What You Need to Know about Biblical Finances & Planning
Everyone needs a financial plan to take control of their money. Many Christians look for financial advice from the Bible so that they can focus on Bible-based financial planning instead of just creating a financial plan that does not consider their Christian faith.
The reality is, there are hundreds of Bible verses about financial planning, and all of them contain advice on how to live a sound and stable financial existence. In fact, in the Bible, Jesus discusses money more than any other subject, even more than discussing heaven and hell.
It’s clear that how you manage your money and the role you let it play in your life is important, not just for avoiding debt, but for your mental, emotional, and spiritual health. Biblical financial planning is a way for Christians to find this healthy balance with money.
Below is a guide on biblical finances supported by Bible verses about financial planning.
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Biblical Financial Advice on Tithing
It is impossible to discuss biblical financial planning without discussing tithing. Tithing is the practice of giving 10% of your earnings back to the church or to charity as the Israelites did. Many believe that tithing is a core principle of biblical finances, as it ties your financial situation to God and to charity.
However, some argue that the New Testament shows preference for free giving and not giving under compulsion, as described in 2 Corinthians 9:7:
“Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”
It is even argued that tithing is a form of hypocrisy or ingenuine lip service to the religion, as seen in Luke 11:42:
“Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone.”
It is also argued that tithing should be more focused on giving to the less fortunate in the form of charity instead of only going to the Church.
Nevertheless, tithing is still quite a common practice of Bible-based financial planning. Many modern Christians tithe their gross salary as a form of biblical budgeting. Tithing is a way to ensure that your family or household gives back to the ministry regularly.
It would be difficult to find any form of biblical financial management or Bible investment advice that does not include some sort of tithing or regular charitable donations. Online programs such as easytithe.com allow Christians to set up their tithing easily and allow churches to collect online.
Biblical Financial Advice on Giving When You Are Poor
In general, Christianity preaches charity and giving generously. This might seem difficult to someone who is suffering from financial difficulty. Of course, charity is not expected of someone in extremely difficult circumstances. Deuteronomy 16:17 states that:
“Each of you must bring a gift in proportion to the way the Lord your God has blessed you. ”
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However, giving to charity can help with the psychology of an individual, even if they are not wealthy, by allowing them to be grateful for what they have. Giving when you are less fortunate has even more reward than giving when you are rich.
In Mark 12:41-44, after a poor woman puts only two small coins in the treasury, Jesus says,
“‘Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.’”
Biblical Financial Advice on Generosity and Charity
It is a common lesson in the study of biblical finances that a generous heart leads to success. There are practical reasons to consider when contemplating this idea. For example, when you circulate money, you help the economy and therefore better the situation of everyone in the society. Also, when you are generous, you are helping those less fortunate and bettering the situation of society as a whole.
Whether or not these practical considerations are at the basis of the lesson, multiple Bible verses about financial planning speak to the phenomenon that the more you give, the more bountiful you will be.
Deuteronomy 15:10 says,
“Give generously to them and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to. ”
Likewise, Proverbs 11:24-25 says,
“One person gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty.
A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.”
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Biblical Financial Advice on Greed
Perhaps God’s love for generosity in the Bible is a result of the biblical truth that the love of money only breeds the love for more money. Money is described in the Bible as a competing false god to the one true God.
The fact that money is given a name shows the intensity with which Jesus reviled the coveting of money. In this way, loving money is a form of idolatry, and one cannot worship money and worship God at the same time.
Matthew 6:24 says,
“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”
Therefore, by being generous with money and helping those less fortunate, you are you helping spread resources throughout society and helping the economy. You are also protecting yourself from coveting money and committing idolatry.
Also, just like giving will open the door to God’s blessing and guidance, coveting money will lead a Christian astray from their faith.
1 Timothy 6:10 says,
“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.”
Many people let the love of money lead them to abandon their morals or sacrifice their family or worship time in order to work.
It is important to consider this idea when considering how you are going to begin biblical financial planning. If you are looking for financial advice from the Bible, you should consider how to focus heavily on giving generously and how to keep God, not money, in the center of your life.
Biblical Financial Advice on Spending
One might ask where the money to give to charity and tithe comes from, especially if they are already in a difficult financial situation. Biblical budgeting makes more room for charity by making less room for frivolous purchases. For example, many Christians decide to cut television out of their budget, as not only does cable add high costs to their monthly payments, but television also is constantly advertising products and convincing us to buy them. Minimizing the temptation to buy unnecessary items is an important part of biblical financial planning.
Does this mean a Christian is forced to eschew money and live in total poverty? No. Solomon and Abraham were both considered wealthy in their time. Spending on one’s family is actually a biblical obligation, as referenced in 1 Timothy 5:8:
“Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”
In other words, providing for your family is not only acceptable, it is encouraged in Christianity. Studying biblical finances is about finding the balance between spending, saving, and giving.
Biblical Financial Advice on Debt
Many Americans know the struggle of living with debt. The Bible teaches to be very tempered in one’s approach to debt. In general, God warns against debt in the Bible. Debt is even referred to as a form of slavery. Some argue that borrowing or lending with interest is forbidden altogether in the rules of biblical finances. Luke 6:35 states,
“But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.”
However, many modern Christians choose to avoid only excessive interest and borrowing unnecessarily. This is because it is nearly impossible to live a life in the United States without ever borrowing money. If you do amass debt, the Bible teaches to pay it off quickly, as in Proverbs 3:28:
“Do not say to your neighbor,‘C ome back tomorrow and I’ll give it to you’— when you already have it with you.”
One of the most important lessons regarding debt in the bible is to pay what you say you will pay. Romans 13:7-8 says,
“Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.
Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.”
On the other end of the spectrum it is a common teaching in the Bible to forgive debts whenever possible. Certainly, biblical finances focuses less on how to amass wealth and more on how to manage the role of money in your life and protect yourself from dangerous practices.
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Biblical Financial Advice on Earning
So how does biblical financial planning approach earning money? Well, it is widely accepted that the Bible encourages working hard as the way to being prosperous, as stated in Colossians 3:23:
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters”
There are two lessons within this verse that relate to biblical finances. The first is that one must commit 100% to their work. The second is that one must work as if they are working directly for God, not for a human master.
Another verse relating to hard work is Proverbs 14:23:
“All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.”
Once again, biblical financial planning makes room for hard work. One cannot earn an honest and sustainable life by simply talking big or sweet-talking people. True value will come from working hard and committing to a project for God. It is also referenced multiple times in the Bible that working with one’s “hands” is the way to honest work. This might mean physical labor, such as farming, or building and creating things to help society.
Biblical Finanical Advice on True Wealth
The Bible says that hard work is also the key to finding true richness and wealth.
Proverbs 13:4 says:
“A sluggard’s appetite is never filled, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied.”
The harder you work, the less you will crave and feel unsatisfied. In other words, working hard is not only a way to bring in real wealth, it is also the best way to feel content with what you have and therefore feel more wealthy. This is important advice from the Bible about finances. Christians try to keep these morals in mind when considering how to earn a living that keeps in line with biblical values.
Biblical Financial Advice: Conclusion
Perhaps the overall guide to biblical finances can be summed up in this verse, 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12:
“And to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.”
The key to biblical financial management is to balance living modestly, working hard, and remaining independent of others through debt or refusal to work for yourself. The Bible teaches to be independent and to provide for one’s family without going into debt. It also teaches to forgive the debts of others and give to charity whenever you are able. This modest approach to finances starkly contrasts to the hyper-consumer and high-debt society we live in today, and it is worth considering if biblical budgeting is right for you and your family.
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AdvisoryHQ (AHQ) Disclaimer:
Reasonable efforts have been made by AdvisoryHQ to present accurate information, however all info is presented without warranty. Review AdvisoryHQ’s Terms for details. Also review each firm’s site for the most updated data, rates and info.
Note: Firms and products, including the one(s) reviewed above, may be AdvisoryHQ's affiliates. Click to view AdvisoryHQ's advertiser disclosures.