Investing money for financial gain is a common practice today, but what guidance does the Bible provide on this topic? At first glance, the Bible doesn’t directly address concepts like stocks, bonds, and mutual funds that make up today’s markets.
However, a deeper look at Biblical principles on money and possessions shows that the Bible does provide wisdom for modern investing.
Biblical Principles About Wealth and Possessions
God Owns Everything
The Bible makes it clear that God ultimately owns everything on earth (Psalm 24:1). We are merely stewards, or managers, of the resources God has entrusted to us during our lifetimes (Matthew 25:14-30).
As stewards, we have a responsibility to manage our finances and possessions in alignment with God’s values.
For example, the Bible warns against loving money or possessions (1 Timothy 6:10), emphasizes generosity towards those in need (2 Corinthians 9:7), and instructs us not to worry excessively about material things (Matthew 6:25-34).
Investing itself is not forbidden, but our motives and priorities matter greatly to God.
Wealth is Fleeting
Scripture reminds us that earthly wealth and possessions do not last forever. Jesus asked what good it is to gain the whole world yet forfeit one’s soul (Mark 8:36). We cannot take our money and possessions with us when we die.
Ecclesiastes 5:15 poignantly states: “Naked a man comes from his mother’s womb, and as he comes, so he departs. He takes nothing from his labor that he can carry in his hand.” Material wealth can disappear quickly, whether due to poor financial decisions, theft, natural disasters, or simple loss in value over time (Matthew 6:19).
This principle of wealth’s fleeting nature relates to investing in a few key ways. First, it discourages compulsive trading or speculation fueled mainly by greed (1 Timothy 6:9). Second, it reminds us to invest not just for this life, but also for the eternal one to come through generous giving and kingdom purposes (1 Timothy 6:18-19).
True Riches Are Spiritual
While earthly wealth is uncertain and temporary, the Bible speaks of “true riches” that have eternal value (Luke 16:11). Generosity, righteousness, wisdom, and walking faithfully with God matter most in the long run.
Jesus taught his followers to “store up for yourselves treasures in heaven” instead of focusing mainly on earthly wealth (Matthew 6:19-21). Similarly, we can view investing not merely as a means to material riches but as a way to create an ongoing legacy – through establishing donor advised funds, responsible company ownership, funding kingdom work, etc.
Our motives and priorities with investing reveal much about our spiritual condition.
In the end, Scripture does not condemn wise stewardship through reasonable investing. However, it continually unmasks the tendency of money and possessions to captivate our hearts if we are not careful.
Keeping investing in proper perspective through godly motives and priorities allows us to align financial decisions with living for God’s eternal purposes.
Warnings Against Greed and Dishonest Gain
Don’t Love Money
The Bible clearly warns against loving money or being greedy. As 1 Timothy 6:10 states, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.” Being consumed by money or wealth can lead people to neglect their spiritual lives and relationships, as well as lead to unethical behaviors like fraud or exploitation.
Christians are called to seek God rather than money or possessions (Matthew 6:24-34).
Research from the 2022 General Social Survey found that 36% of Americans say they love money and nearly half (48%) say they spend too much time working to earn money. Clearly many people struggle to keep money in its proper place and priority.
Avoid Get-Rich-Quick Schemes
Proverbs warns against looking to get rich quick rather than through ethical hard work and patience: “A faithful person will be richly blessed, but one eager to get rich will not go unpunished” (Proverbs 28:20).
There are many stories of people losing significant money in financial scams promising quick and easy profits.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, over $5 billion was lost to financial fraud and scams in 2021. Christians should exercise wisdom and caution with any investment opportunity, not jumping into “can’t miss” chances or relying on hot stock tips from questionable sources.
Condemnation of Exploitation and Fraud
The Bible strongly speaks against exploiting or defrauding others for financial gain. As Proverbs 22:16 states, “One who oppresses the poor to increase his wealth and one who gives gifts to the rich — both come to poverty.” Fraud erodes trust in economic relationships and institutions.
The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners 2022 report found over $4.7 trillion is lost globally each year to financial fraud, with most coming from asset misappropriation and corruption schemes. Clearly greed and dishonesty cause great harm.
Encouragement to Be Diligent and Wise
Parables on Investing Talents Wisely
Jesus told parables that encourage wise investing and using of resources. In the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30), a master gives three servants different amounts of money (“talents” of silver) based on their abilities.
Two invest wisely and double the money, but the third buries the money and earns nothing. The master rewards the productive servants and punishes the unproductive one for not even putting the money in the bank to earn interest.
This shows God rewards those who work diligently and make wise use of their gifts and resources.
Wisdom and Knowledge Are Valuable
The Bible extols wisdom and knowledge as extremely valuable, comparing them to precious metals and jewels (Proverbs 3:13-15). Those who gain wisdom, understanding and knowledge gain resources more worthwhile than material possessions.
Wise decisions in relationships, business, investments and all areas of life generally lead to better outcomes over time. Knowledge also leads to ideas and innovations that can create wealth.
|“Scripture does not forbid saving or investing money. In fact, through the parable of the bags of gold (Matthew 25:14–30), the Bible encourages investment by commending putting money to work to gain a return. “
Planning and Hard Work Lead to Prosperity
Diligence in planning and working hard is another theme in Biblical financial principles. Wise planning helps achieve goals and avoid pitfalls (Proverbs 14:15). Consistent hard work and labor leads to prosperity instead of poverty (Proverbs 10:4).
Working skillfully and living within one’s means avoids debt and builds wealth to pass on as an inheritance (Proverbs 13:22). Christians should balance faith in God’s provision with responsible planning and effort.
As Proverbs 13:22 states: “A good person leaves an inheritance for their children’s children, but a sinner’s wealth is stored up for the righteous.”
Instructions on Generosity and Providing for Family
God Rewards Generous Giving
The Bible encourages believers to be generous givers, with promises that God will bless and reward those who give cheerfully and sacrificially. Giving should be motivated by love and faith, not obligation or recognition.
As 2 Corinthians 9:7 states, “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” When we give freely to those in need and to further God’s work, Scripture says God will provide for all our needs in return (Philippians 4:19).
Save Up to Provide for Your Household
While generosity is important, the Bible also instructs us to work diligently and save up so that we can provide for our families. As 1 Timothy 5:8 warns, “If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”
Having savings and provisionsguards against hard times. The book of Proverbs praises the ant’s habit of storing up food in summer for the winter ahead (Proverbs 6:6-8). When we plan ahead and save resources, we avoid future scrambles and show wisdom in caring for our dependents.
Leave Inheritances for Future Generations
The Bible presents leaving an inheritance for descendants as a blessing. Proverbs 13:22 states that “A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children.” Passing down resourcesand assets provides stability for future generations and is evidence of God’s covenant faithfulness across the years.
However, the most valuable inheritance we can leave is a spiritual one – passing on faith in Christ, godly values, and wise teachings to guide those coming after us. As Psalm 78 proclaims, each generation should “tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord” (v.4).
Leavingan inheritance goes hand in hand with generously investing in others.
Studies show that 90% of inheritances are spent within two generations, so it’s vital we teach our children wise financial stewardship. With godly priorities around investing, saving, and generosity, families can build spiritual legacies that last into eternity.
As Jesus said, “Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven” (Matthew 6:20). Our provision in this life is temporary, but heavenly rewards will never fade.
Balancing Heavenly and Earthly Investments
Store Up Treasures in Heaven
Jesus taught His followers, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19-21). Our priorities and attachments should be first and foremost with God and the eternal kingdom, not earthly riches.
But also Save and Plan Responsibly
The Bible does not condemn wise planning, saving, and investing, but rather excessive trust in and pursuit of money. Scriptures like Proverbs 6:6-8 and 21:20 encourage forethought, hard work, and saving for the future.
Passages such as Luke 14:28 emphasize counting the cost and using resources wisely. We are called to be faithful stewards of what God entrusts to us (Luke 16:10-12).
For example, saving for retirement can be prudent preparation, not covetous hoarding, freeing us to serve God in later years without undue anxiety (Philippians 4:6). But we should hold material provisions loosely, willing to use resources as God leads to meet pressing needs (Luke 12:33; 1 John 3:17).
Motives and Methods Matter
More than specifics, God cares about the heart attitude behind investments. Any deceit, exploitation of others, or greed to enrich self is wrong (Jeremiah 17:11; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10). But using finance ethically as a means of providing for one’s household is valid (1 Timothy 5:8).
We are to focus not on accumulating wealth, but on generosity and contentment (1 Timothy 6:6-10, 17-19).
Budgeting apps and classes can help believers steward money well. Seeking financial counsel from pastors and mature believers often provides wisdom (Proverbs 1:5, 11:14). Evaluating investments against Biblical values of compassion and integrity is also important.
Most centrally, we acknowledge God as our ultimate provider and seek His kingdom above all (Matthew 6:33). Handling money and possessions is a spiritual matter with eternal implications. May our investments reflect hearts fixed on treasures in heaven.
In the end, the Bible promotes a balanced approach to investing and money management. Extreme asceticism is not required, but greed and dishonesty are clearly condemned. Diligence, wisdom, generosity, and an eternal perspective should guide financial decisions.