Archives For Personal Finance Bible Verses

       8 Remove far from me falsehood and lies. Give me neither poverty nor riches. Feed me with the food that is needful for me; 9 lest I be full, deny you, and say, ‘Who is Yahweh?’ or lest I be poor, and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.

Proverbs 30:8-9 (WEB)

       These two verses from Proverbs give us wonderful insight into our need for contentment and Jesus’ purpose behind praying for “our daily bread”. First, we see that contentment is important because it helps us to remember God in all things. When we become rich, we can easily be tempted to ask why we even need God’s help any more. We have our money – why do we need God?

       But it’s also equally interesting that we should be praying to have the food that is needful – just enough. If we are poor, we’ll be tempted to steal and that would dishonor God’s name. It would be a sin that would grieve Him. So we see that it’s not outside of God’s will for us to pray for our needs to be met.

       Jesus makes this point in His example for prayer:

       7 In praying, don’t use vain repetitions, as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard for their much speaking. 8 Therefore don’t be like them, for your Father knows what things you need, before you ask him. 9 Pray like this: ‘Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy. 10 Let your Kingdom come. Let your will be done, as in heaven, so on earth. 11 Give us today our daily bread. 12 Forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors. 13 Bring us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For yours is the Kingdom, the power, and the glory forever. Amen.’

Matthew 6:7-13 (WEB)

       Jesus teaches us that it’s important to remember God knows our needs before we even ask Him. But it is still appropriate for us to pray for our daily bread – the things we need to get through each day. Again, showing that we are seeking contentment and not personal, worldly riches. We are praying for just enough – not for things that far exceed our needs. But we’re also praying that our needs will be met so we won’t be tempted to steal and thus sin.

       This idea of daily bread also ties into the Israelites’ journey through the wilderness where God provided them with manna. The Israelites could only collect enough manna to feed themselves for one day. Anything extra would rot. They were in complete dependence upon God’s provision. That’s what we’re praying for when we ask God for our daily bread. We’re saying, “God, I need your provision. I know I can’t do this on my own, but I know you can meet my needs.”

       So the next time you’re praying, remember to praise God and thank Him for the blessings He’s provided. But don’t hesitate to ask Him to continue to meet your needs. Ask Him for your daily bread – for just enough. Don’t be lead away by the deceitfulness of riches and begin praying for wealth. Ask God to give you what you need so you can serve Him faithfully, according to His will. God will answer such a prayer given with the right motives.

       Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future.

Proverbs 19:20 (ESV)

       Sound, prudent advice is a valuable tool for those who want to become wise. This admonition in Proverbs counsels us to listen to advice so we can gain wisdom. It’s a good idea to seek the advice of those with knowledge and wisdom. If we fully hear and accept their words, we can learn from them and prepare ourselves for the future.

       But we must be careful to weigh the advice we receive rather than believing everything. The idea behind this verse is not to necessarily do everything people tell you that you should. Rather, we should hear them and try to learn from their advice. Is it good or bad advice? Why? We’ll only gain wisdom when we examine the quality of that advice and how it applies.

       It’s interesting that this verse says you’ll gain wisdom in the future. The things we learn right now may not be of much help currently, but they may help us have a better understanding in the future. I’ve found this to be true in my life. I enjoy learning about a wide variety of topics – many of which are quite useless to me right now. But what I’ve found is that having a broad knowledge helps me understand the issues I’m dealing with now. I can apply concepts from one field to comprehend ideas in another. So it’s prudent for us to listen to good advice and be learning even when we don’t think it is useful now. A love of learning is a great tool for gaining wisdom.

       I pray that my writing on Provident Planning will help you gain wisdom for your personal finances. But please examine what I say, thoughtfully consider it, and see how it may or may not apply to your own situation. Ask questions. Disagree. Share your advice. In this way, we can all gain wisdom for the future.

       The man Jeroboam was a mighty man of valor; and Solomon saw the young man that he was industrious, and he put him in charge of all the labor of the house of Joseph.

1 Kings 11:28 (WEB)

       Jeroboam was put in charge of all the labor of the house of Joseph because he was industrious. He was a hard-working, diligent man who did his job well. He took pleasure in his work, and this was so evident to Solomon that he promoted Jeroboam to a position of power.

       Jeroboam is a good example of the value of hard work. When we’re steadfast and skilled in our work, we will find more opportunities are available to us. Options open up to us because of our hard work and because others recognize our abilities and determination. Those who do their job well will be rewarded for it in time – if not here, then eternally.

       It’s important for us to realize that when we work, we’re not working for men. We’re working for the glory of God. We should work as if Jesus is our boss. We should do what would please Him. In this way, we’ll bring honor to God’s name and lay a foundation for our future.

       In reading the story of Jeroboam, it’s clear that his hard work laid the foundation for his future as well. Solomon recognized him, and God recognized him as well. If you read through chapters 11 and 12, you’ll see that he was given ten of the tribes of Israel. While it seems that Jeroboam did not continue in the ways of the Lord, he at least began by following God’s call to hard work. And it was that hard work that was rewarded.

       How has your hard work been rewarded? How have you kept your focus on eternal rewards when your hard work has not been rewarded? Let me know in the comments!

       “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.”

Exodus 20:17 (WEB)

       The Tenth Commandment – you shall not covet. God warns the Israelites here against desiring things that belong to others. The interesting thing is that this is the only commandment that primarily focuses on internal sins specifically. All sin begins from within us, but coveting is something that can be very difficult for others to see. God’s teaching the Israelites they should guard their hearts against greed and envy.

       Coveting is still a major pitfall for Christians today. Whenever we desire something that’s not ours – something beyond what we have – we make ourselves susceptible to greed, envy, and discontentment. These are all things that God’s Word warns against throughout the entire Bible – not just in the Ten Commandments.

       This verse gives us at least one way we can try to avoid coveting in our lives. You’ll notice that the focus is on coveting what your neighbor has. “Your neighbor” doesn’t just mean the people you live near. It can be anyone you interact with or see. And in the case of coveting it’s anyone who has something that you want.

       So what can we do? Focus on ourselves instead of looking at what everyone else has. Count your blessings. Keep your eyes on your own situation and God’s plan for you. Don’t worry about what everyone else has – stop comparing yourself with them. Keep your heart focused on serving God and pleasing Him. By doing these things, we can guard against the envy, greed, and discontentment that always follow coveting.

       What about you? Have you struggled with coveting in the past? How did it affect you? How did you overcome it? Share your story in the comments!

Not for Itching Ears

Corey —  December 31, 2009

       If you want to hear how the Bible can make you a millionaire, you’re in the wrong place. If you want to hear that you can give 10% and you’ve done your duty to God, you’re in the wrong place. If you want to hear how easy life is going to be as a Christian, you should go do another Google search because you’re not going to find that here.

       Provident Planning is not a place for people with itching ears.

       But if you want to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ, you’ve come to the right place. If you want to know what the Bible – not man – teaches about money, you’ve come to the right place. If you desire to be a lover of God rather than a lover of money, then I invite you to join me as I seek God’s Truth for personal finances.

       3 For the time will come when they will not listen to the sound doctrine, but, having itching ears, will heap up for themselves teachers after their own lusts; 4 and will turn away their ears from the truth, and turn aside to fables.

2 Timothy 4:3-4 (WEB)

       A lot of the most popular teaching about personal finance for Christians emphasizes how Biblical financial principles can make you rich. This naturally appeals to many people because the love of money is so prevalent in our society. Those who teach how the Bible can make you rich while putting little emphasis on God’s true purpose for those riches are doing nothing but scratching the itching ears.

       God’s Word is not a guide on how to get rich and enjoy all the fine things of the World. God doesn’t want rich Christians to splurge on luxuries while their brothers and sisters die from hunger and thirst. The Gospel is not about how you can prosper in this life. Jesus didn’t die on the cross so you can retire early.

       Jesus warned us of the dangers of greed. He taught us to give generously to anyone in need. He taught us to seek God’s Kingdom first – to make it our top priority in life. All of God’s Word testifies to the fact that our best life will be an eternal life in Heaven – not here on Earth. He has warned us that this life will be full of trials, tribulations, hard times, and difficulties. But He has promised us the most wonderful blessing – eternal life with Him for anyone who believes in His Son, Jesus Christ.

       3 If anyone teaches a different doctrine, and doesn’t consent to sound words, the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness, 4 he is conceited, knowing nothing, but obsessed with arguments, disputes, and word battles, from which come envy, strife, insulting, evil suspicions, 5 constant friction of people of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. Withdraw yourself from such.

1 Timothy 6:3-5 (WEB)

       Many false teachers talk about how God will bless you if you’re a Christian. Or they tell you to send them a love gift or plant a seed and God will pour out miraculous financial blessings for you. These people do not teach the whole Word of God! We are to have nothing to do with those who twist the Scriptures for their own financial gain or teach a gospel different from the one Jesus taught.

       As Christians, we are rich – but you can’t measure our wealth in dollars. We have eternal life with God as our promised reward for faith in Jesus. That reward outweighs anything you can imagine for yourself in this life – and that reward is why contentment and giving should be our primary concerns when it comes to money. Reflect on these words from the Bible:

       6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we certainly can’t carry anything out. 8 But having food and clothing, we will be content with that.

       9 But those who are determined to be rich fall into a temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful lusts, such as drown men in ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some have been led astray from the faith in their greed, and have pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

       11 But you, man of God, flee these things, and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, and gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of faith. Lay hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you confessed the good confession in the sight of many witnesses. 13 I command you before God, who gives life to all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate testified the good confession, 14 that you keep the commandment without spot, blameless, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ; 15 which in its own times he will show, who is the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; 16 who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light; whom no man has seen, nor can see: to whom be honor and eternal power. Amen.

       17 Charge those who are rich in this present world that they not be haughty, nor have their hope set on the uncertainty of riches, but on the living God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy; 18 that they do good, that they be rich in good works, that they be ready to distribute, willing to communicate; 19 laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold of eternal life.

1 Timothy 6:6-19 (WEB)

       So if you want to learn what God says about money and what the Bible teaches about personal finance, then please sign up for free updates to Provident Planning. And if you ever find me teaching anything contrary to the Scripture or the Gospel of Jesus Christ, please contact me and let me know.

       But if you just want someone to tell you the things you want to hear, you’ll have to go somewhere else to get your ears scratched.

Show Me in the Scriptures…

Corey —  October 27, 2009

       A reader recently left a comment on my post discussing how much you should have in your emergency fund. Frank said:

Could you please show me in Scripture where it says believers are to have an emergency fund?

Thank you.

       I responded to Frank’s question in the comments, but I think this is an important enough issue to address in its own post.

       Not all personal finance advice can be backed up with a specific quote from Scripture. Does that mean it is bad or unchristian? Not in the least. If the advice follows the pattern of teaching and wisdom in the Bible, it can still be considered good advice for Christians despite the lack of a specific Biblical reference.

       For example, is there a specific Bible verse telling you that you should create a will? No. But it’s still a wise thing to do. Is there a specific Bible verse that tells us to update our résumés? Again, the answer is no, but that doesn’t change the validity of the advice.

       This concept doesn’t apply just to personal finance. Is there a Bible verse telling us to buckle our seat belts? Nope. But does that mean you’re trusting your seat belt more than God if you buckle it? What about looking both ways before you cross the street? Do you lack faith because you do this?

       The problem with applying the “show me in the Scriptures” test is that there is not specific advice for every single situation we will encounter in life. There are guiding principles and values that, along with God’s Holy Spirit, will help us discern the wise choices. But you’re not going to find Bible verses telling you to brush your teeth, stop eating at McDonald’s, or to take advantage of an HSA if you’re eligible.

       Scripture does contain many verses teaching us the importance of wisdom in handling our affairs. Here are a couple examples:

       The simple believes everything, but the prudent gives thought to his steps.

Proverbs 14:15 (WEB)

       The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty.

Proverbs 21:5 (WEB)

       Precious treasure and oil are in a wise man’s dwelling, but a foolish man devours it.

Proverbs 21:20 (WEB)

       The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it.

Proverbs 22:3 (WEB)

       In fact, the entire book of Proverbs points to the importance of wisdom and its place in the life of those who follow God. But what about all the times Jesus told us not to store up treasures on earth? Or when He taught us not to worry about what we’ll eat and drink and wear?

       Tell me, what did Christ mean when He said do not worry or be anxious? What does it mean to worry or be anxious? Those words mean to be distressed, uneasy, and tormented with care about something (material things in this case). Christ’s solution was for us to “seek first the Kingdom of God”. Instead of being worried about how we’ll meet our material needs, we should be worried about how we’ll meet our spiritual needs – how will we serve God and draw closer to Him.

       You can be worried and anxious about material things whether or not you wisely plan ahead. I can have an emergency fund and still be worried about material things. I can not have one and still be worried about material things. Even if I have an emergency fund, I can stop worrying either because I have that money saved or because I trust in God’s provision. That brings us to the other main teaching of Christ about money.

       When Jesus taught about storing up treasures and serving Money what did He mean? What does it mean to be wealthy or rich or to have treasure? All those words denote an abundance, which means having much more than what is sufficient or needed. Jesus’ warnings about wealth were not to tell us that we should never use money appropriately to meet our needs. Jesus warned us instead of the danger in accumulating more than what we really need. He told us not to become consumed with money and wealth.

       There is a vast difference between being consumed with accumulating an abundance of wealth and planning wisely to have enough to meet our needs. In the same way, there is a huge difference between being occupied with worry and prudently foreseeing needs and dangers and preparing to face those situations. These two teachings that Jesus gave us are so often stretched to mean that we should never save anything at all for the future because that demonstrates a lack of faith. The truth is that Jesus taught us to:

  1. Give God and His Ways priority in our thoughts and lives.

  3. Avoid storing up more money than we will need. (That is, not to let becoming rich be our priority in life.)

       Proverbs commends wisdom and many New Testament verses speak to the importance of providing for your own family. We are not taught to make ourselves a burden to others when it is within our power to care for ourselves. Instead, we are taught that if there are any among us who cannot provide for themselves it is our responsibility as fellow Christians to care and provide for those people. Jesus’ teachings combined with the rest of Scripture in no way preclude us from saving for the future, using insurance, or utilizing money in any other wise manner. What is forbidden is making Money our god – giving priority to accumulating more money than we really need instead of serving God.

       The real issue then becomes finding contentment in Christ and determining our true needs. The danger we face is allowing the world to dictate our needs and success (a bigger house, a fancy car, expensive clothes, etc.) instead of learning to live on enough (our daily bread). That is the bigger issue here and the battle all of us Christians face. Once we have submitted to God in our discontentment and covetousness, we will be able to make Money serve us and God’s Kingdom instead of allowing it to be our master. But these are all topics worthy of their own discussion (contentment, defining needs, and avoiding covetousness).

       Please share your thoughts on this topic in the comments. I’m looking forward to hearing from all of you!