A close-up shot of an open Bible, displaying highlighted verses about finances, surrounded by a stack of coins and a calculator, symbolizing biblical guidance for managing wealth.

What Does The Bible Say About Finances?

The Bible has a lot to say about how we should handle our money and possessions. In a world where wealth is often seen as a sign of God’s blessing, what does God actually call us to do with our finances?

This comprehensive article will walk through the key principles, stories, and verses in Scripture that teach us how to steward our resources well.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: The Bible encourages earning money ethically, avoiding debt, giving generously, saving wisely, and seeking God rather than riches.

God Owns Everything

The Bible clearly states that God ultimately owns everything on earth. As Psalm 24:1 declares, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.” This foundational truth shapes how followers of Christ should view possessions and money.

We are stewards, not owners

Since God owns all things, that means believers are simply managers or stewards of the resources God has placed under their care for a period of time. According to the Evangelical Christian Credit Union’s 2022 finances report, 81% of Christians agree that God calls them to be wise stewards of their money and possessions.

The Bible uses the metaphor of a manager to describe humanity’s role. In several of Jesus’ parables, he refers to money and possessions being entrusted to “managers” by their master (Luke 12:42-48, 16:1-15). Like a manager, Christians are not the ultimate owners.

Rather, they are tasked with managing well what the true owner, God, has placed in their hands.

Trusting God’s Provision

Since God owns everything, followers of Christ can trust that He will provide what they need. Philippians 4:19 assures, “My God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”

However, this does not mean believers should be idle and expect God to magically give them money. Rather, they should diligently work while also trusting God to ultimately determine what is best (2 Thessalonians 3:10).

Part of trusting God’s provision is being content with what one has. The author of Hebrews instructs, “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).

Contentment flows from recognizing that God promises to be with His children and care for them.

Additionally, God may provide for financial needs through other believers. For instance, the early church shared its possessions so that no one was needy (Acts 2:44-45). Similarly, Paul thanks the Philippian church for generously providing for his needs on more than one occasion (Philippians 4:15-16).

As in the early church, God still often meets people’s financial needs through Christ’s body, the church.

Working and Earning Money

Working hard and well

The Bible has a lot to say about working hard and working well. Here are some key points:

  • We should work hard and diligently at whatever job we have (Colossians 3:23). Mediocrity is not honoring to God.
  • We should work cheerfully and not complain, knowing that our labor is ultimately for the Lord (Colossians 3:23-24).
  • As employees, we should obey our bosses and respect their authority (Ephesians 6:5-8). This applies even if the boss is not a believer.

The Bible commends quality work done with excellence. As Christians, we represent Christ in how we work. Working with integrity, honesty, skill, and dedication brings glory to God and is a powerful witness to others.

Being ethical in business

The Bible has strong warnings against dishonest business practices like cheating customers and employees. Here are some key principles for doing business in an ethical way:

  • Use honest scales and do not cheat people (Proverbs 11:1). Do not deceive, overcharge, or fail to deliver on promises.
  • Pay fair wages to employees and do not delay payment (Jeremiah 22:13, James 5:4). Treat employees justly.
  • Do not gain profit through violence, extortion, or manipulation (Ezekiel 22:12-13). Seek honest gain.
  • Help the poor through charitable programs (Leviticus 25:35-37). Be generous and share with those in need.

As Christians in business, we are called to a higher standard of ethics. We should be known for integrity, honesty, and fair dealing with customers and employees. This honors God and sets a Christ-like example in the marketplace.

Avoiding Debt

The borrower is slave to the lender

The Bible has strong warnings against debt. Proverbs 22:7 says, “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender.” This verse makes it clear that when we are in debt, we are not fully free. The lender has a certain amount of control over the borrower’s life.

Being in debt can lead to stress, sleepless nights, and conflict in marriages and families. It can even impact our spiritual lives, as we worry about money rather than focusing on God. The borrower must work to pay back the debt, reducing time for family, church, and rest.

Some financial experts suggest that consumer debt should be avoided as much as possible. Debt like mortgages, student loans, and perhaps car loans may be necessary, but credit card debt, retail store cards, and payday loans should be prevented through wise money management.

When we buy only what we can afford, stay within a budget, and save up for purchases, we avoid enslaving ourselves to lenders.

Debt can lead to poverty

Proverbs 22:7 also indicates that debt can lead to poverty. When we take on more debt than we can handle, it becomes a cycle that is difficult to break out of. The monthly payments keep us locked in debt.

High interest rates mean consumers end up paying far more than the original price of items they purchased. Mishandled debt is one of the primary paths to bankruptcy and financial ruin.

Statistically, the average U.S. household carries $6,194 in credit card debt alone as of 2019. Combined with other debts like student loans and mortgages, many families struggle under a heavy debt burden. Surveys find that over half of adults worry about being able to pay monthly bills.

For Christians seeking financial freedom and desiring to honor God, avoiding unnecessary debt through wise stewardship is essential.

The Bible warns that debt can put us in bondage. By staying out of unneeded debt, building savings, living within our means, and asking God for help, we can manage money wisely and avoid potential poverty. With God’s help, we can find freedom from debt!

Giving Generously

Tithing in the Old Testament

In the Old Testament, God instructed His people to give a tithe (10%) of their income and harvests back to Him. This principle of tithing was a way for God’s people to worship Him by trusting in His provision and recognizing that all they had ultimately belonged to God (Leviticus 27:30-32, Deuteronomy 14:22-29).

Tithing showed that God was their ultimate provider and they depended on Him. Through tithing, God’s people also supported the temple and the work of the Levites who served there.

Cheerful Givers

In the New Testament, we are not required to tithe but are encouraged to give freely, cheerfully, and sacrificially to support the work of ministry and meet the needs of others (2 Corinthians 9:7). As Christians, we recognize that everything we have is a gift from God, and He calls us to steward these resources wisely for His purposes and glory.

Our giving should come from a place of love, joy, and generosity – not obligation or compulsion. When we give cheerfully, we reflect God’s generosity toward us in Christ.

Do Not Store Up Treasures on Earth

Jesus instructed His followers not to store up treasures for themselves on earth but to store up eternal treasures in heaven (Matthew 6:19-21). Our finances and possessions can easily become idols if we value accumulating wealth over obeying and trusting God.

Jesus warns us of the temptation to serve money rather than God. The antidote is to be radically generous – using our resources to love others, meet needs, and advance God’s kingdom. This frees us from finding our security in earthly things and positions us to receive God’s blessings and rewards.

Saving Wisely

Joseph saved during times of plenty

The Bible provides an amazing example of wise saving through the story of Joseph in Genesis 41. When Joseph interpreted Pharaoh’s dream, he warned of seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine.

Joseph advised Pharaoh to save a fifth of the harvest during the good years so there would be food during the famine. Pharaoh appointed Joseph to oversee this plan, and Joseph saved so much that “the supply was beyond measure” (Genesis 41:49).

This allowed Egypt to not just survive but thrive during the famines that devastated surrounding nations. Joseph’s forward thinking and wise saving of resources provides an outstanding model for stewardship.

Ant and sluggard proverbs

Several biblical proverbs contrast the wise saving habits of ants with the foolishness of lazy people who make no preparations for the future. Proverbs 6:6-8 says, “Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise!

It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.” Ants don’t have bosses telling them what to do, but they work hard and plan ahead for lean times.

Proverbs 30:24-25 declares ants “wise” and “exceedingly strong” despite their small size. Meanwhile, it warns sluggards, “How long will you slumber, O sluggard? When will you rise from your sleep?” (Proverbs 6:9). Plan ahead and save diligently, or end up destitute.

Saving shows trust in God’s provision

Although God miraculously provided food for the Israelites each day in the wilderness, saving resources still demonstrates faith and wisdom. Exodus 16:16-21 describes how the Israelites were commanded to only gather enough manna for their daily bread, except on the day before the Sabbath when they saved enough for two days.

Trusting that God would provide again tomorrow rather than hoarding excess food showed reliance on Him. Yet gathering extra before the Sabbath showed prudence and honored God’s command for a day of rest.

As Matthew Henry’s commentary notes, “We are outwardly to use the proper means for our support, and in this to look no further than God’s providence; we must not tempt God.” Wise saving recognizes God’s past faithfulness and trusts Him for the future.

Seeking God, Not Riches

You cannot serve both God and money

Jesus said in Matthew 6:24, “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money.” This verse makes it clear that our focus should be on serving God, not acquiring money and possessions.

When we seek money and riches, we can easily become greedy and selfish. The desire for wealth can take over our lives in an unhealthy way. But if we keep God first in our lives, we will have a proper perspective about finances and material things.

As Psalm 62:10 says, “Don’t make your living by extortion or put your hope in stealing. And if your wealth increases, don’t make it the center of your life.”

Rich people face challenges entering heaven

Jesus said in Mark 10:23-25, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God! In fact, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!” Why is this the case?

When people are very wealthy, they can fall into the trap of trusting in their riches rather than in God. They may wrongly think their money can solve any problem or provide complete security. The truth is, only God can fully satisfy.

So being extremely rich can actually lead people away from relying on God. That’s why those with great wealth have to be on guard against greed and pride. They need to generously share their resources with others and avoid letting money become an idol in their hearts.

Contentment does not come from possessions

No matter how much money someone has, true contentment comes from God, not possessions. Ecclesiastes 5:10 states, “Those who love money will never have enough. How meaningless to think that wealth brings true happiness!” Material things provide fleeting happiness at best.

The joy that Jesus provides surpasses anything this world offers. As Hebrews 13:5 says, “Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, ‘I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.'” Being obsessed with accumulating more wealth leads to anxiety, frustration, and emptiness.

But when we find life’s greatest treasure in Christ, we can experience deep satisfaction and peace – regardless of our bank account balance. As Matthew 6:33 reminds us, “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.”


The Bible contains timeless principles for how to handle money and possessions in a godly way. While cultures and economies change over time, the wisdom of Scripture remains constant. If we can learn to view God as our ultimate provider and treasure, it frees us from finding our security in money.

When we follow biblical financial principles, we can generously share all that God has given us and trust Him fully for all that we need.

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