24 (the same event is also described in Mark 10:17–25 and Luke 18:18–25, and the metaphor of a camel going through the eye of a needle is common to both Matthew and Luke).
16 And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? 17 And he said unto him, Why do you ask me about what is good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. 18 He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, 19 Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 20 The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? 21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. 22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions. 23 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. 24 And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
From this Christian communists understand that the nature of the kingdom of God is such that to be able to enter it a rich man must cease to be rich. However, Jesus Christ goes on to say that what is impossible with men is not impossible with God, implying that the grace of God can save a rich man, for instance by enabling rich people to willingly surrender the riches which should otherwise exclude them from grace. See Matthew 19:25–26, Mark 10:26–27 and Luke 18:26–27. For example, Matthew 19:25–26 says:
25 When His disciples heard it, they were greatly astonished, saying, "Who then can be saved?" 26 But Jesus looked at them and said to them, "With men it is impossible, but with God all things are possible."
Jesus also described "money changers" (i.e. those engaged in currency exchange) as "thieves" and chased them out of the Temple in Jerusalem. This is described in Matthew 21:12–14, Mark 11:15, and John 2:14–16. The text in Matthew reads as follows:
12 And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, 13 And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves. 14 And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them.
Christian communists interpret this passage as not having a figurative meaning alluding to imagined weakness of piety of the Sadducees. According to the left-inclined reading, what Jesus is referring to is the overturning of the economic provisioning of the tribes of Israel in the Law of Moses. According to Exodus, The Levites are apportioned no land in Canaan from which to subsist, but are instead granted the sacrificed animals and grain from all the other tribes for consumption or sale after ritual slaughter and burning. Thus every tribe was assured economic security of living. In the Temple system by Jesus' day, senior priests had accumulated large land-holdings from the profits on sale of animals for sacrifice, which they farmed at profit using hired labour and slaves to produce animals for sale, and from profit on sale of Temple money with which to make those purchases. Thereby in effect the Levites had dispossessed the non-priestly of Judah of swathes of their alloted patrimony by making a threefold profit out of the sacrificial system, and were daily accumulating more of the patrimony given by God to others, in addition to their proper income.
The phrase "love thy neighbor", repeatedly spoken by Jesus, is rather well known. Christian communists point out that Jesus considered this to be the second most important of all moral obligations, after loving God. Thus, they argue, a Christian society should be based first and foremost on these two commandments, and it should uphold them even more than it upholds such things as family values. The relevant Biblical verses are Mark 12:28–31:
28 And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all? 29 And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord; 30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. 31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.
Finally, Jesus gave an account of the Last Judgment in Matthew 25:31–46, in which he identifies himself with the hungry, the poor and the sick, and states that good or evil done upon "the least of brethren" will be counted as good or evil done upon God himself. It is argued that Jesus is saying not only that individuals would be judged by their treatment of the needy but also that nations would be judged according to the characteristics of their societies. If that is the case, this would imply that political and economic systems were being heavily critiqued as well:
31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory; 32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats; 33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; 35 For I was hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in; 36 Naked, and ye clothed me; I was sick, and ye visited me; I was in prison, and ye came unto me. 37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? 38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? 39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. 41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels; 42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink; 43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in; naked, and ye clothed me not; sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. 44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee hungered, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? 45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. 46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment; but the righteous into life eternal.
In addition, communistic attitudes and implications can be found in Leviticus 25:35–38: "If one becomes poor help him so he can continue to live among you. Do not take interest of any kind from him, but fear your God You must not lend him money at interest or sell him food at a profit. I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt to give you the land of Canaan and to be your God." and Acts 4:32–35, "All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had there were no needy persons among them the money was distributed to anyone as he had need." As well as Acts 2:42–47, "They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching to the breaking of bread everyone was filled with awe all the believers were together and had everything in common they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they ate together with glad and sincere hearts " Most significantly, this is part of the Law of Moses, and as such is commandment rather than exhortation or airing of opinion. This fact bears heavily upon subsequent discussion of the question of compulsory or voluntary relinquishing of riches, either as a possible entry requirement to Christian grace or as a means of achieving divine intentions for human social order.
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