8 Biblical Money Principles

This article summarizes some of my favorite findings from a simple Google search on biblical financial stewardship.

  1. Super basic: Do a budget. Consider project costs and plan properly.
  2. Don’t love money.
    1. Everyone knows the Bible says money is a root of all evil, but the Bible also predicts that a love of money will lead to perpetual dissatisfaction, and is ultimately a meaningless pursuit.
    2. Obtaining money can be a decent intermediate goal but it’s not an ultimate goal or good in itself.
    3. Don’t confuse wealth with success.
  3. Be content (or perhaps even – gasp – thankful) for what you have.
    1. Seriously. Contentment is a major theme in a biblical approach to money which is basically ignored by all mainstream financial or economic discussions. Google it. Way more than the one citation above.
  4. Debt is slavery.
    1. The Bible is clear in the OT that Israelis should charge no interest to their brethren. Does this mean lending is immoral or stupid? I think in some contexts yes and no. For example, I prefer to give money to my family or broke friends rather than force them into a loan I know they can’t or won’t repay. I think secular business loans are probably fine, just don’t pretend you’re doing anything charitable through them.
    2. Interestingly, slavery is not deemed as a bad thing throughout the Bible. Slaves are not considered bad people and Christians are considered slaves to Christ.
    3. As a practical matter, a slave is not going to have a great material quality of life. There will also be obvious constraints on the things one can do, whether for personal pleasure or in order to further the Christian cause, when one is busy all day and night working to pay bills and obligations.
    4. I think scripture is best summarized through a quote: “Are you a slave? Don’t let that worry you–but if you get a chance to be free, take it.”
  5. Allow God to exercise his generosity through you.
    1. Give to charity, tithe, give anonymously, and be a generous person in general.
    2. Don’t give in order to obtain blessings, but give because you are thankful for what God has given. If you do that, you will be blessed (to some degree tautologically, no? But I believe further.)
    3. Don’t pray for God to satisfy your preferences. Instead, ask God to help you satisfy his preferences. Do this and he will satisfy both your and his preferences.
    4. Don’t be ‘fake generous.’
    5. Taking care of others most certainly includes taking care of your family and descendants.
    6. Remember that God has given you everything: It’s his money, not yours. We are stewards, not owners. We don’t even own ourselves. As Christians, it is not we who live, but Christ who lives in us. So don’t accept thanks when you give charitably, but thank God for any chance you get to help others, and ask others to thank God instead of you. It’s a blessing and an honor to be a vehicle or vessel of God through which he can exercise his own generosity.
  6. Money is best made like BBQ: Slowly.
    1. The two best ways to build long term wealth include hard work and austerity.
  7. Money can be a shelter or defense; but knowledge and wisdom are generally better tools to the same end.
  8. Sometimes God will afflict you with poverty, illness, or other calamity just for his purposes or your own development. That’s a good thing.
    1. God will also sometimes bless people that don’t even love him. That’s also a good thing.

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