What Does the Bible Say about Finances?

Many believers only think about their money in terms of tithing, giving 10% of their income. However, the Bible says a lot about our personal finances, including the need to give sacrificially and to avoid loving and grasping onto our money.

As Randy Alcorn, a Christian author, says on his blog, “What we do with our money doesn’t simply indicate where our heart is. According to Jesus, it determines where our heart goes.

Jesus taught us that where our treasure is, there our heart will be also (Matthew 6:21). As believers, we need to consider where our “treasure” is going. Are we spending our finances to serve ourselves and make our lives indulgently comfortable?

Do we try to keep our bank accounts separate from our Christian life? If Jesus is the priority of our life, then we must start examining the topic of finances from a biblical standpoint.

So, what does the Bible say about the use of our money? The following points provide a biblical overview so that we can start glorifying God with our money and using our resources to forward the spread of the gospel.

We Are Stewards of Our Finances

People can easily assume that they are the owners of their money. In their reasoning, they work for money, and thus their finances belong to them. While individuals do earn money from their jobs, the Bible teaches us that we are stewards of our finances, not owners.

In James 1:17, believers are reminded that “every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”

The ability to work and make money is from the Lord, as He provides us with strength and opportunities (Deuteronomy 8:18). Since we would have nothing in life if not for God’s provision, it is foolish for us to think that our finances are our own.

The parable of the talents teaches us that we are stewards of all the resources God entrusts to us, including the money we make from our jobs. In the parable, the servants are given varying degrees of money, and the Master returns to see how they used the money (Matthew 25:14-30). Likewise, we are the servants, and the money belongs to God.

As Jesus stated in a different parable, “If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities. And if you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches of heaven?” (Luke 16:10-11, NLT).

Looking at financial matters from a biblical standpoint changes the way we use money. When we recognize that we are stewards of our bank accounts, our perspectives change.

Instead of maintaining a temporary focus on building large nest eggs for retirement or investing money to make the dollar signs increase, biblical stewardship helps us to see our finances from an eternal focus.

Beware the Love of Money

Another essential teaching from Scripture about finances is that we should beware of the love of money. Paul described this in a letter to Timothy:

Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs (1 Timothy 6:9-10).

Although having money is not wrong, we need to be careful to guard our hearts against greed. When people allow the love of money to consume their lives, finances become an idol.

Anyone, including a believer, can wrongly place their bank account as the priority in their lives. Jesus reminds us that we cannot serve both God and money (Matthew 6:24).

Heeding the warning of Scripture, we can turn away from the idol of wealth. Placing our hope and trust in money is foolish because it can quickly disappear (Proverbs 23:5). The wise person places their hope in the Lord, “who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment” (1 Timothy 6:17).

The Need for Contentment

In the same passage that warns us of the love of money, the Apostle Paul exhorts us to be content with necessities (1 Timothy 6:6-8).

The author of Hebrews also mentions the need for contentment when he wrote, “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you’” (Hebrews 13:5).

God provides us with the basics we need in life, such as food, clothing, and shelter. Scripture teaches that pagans chase after necessities from a place of fear and worry (Matthew 6:32). However, we can rest assured that God gives us what we need, just as he feeds the sparrows and clothes the flowers of the field (Matthew 6:25-30).

If we live simpler lives, free from the entanglement of unneeded items, we are less likely to desire more money to accumulate things we cannot afford.

Jesus gave His disciples an important warning when He said, “Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own” (Luke 12:15, NLT). Using our money foolishly and building a mound of possessions does not reflect a biblical attitude focused on Christ.

Contentment with necessities is also important because we will not take our finances or possessions with us to heaven. In fact, all our material goods will eventually fade away like the earth (1 Corinthians 7:31 and 1 John 2:17).

While we do need money to live in this world, we should not grasp onto it. Believers are mere travelers or pilgrims in this world, and we should seek to invest in our heavenly home instead of building up kingdoms of wealth on earth.

Laying Up Real Treasure in Heaven

During His earthly ministry, Jesus gave the parable about the rich fool. A rich man harvested a large amount of grain and told himself: “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry” (Luke 12:19).

Despite the man’s wealth, God demanded the man’s life that night (Luke 12:20). As Jesus said, “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God” (Luke 12:21).

Instead of building up our bank accounts on earth, Scripture encourages us to lay up treasures for ourselves in heaven (Matthew 6:19-21). Our finances can help us have a true treasure in eternity if we invest in making a difference in God’s Kingdom.

In the Bible, we are encouraged to give cheerfully and to work hard to help those in need (Acts 20:35; 2 Corinthians 9:6-7).

The world tells us to make our life comfortable and easy with excess money. However, the Bible says that believers should “use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others. By doing this they will be storing up their treasure as a good foundation for the future so that they may experience true life” (1 Timothy 6:18-19, NLT).

Giving generously and sacrificially from our finances is countercultural, but believers should want to follow Christ, not the world’s example.

Using our money to support local churches, missionary work to unreached people groups, gospel-centered help for those in poverty, and causes of justice are all ways we can lay up treasure in Heaven.

Why Does This Matter?

By living generously, freely giving from our finances to help others and spread the gospel, we will reap eternal rewards. We may go against mainstream society by living simply and giving more from our resources, but we will be rich toward God.

Instead of thinking that we own our money, the Bible teaches we are stewards of our finances. Let us invest our money wisely for the glory of the Lord.

For further reading:

What Does the Bible Say about Money?

Will God Help Me Solve My Financial Problems?

Did Paul Teach That ‘Money Is the Root of All Evil’?

Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/AndreyPopov

Sophia Bricker is a freelance writer who enjoys researching and writing articles on biblical and theological topics. In addition to contributing articles about biblical questions as a contract writer, she has also written for Unlocked devotional. She holds a BA in Ministry, a MA in Ministry, and is currently pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing to develop her writing craft. As someone who is passionate about the Bible and faith in Jesus, her mission is to help others learn about Christ and glorify Him in her writing. When she isn’t busy studying or writing, Sophia enjoys spending time with family, reading, drawing, and gardening. 

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