2,300 Bible verses mention money – more than any other topic – reminding us that our earthly security lies in our relationship with God.
The Bible has myriad warnings against money becoming an end in itself, that is, an idol, and others about the virtues of sound money management. In fact, more than 2,300 verses mention money – more than any other topic, including faith (500 verses). So, God cares deeply about what we do with it.
Scripture often reminds us that while money is important, our earthly and eternal security lie in our relationship with God:
- Solomon cautions: "Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income." (Ecclesiastes 5:10)
- "He who trusts in his riches will fall, But the righteous will flourish like foliage." (Proverbs 11:28)
- "Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, 'I will never leave you nor forsake you.'" (Hebrews 13:5)
- In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus puts it this way: "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon." (Matthew 6:24)
- The Apostle Paul gives an admonition against greed that is often misquoted. He doesn't call money itself evil, only excessive desire for it. "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows." (1 Timothy 6:10)
Along with warnings about overreliance on wealth, the Bible is full of wisdom about handling money and assurances that God will always provide:
- "And you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day." (Deuteronomy 8:18)
- "And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:19)
- "He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?" (Romans 8:32)
While reassuring us of God's providence, the Bible gives ample advice about managing our wealth. For example, the Book of Proverbs condemns dishonesty, foolishness and laziness:
- "Dishonest scales are an abomination to the Lord, But a just weight is His delight." (Proverbs 11:1)
- "Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise, Which, having no captain, Overseer or ruler, Provides her supplies in the summer, And gathers her food in the harvest." Proverbs 6:6-8)
- "Prepare your outside work, Make it fit for yourself in the field; And afterward build your house." (Proverbs 24:27)
Financially speaking, this means making wise investments with our time and money before spending what we have on non-essentials. And the Bible places much importance on how wealth is accumulated:
- "The plans of the diligent lead surely to plenty, but those of everyone who is hasty, surely to poverty." (Proverbs 21:5)
- "Better is a little with righteousness, than vast revenues without justice." (Proverbs 16:8)
- "And, He said, 'For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.'" (Matthew 6:21)
- The most famous and most often quoted warning against ill-gotten gain comes from Jesus Himself: "For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?" (Mark 8:36)
Two great errors
God wants us to use our strength, talents and investments wisely in the service of his kingdom. The sum total of wisdom throughout the Bible should lead us to reject the two opposite theological errors when it comes to money: the "prosperity gospel" and the "poverty gospel."
The first, which also goes by the "health and wealth gospel," teaches that God rewards faith – and heavy tithing – with financial and health blessings. The implication is that if we struggle financially, it is a sign of weak faith. It's the modern equivalent of throwing a non-swimmer into a pond and labeling her a "witch" when she drowns. The second, the poverty gospel, reflects an extremely unbiblical disdain for money that often reflects a common misreading of Paul's warning about the love of money.
Biblically Responsible Investing allows us to grow our finances and to be able to give without supporting moral corruption. We have true peace of mind when we lean for all of our needs on the One Who made us: "Both riches and honor come from You, And You reign over all. In Your hand is power and might; In Your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all." (1 Chronicles 29:12)
Robert Knight is an author and Communications Advisor for Timothy Partners. Some of this material was drawn from a curriculum from the Timothy Plan for family economics called "Stewardship: God's Plan for Financial Success." Written by Timothy Plan founder Art Ally, the 112-page workbook, which, along with brief video segments of a couple discussing their income and giving, offers a God's-eye view of money, investing, giving and cultural impact.
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