It is a common misconception among non-Christians that the world of God and the world of money do not intersect. This could not be further from the truth. In fact, the Bible has over 1,000 verses that discuss money. In this article, we’ll discuss thirteen timeless pieces of financial advice straight from the Bible, as well as give you the actual Scripture references. Read on and discover (or rediscover) what God has to say about your financial life.
- 1. Make a budget so that you can anticipate your expenses ahead of time.
Luke 14:28-30 says this: “For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he may have enough to finish it; lest perhaps, after he has laid the foundation and is not able to finish, all those seeing begin to mock him, saying, This man began to build and was not able to finish.”
Don’t be one of those people who spends foolishly at the beginning of the month and doesn’t plan ahead for the expenses you will have later on. When you make a good budget, you won’t always be worrying about how you’re going to make it to your next paycheck.
2. Be honest without fail in your financial dealings and never try to cheat others.
Proverbs 13:11 says: “Wealth obtained by fraud dwindles, but the one who gathers by labor increases it.” Proverbs 16:8 says: “Better is a little with righteousness than great income with injustice.”
Even though it may seem justified to be dishonest if you are in financial difficulty, especially if you think you won’t get caught, remember that it pays to do things the right way. Always conduct your business with integrity, even if it means making less money.
3. Be content with the things that you have.
Philippians 4:11-13 says: “For I have learned to be content, whatever the circumstances may be. I know now how to live when things are difficult and I know how to live when things are prosperous. In general and in particular I have learned the secret of eating well or going hungry of facing either plenty of poverty. I am ready for anything through the strength of the One who lives within me.”
Paul’s letter to the Philippians illustrates the principle of contentment that is a hallmark of simple living. Choose to be content with the things you have, and you will focus on the things in life that are truly important, rather than on possessions. You will also be less likely to purchase things impulsively when you are living a contented lifestyle.
4. Don’t be afraid of having success in your life.
Deuteronomy 30:9 says: The Lord your God will then make you successful in everything you do. He will give you many children and numerous livestock, and he will cause your fields to produce abundant harvests, for the Lord will again delight in being good to you as he was to your ancestors.
Some well-intentioned Christians believe that because God tells us in the Bible that we should not love money, God does not want us to enjoy financial success and freedom. However, this is not the case. God is happy when you are successful, says the scripture above. Your “abundant harvest” can be used to help others in need and to help His kingdom on earth.
5. Pay off your debt as soon as possible.
Proverbs 22:7 says: “The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower becomes the lender’s slave.” 2 Kings 4:7 says: “Then she came and told the man of God. And he said, ‘Go, sell the oil and pay your debt, and you and your sons can live on the rest.’”
Even though we have a hard time avoiding debt entirely, the Bible tells us that we should get into debt with careful consideration, realizing that we lose some measure of freedom when we owe others money. When we do get into debt, we should pay it off as quickly as we can.
6. Avoid co-signing for other people.
Proverbs 6:1-2 says: “My son, if you have become surety for your neighbor, have given a pledge for a stranger, if you have been snared with the words of your mouth, have been caught with the words of your mouth, then do this, my son, to free yourself, since you have fallen into your neighbor’s hands: Go and humble yourself; press your plea with your neighbor!”
Proverbs 22:26-27 says: “Do not be a man who strikes hands in pledge or puts up security for debts; if you lack the means to pay, your very bed will be snatched from under you.”
Co-signing for others is serious business. If you aren’t sure if your friend or relative will be able to pay off the loan, you would be left holding the bag if they stop paying. And then you would either have to pay or you would be harassed by bill collectors. Your good name and good credit could also be ruined. These are all good reasons to support the Biblical idea that you shouldn’t co-sign for anyone else.
7. Don’t fall prey to get-rich-quick schemes.
Proverbs 13:11 says: “Dishonest money dwindles away, but he who gathers money little by little makes it grow.”
Proverbs 14:15 says: “The naive believes everything, but the sensible man considers his steps.”
It seems to be common sense, but get-rich-quick schemes are just that, schemes. They don’t really work, and the surest way for someone to lose money in the Internet Age is to believe some website that tells you “I make thousands of dollars a day with Google” or “Get Paid To Take Surveys!” Even more sobering is the warning that ill-gotten gains will “dwindle away.” Just think of how many people making risky trades on Wall Street suffered when the market collapsed in 2008.
8. Be a cheerful giver, remembering the blessings you have been given.
Luke 6:38 says: “Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.”
Acts 20:35 says: “In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
Even when we feel like we are struggling financially, there’s a good chance that someone else is having an even harder time of it. That’s why we should always strive to give freely, in the spirit that everything we have comes from God. We should feel happy to contribute even a small amount to others in need.
9. Seek wise counsel when you prepare to invest your money.
Proverbs 15:22 says: “Without consultation, plans are frustrated, but with many counselors they succeed.”
If you send your dog to the veterinarian, your child to the pediatrician, and your car to a mechanic, why wouldn’t you ask an expert for advice when it comes to investing money? Too many people think they can read a few articles online and learn everything there is to know about investing. Then they end up making costly mistakes that a wise financial counselor might have helped avoid.
10. Freely lend your money to those who need it, without worry of being repaid.
Matthew 5:42 says: “Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you.”
Luke 6:35 says: “But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men.”
This kind of advice might sound a little crazy to modern ears. However, giving freely when others ask us, provided that we have the money, is something that God wants us to do. Jesus preached a radical message of showing love for everyone, even the people you don’t like or trust. In these passages from the Gospels, he takes it a step further and says that you should extend this kind of “extreme generosity” to anyone who asks you for help. The rewards of showing such kindness may indeed be great.
11. Do not place money in a place of importance above God and your family; do not treat money as an idol.
1 Timothy 6:9-11 says: “But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness.”
This scripture reminds us not to place too much importance on money. It’s okay to work hard and enjoy the fruits of your labor, but when work and obsessing about money start to get in the way of your happiness, it’s not okay anymore. This scripture in many ways could be about “work-life balance.”
12. Plan for the future by saving your money wisely.
Proverbs 6:6-8 says: “Go to the ant, o sluggard, observe her ways and be wise, which, having no chief, officer or ruler, prepares her food in the summer and gathers her provision in the harvest.”
Proverbs 13:16 says: “A wise man thinks ahead; a fool doesn’t, and even brags about it!”
Saving for the future is not only a smart financial strategy, it’s biblical. By planning ahead for lean times and strategically putting money away, you make a safety net that just might come in handy. All of us are guaranteed to have “emergencies” like needing to get the car fixed and things like that. However, too many of us rely on credit cards, payday loans, or even pawn shops to get us through those times. Only by saving ahead of time can we prevent ill-advised borrowing.
13. Pay your taxes.
Romans 13:5-7 “Therefore you need to be in subjection, not only because of the wrath, but also for conscience’ sake. For this reason you also pay taxes, for they are servants of God’s service, attending continually on this very thing. Give therefore to everyone what you owe: taxes to whom taxes are due; customs to whom customs; respect to whom respect; honor to whom honor.”
In his letter to the Romans, Paul reminds them that following God doesn’t mean to reject the laws of the political world. It is important to be a good citizen in whatever country you live. That means paying taxes as required by law and following the other laws. Also, by paying your taxes on time, you’ll avoid being audited and paying penalties and interest.