Christians believe that Jesus is Lord over our entire lives. That means he touches everything we do. But when it comes to finances — one of the biggest areas of our lives — there’s a lot of confusion. What does the Bible say about faith and finances? How are we to look at money? Is it evil or is it a gift from God? And just how do we manage it well?
These are important questions and how we answer them will affect our lives and our families for generations to come. So to help make sense of this important topic, we put together this article. In it, we provide an all-encompassing rundown of faith and finances. We share what the Bible says about money and help uncover the main principles. Read from beginning to end or skip ahead by clicking on one of these sections:
a. What does the Bible say about working?
b. What does the Bible say about saving and investing?
c. What does the Bible say about money and your heart?
a. Money is an Offering, Not an Idol
b. Blessed to Be a Blessing
c. Trust in the Lord and Plan Wisely
d. Seek Wise Counsel
Bible Verses About Money
The Bible is full of thousands of verses about faith and finances. It seems God has a lot to say about how we make and steward wealth. Here’s only a small sample:
What does the Bible say about working?
Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established. — Proverbs 16:3
Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. — Ephesians 4:28
For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. — 2 Thessalonians 3:10
Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows worthless pursuits lacks sense. — Proverbs 12:11
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. — Colossians 3:23-24
What does the Bible say about saving and investing?
But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. — 1 Timothy 5:8
A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, but the sinner’s wealth is laid up for the righteous. — Proverbs 13:22
The wise store up choice food and olive oil, but fools gulp theirs down. — Proverbs 21:20
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. — Matthew 6:19-20
The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty. — Proverbs 21:5
Wealth gained hastily will dwindle, but whoever gathers little by little will increase it. — Proverbs 13:11
Invest in seven ventures, yes, in eight; you do not know what disaster may come upon the land. — Ecclesiastes 11:2
What does the Bible say about money and your heart?
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. — Matthew 6:21
He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity. — Ecclesiastes 5:10
No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.— Matthew 6:24
And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” — Luke 12:15
As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. — 1 Timothy 6:17
Is Wealth Evil?
In light of these verses (and many others throughout the pages of Scripture), what are we to make of wealth? Is it good or evil?
While it is tempting to jump to one extreme or the other, the Bible itself does not do that. It presents a far more nuanced portrait of money.
Yes, there are many passages warning against the dangers of wealth and rebuking the wealthy. But there are also many passages extolling the virtues of working, saving and investing. Survey the characters of the Old and New Testaments, and you’ll see men and women demonstrating both good and bad relationships with money. Some like Abraham, King David, the Proverbs 31 woman, Joseph of Arimathea and Lydia (from Acts 16) were people of means who used their wealth to honor God and bless others. But the Bible also shows many people who were corrupted by money — tax collectors like Zaccheus (before meeting Jesus), Judas, Ananias and Sapphira.
From these examples, we see that money isn’t inherently bad or inherently good. God is far more concerned with the condition of your heart. As many have noted, Jesus says that it is, “the love of money” that is the root of all evil. Money can be a great blessing and the Lord encourages us to steward it well. But if we’re not careful we can begin to worship the gift instead of the giver. And when that happens, wealth becomes a destructive force. Too many people have seen money corrupt their relationships and their own hearts and minds.
That’s why it’s important that we treat our relationship with wealth carefully. You don’t need to feel guilty for having means, but you should be very intentional with how you handle it. In the next section we’ll share four principles that will help guide your finances.
4 Biblical Principles for Your Faith and Finances
1. Money is an offering, not an idol
In your heart is money an offering or an idol?
An offering is more than a weekly giving; it’s about your attitude. If you see money as an offering, it means you recognize wealth as a gift from God and joyfully surrender it back to Him. You hold it loosely and yet steward it wisely. It’s all God’s in the end, but you see it as a blessing now because it’s a tool to help you build trust and practice obedience.
But if money becomes an idol, it acts as a false god in your life. You love it, you trust it, you obey it. And that can look different for different people. In his excellent book Counterfeit Gods, pastor and author Tim Keller writes:
“Some people want lots of money as a way to control their world and life, and such people usually don’t spend much money and they live very modestly. They keep it all safely saved and invested so that they can feel completely safe in the world. Others want money for access to social circles and to make themselves beautiful and attractive. These people do spend their money on themselves in lavish ways. Other people want money because it gives them so much power over others. In every case, money functions as an idol, and yet because of various deep idols it results in very different patterns of behavior. The person using money to serve a deep idol of control will often feel superior to others and use money to obtain power or social approval. In every case however, money idolatry enslaves and distorts lives.”
Money is a good tool but a poor god. Surrender it to the Lord and it can be the blessing it was meant to be.
2. Blessed to Be a Blessing
The Bible teaches us that we are blessed to be a blessing. It encourages us who have power of any sort to lay it down in love for others.
Think of Abraham — God promised to bless him and use his descendants to bless the whole world (Genesis 22:18). Or consider the many teachings of Jesus. He recognized that the people of this world use wealth to their own advantage, but called his people to a different standard:
You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
When we apply this principle to our money, we realize it’s not about us. Money is not just a tool to make us feel secure or improve our own way of life. Instead, it becomes a means to bless others. We’re able to give freely and creatively and seek to maximize the good we can do with our money.
3. Trust in the Lord and Plan Wisely
Many people struggle with this tension. How do you trust God while also saving and investing? Is a good financial plan at odds with faith?
Not at all!
If we’ve accepted the two principles above, we know that money is an important gift and we are called to steward it well. So we don’t pretend to honor God by being reckless with our finances. We treat our money as a blessing and an offering — managing and multiplying what we’ve been given for God’s glory and the good of other people (including our family!). Yet at the same time, it’s important not to let your financial plan become an idol that controls you instead of the other way around.
The healthiest relationship to money is right in the middle. Trust the God who promises He will provide. But also be obedient when He tells you to steward what he has provided.
4. Seek Wise Counsel
The good news is that we don’t have to do any of this alone. Over and over again the Bible encourages us to seek wise counsel:
- Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety. — Proverbs 11:14
- The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice. — Proverbs 12:15
- Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed. — Proverbs 15:22
This principle applies to all areas of our lives, but it’s especially important with money. Remember, money is a gift that comes with a huge responsibility. It also has the potential to become a dangerous false god.
You don’t want to navigate that territory all on your own. With wise financial advisors you can maximize the blessing of your wealth while keeping it from becoming an idol.
Resources for Faith and Finances
If you want to continue learning more about this topic, dive into these resources:
God and Money: How We Discovered True Riches at Harvard Business School
This book (or the podcast interview) tells the story of two Harvard MBAs and what they discovered God was really saying about their money.
- The Treasure Principle by Randy Alcorn
- Business by the Book by Larry Burkett
- Financial Peace Revisited by Dave Ramsey
- Splitting Heirs by Ron Blue
It’s Time to Get Started
Faith and finances are two of the most important areas of your life. They’re not supposed to stay separated. With a prayerful approach and the right counsel, you’ll be ready to honor God with your finances.
The most important thing is to get started as soon as possible. Follow the principles we’ve outlined above and if you want a little help, schedule a call with Clear Money Path.
Information presented does not involve the rendering of personalized investment advice, but is limited to the dissemination of general information on products and services. This information should not be construed as an offer to buy or sell, or a solicitation of any offer to buy or sell the securities mentioned herein.
Information presented is believed to be factual and up-to-date and was obtained from sources known to be reliable. It should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed.
All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the author as of the date of presentation and are subject to change.Clear Money Path is registered as an investment adviser with the state of Missouri. The firm only transacts business in states where it is properly registered, or is excluded or exempted from registration requirements.