10 Biblical Principles We Should Apply to Our Finances
Few people think of the Bible as a source for financial wisdom, yet the Bible actually mentions financial topics more often than most any other topic, including prayer. Sin is one of the few things mentioned more frequently, and these two topics often overlap. Ironically, it is these two topics that are also the most misunderstood by many Christians today.
Money is a necessary tool on earth, and God has a lot to say on the topic. Money is not evil as many suggest. The Bible actually states that the "love of money is the source of all kinds of evil." Note that it says "the love of money" not money is a source of all kinds of evil. Also note that it does not state that the love of money is the source of evil, but "all kinds of evil." This implies that it is an area to be cautious, not necessarily to stay away from. So what exactly does the Bible say about financial topics? Below are ten key points God addresses continually.
Do you tithe?
"And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus."— Philippians 4:19
#1 Trust God with Your Finances
One of the hardest things to do is to trust someone else with our finances. We are so worried about where every little penny goes that we often worry, fret, and obsess. Even for those who want to trust God with their they finances, do not know what that looks like. We cannot just sit back and hope everything will be OK. We still need to work, we still need to be conscientious, and we still need to be wise with our money.
So what does it look like to trust God with our finances?
- To not worry; instead turn to God in prayer.
- To use biblical principles when making money decisions.
- Be thankful for what you do have; and stop wanting for what you don't need.
- Do what you can; let God do the rest.
- Don't be afraid to ask for help. God uses others to bless us.
"The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, declares the Lord of hosts."— Haggai 2:8
#2 Remember: It Is God's Money
One of the reasons we have such a hard time trusting God with our money is because we think of it as OUR money. We are not given a single thing on this earth that was not given to us by God. Our house, our clothes, our food, are all blessings from God. Make sure to give thanks where thanks is deserved. When you are feeling stingy with your money, remember it is not yours; God is only entrusting you with it.
"The wicked borrows but does not pay back, but the righteous is generous and gives;"— Psalm 37:21
"(Jesus) sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums. And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. And he called his disciples to him and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had..."— Matthew 12:41
#3 Be Generous
Too often we are a society that needs the newest phone, needs a flat screen TV with blue ray player and high speed internet, yet do not have twenty dollars to help rescue women out of sex trafficking. We can buy a five dollar coffee everyday of the week, but do not have enough money to help provide food and clothing to children in a third world country. I point this out not to make us feel guilty, but to put things into perspective and look at what our true priorities really are. Once we can see where our true priorities really are, then we are able to ask are they where we want them to be?
God has called us to be generous, to give to the poor, to help those who are hurting. Yet too often we are able to find every reason not to.
This not only benefits others, but by being more generous with our money, we automatically are thinking more about others. The desire to want, want, want is going to wane as we notice where we are more blessed. It will also encourage us to be more thankful for what we have.
"Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows worthless pursuits will have plenty of poverty."— Proverbs 28:19
"In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty."— Proverbs 14:23
#4 Work Hard
Did you know work was not a plan of God after the fall? He actually blessed us with work before Adam and Eve sinned. We often look at our work as a burden, and that it cuts into our plans and desires. We need to remember that work is a blessing. By working hard and not falling to slothfulness we will benefit both financially, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. It has been proven that people who work later in life, live longer. Most often, those who work harder in their job, will find they are promoted or given higher raises. Granted there are the exceptions, but we need not worry about our earthly riches, God recognizes our heart and hard work. We are to build our treasures in heaven.
"Wealth gained hastily will dwindle, but whoever gathers little by little will increase it."— Proverbs 13:11
#5 Don't Rely On Get Quick Rich Schemes
This has been hard for my husband and I as we both have set out to do many entrepreneurial endeavors. We watch these people who take short cuts and end up with lots of money very quickly. Yet, we have been burned by each short cut we have tried to make. It has been our long haul businesses that have not only provided for us, but also maintained consistent income and consistent growth.
Although some of our short cuts gave us quick easy money, in the end they cost us both financially and emotionally. Be hesitant following people who claim great fortune with minimal work. Look towards businesses and employments that promise steady income with small steady gains over a long period of time.
"Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine."— Proverbs 3:9-10
Above all else, we need to remember our money is not our money, it is a gift from God. When God first commanded the Israelites to give ten percent of their income, it was because He wanted to remind them to put Him first.
This is not a command to make the churches rich, but rather to help the needy. A true church will not be using this money to make itself richer, but rather to help those in the community and grow the church as a community. If you feel your church is using the funds inappropriately, you may need to talk to the pastor where the money is going or find a church that aligns with your financial priorities. Churches often provide a financial statement that the congregation has access to. This will even have your pastors wages on it. This will give you insight as to how the tithe is being spent.
"Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed."— Romans 13:7
#7 Pay Your Taxes
One of the hardest things at the end of the year, especially as business owners, is visually seeing what cut of your income has been given towards taxes. Remember though, it was never your money - it is God's.
Be honest when you are filing taxes. Do not hide babysitting money or hobby income. Whether or not the government can "find" that income or not, God knows it is there. Though I cannot guarantee paying all your taxes will bring you financial freedom, I can guarantee that God sees what others do not see.
"On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that there will be no collecting when I come."— 1 Corinthians 16:2
"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
You never know what life is going to throw at you. Your husband's steady twenty-year-long job could lay him off. You may find yourself in need of a new car unexpectedly. There are going to be those surprise bills and those surprise events in life that cause you to become strapped for cash.
It is for this reason that God has encouraged us to have a savings (preferably one not connected to your checking) that you have set aside. This may become fun money in your retirement, or security money when a steady paycheck is no longer there. Saving is an often overlooked necessity. Even if it is just twenty dollars a pay period. The money adds up over a long period of time.
"For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?"— Luke 14:28
"Be not one of those who give pledges, who put up security for debts. If you have nothing with which to pay, why should your bed be taken from under you?"— Proverbs 22:26-27
"Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law."— Romans 13:8
#9 Don't Spend Money You Don't Have
In our society, it is just second nature to get a mortgage, to get a loan for your car, to put a trip on the credit card. All of these are areas that fall under spending money you don't have. My husband and I have fallen into this trap unintentionally and intentionally at two different times in our life. Each time we felt a great need to find true financial freedom and become debt free.
The first was due to medical bills, a mortgage, and student loans. The medical expenses were unavoidable and the mortgage and student loans were because we sincerely believed that was part of growing up. After feeling overwhelmed with those bills we realized the need to become debt free and used the snowball effect that Dave Ramsey explains above. We never paid off the mortgage, but became debt free otherwise.
Soon our income had risen, and we then made a nice income. We no longer lived paycheck to paycheck. We thought it was time to get nicer vehicles and incurred loans for the first time for vehicles. We then started businesses that we paid for with loans. Now, as we see all the payments we are paying out, we realize that we are in the same spot we were many years ago, except this time we did it knowingly. We have found that life is not as free as it was when were nearly debt free, so yet again we are working hard to become debt free again. Hopefully this time we have learned our lesson. Our goal is to truly become debt free once again - mortgage and all.
"Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, 'I will never leave you nor forsake you.'”— Hebrews 13:5
"For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness."— 1 Timothy 6:10-11
#10 Be Cautious Not to Love Money
The final thing to live a financially biblical healthy life is to be wary of making money an idol. You will know if money has become an idol if:
- you worry about how you are going to pay for things so much that you cannot enjoy life.
- you spend hours analyzing your budget; at the expense of time with your family.
- you sacrifice quality time with God and family in order to make more money.
- you have more debt than you make in a year.
- you have all the latest gadgets, but feel lonely.
Although I cannot guarantee financial freedom if you follow these steps, I do know that by following God's plan, there is great blessing. Too often we have found ourselves so far down the wrong path when it comes to finances, that it takes years to overcome where we had led ourselves. By following the biblical principles God laid out for us from the beginning will allow us to live more fulfilling lives, which reveals the importance of teaching our children these principles when they are young so they do not follow the same bad choices we ourselves made.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Questions & Answers
© 2018 Angela Michelle Schultz