What does the bible say about money? A lot, actually. In fact, the word “money” is used over 140 times in the Bible – that’s more mentions than prayer, healing, and mercy! If you do a quick search online, you’ll find an endless supply of articles detailing the Bible’s wisdom concerning debt, tithing and all matters of financial wisdom. However, there’s a topic that often gets left out of the Biblical financial principles’ discussion: Biblical warnings about money.
The Bible provides many warnings about money – warnings that should be taken very seriously. Since it is our goal to help clients grow their long-term wealth, we believe it is our duty to raise awareness about the dangers of money. This is the first in a series that examines the Bible’s warnings about money. The following is a broad overview of the Bible’s monetary warnings on some overarching principles that help us understand God’s general view on money.
Money Isn’t Inherently Evil
The Bible considers most things in the world to be “morally neutral” – that is, their essence is neither “good” nor “bad”. You could use a hammer for example: is a hammer good or bad? By itself, the answer would have to be neither. In the hands of a skilled carpenter, a hammer could have many “good” uses. If the hammer ended up in the wrong hands then it could easily be put to a “bad” use.
Money falls into this same category of neutrality. Merely having wealth is neither a good nor bad thing; it’s how you view your money and what you do with it that matters. One of the most famous (and often misquoted) Bible verses is 1 Timothy 6:10:
“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.” (ESV, emphasis added)
A careful inspection of this verse indicates that “money” itself isn’t a root of all kinds of evils, but “the love of money” is. The Bible’s warnings don’t center around money itself, but rather our attitude toward it.
“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 6:28-29)
Unfortunately, there’s no escaping risk when it comes to your money. If you invest in the stock market, you could see a major decline. If you deposit it in a bank, those banks may fail along with the government that insures it. If you keep it within a safe in your house, it could be stolen. Even if you manage to hold on to all your wealth until the day you die: we can’t take any of it with us.
As Christians, we know that life on Earth is a vapor compared to the eternity that we’ll spend in heaven. Jesus’ warning indicates that there is a way to invest your money, time, and resources that lasts into eternity. So yes, invest your money and build a retirement fund, but recognize that God calls us to grow our wealth so that we can use it for heavenly purposes.
Money Never Satisfies
John Rockefeller, one of the richest Americans who has ever lived, was once asked how much money would be “enough”. His answer? “Just a little bit more”. This exemplifies another warning that the Bible gives in Ecclesiastes 5:10:
“He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity.” (ESV)
Money seems like it will satisfy, but it never does. That verse was written by King Solomon, who was perhaps the richest man in history. He received 25 tons of gold during every year of his reign, had 700 wives and 300 concubines, and states that he indulged every one of his hearts desires (Ecclesiastes 2:10). Yet, at the end of his life, he was still able to say that “he who loves money will not be satisfied.”
Even though we naturally think that just a little bit more money will increase satisfaction, the Bible gives a clear warning that this isn’t true.
“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)
All of Scripture’s monetary warnings revolve around this point: money distracts us from the purpose for which we were created. All the universe exists to display God’s glory and the Bible provides a clear message that we were created for one purpose: to enjoy and glorify God. This is why the Bible is filled with clear warnings on the danger of money.
God knows that despite what our hearts may tell us that worldly desires will not provide satisfaction. Although money itself isn’t inherently evil, it is temporal, it never satisfies, and it does a great job of taking our focus off the reason that we were created.
This report is a publication of Demand Wealth. Information presented is believed to be factual and up-to-date, but we do not guarantee its accuracy and 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 publication and are subject to change.