What Is God’s Plan For A Christian’s Personal Finances?

How many of you have heard that there are over 2,000 Bible verses about money?

I’ve heard it, too. In 2007, I wondered if there really were that many Bible verses about money and finances. You see this was of special interest to me as I had just started my career in financial planning. Being a Christian, I wanted to make sure that I was following God’s wisdom in my work and not just man’s. So I started my search to find a list of these 2,000+ Bible verses about money.

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I tried searching Google. And I’m pretty good at finding stuff with Google, but I only found small lists here and there. I tried the library – still no luck. The closest thing I’ve found is Larry Burkett’s book “The Word on Finances” which lists over 1,000 Scripture references that Mr. Burkett found. However, many of those references are only loosely related to personal finance and are not really speaking on that subject. It’s a bit of a stretch in some places. I wanted to find something that listed all the verses about money, but I was more concerned with the Bible verses that specifically teach us how to handle our personal finances rather than just mentioning money.

Bible Verses On Money: Making My Own List

Since I couldn’t find anything to confirm the claim about 2,000 Bible verses on money and since I have a strange sense of what’s “fun”, I decided to find the verses myself and make my own list. Using Nave’s topical Bible, I chose every keyword that could possibly relate to personal finance.

Then, I combined those keywords into broad categories and looked up every Scripture reference under each of those keywords. As I found passages that showed God’s teaching on personal finances, I listed the reference and wrote a short summary of what the verses say within their context. Finally, I organized all the verses into sub-categories and put the entire list of Bible verses about money online for free so everyone could access it.

I didn’t find 2,000 verses. But I did find nearly 1,200 verses in about 430 different Scripture passages. I’m not claiming this is a complete list, but I tried to do the most thorough job I could. My goal was to see what God had to say about personal finances so I could filter what I had learned in school through His Word. Some of the verses I included might not make sense to you, but I did try to make sure I never stretched the meaning of passages to fit my purposes.

As I worked on this project, I found an amazingly clear and simple plan for a Christian’s personal finances. It’s not a step by step plan that tells you which bank to use, how to budget, how to get out of debt, what to invest in, or how to make more money. Rather, it’s focused on the principles that will lead to a kind of financial success that glorifies God.

It’s not the kind of success that the world aspires to. But it is the kind of success that will result in hearing the words we all want to hear when we come before God – “Well done, good and faithful servant!” I call it God’s Provident Plan because it shows God’s wisdom in carefully providing for our needs – both spiritual and material.

What Is God’s Provident Plan?

So what exactly is God’s Provident Plan? It’s God’s clear Biblical message that through contentment in Christ, diligent work, and good stewardship Christians can prosper so we can give generously in the name of Christ. By following the Provident Plan, Christians can glorify God through their finances.

It’s not a plan focused on making Christians rich, or how we can retire early, or the things we can do to make us feel good about ourselves and our money. No – just like every other part of God’s plans for Christians it brings glory to His name and strengthens the witness of Christ in the world.

If all Christians followed God’s Provident Plan for their finances, we would radically change the Church and the world. And while it involves how we handle our money – it’s all dependent and focused on the transformation that occurs when we fully give ourselves to Christ and realize the power of His death and resurrection and the life we have in Him.

I’d like to share what I’ve discovered with you. So in my next four articles on Bible Money Matters, I’m going to tell you about God’s Provident Plan and share the Biblical foundation for each aspect of it. Each of the aspects I’ll talk about is a subject worthy of deeper study. There’s much more to say on these topics than what I’ll share with you in these four posts, but they will serve as a good overview of personal finance in the Bible. So be sure to join me next week and we’ll take a closer look at each part of God’s Provident Plan!

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Last Edited: 10th February 2014

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Comments

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  1. says

    I think God’s plan is for us all to have enough to live comfortably, and for those with more, to give what we can afford back to God.

    Addtionally to use our other exra resources in some sort of “helpful” way.

    I’m not saying god wants us all to go out there and become priest or pastors, but “giving back” takes many different forms, and it should be fatored into all of our lives in my humble opinion.

    Whether we “give back” with money or time….

    • says

      Giving is certainly an important part of it, David. Based on what I’ve read in the Bible – it’s the primary reason God prospers us. But we’ll talk about that in a few weeks! :)

  2. says

    I look forward to seeing your posts on God’s Provident Plan… I myself view money as a currency of freedom; as a medium of exercising choice. When our finances are in order and prosperous we are able to have more options and make more choices on what we do. Like all the choices we make in life we have free will and that is reflected here. When we make choices that glorify God and are good stewards of the world and help those in need it shows through and when we make poor choices that shows as well.

    • says

      Thanks for commenting, Darla! You’re right about making good financial choices. Having control over our finances frees us to serve God more fully and gives us more opportunities to share with others. When our finances control us, we are a slave to money and are severely limited in how we can serve God – not just monetarily, but spiritually as well. If we’re consumed with thinking about money because we’re worried about it or keep making bad choices, then there’s not going to be much room for God in our thoughts.

    • says

      LM, there are ways that financial abundance can be a detriment to God’s plan for us. If we allow that abundance to become our source of hope and begin trusting in money, we will not be able to serve God because we’ll be devoted to money (mammon). But if we remember to always seek God’s kingdom and righteousness first, then money will not be a problem in our service to God.

  3. says

    Paul, I think I understand your concern but disagree slightly. In the case you are talking about financial abundance is not the problem is how we use and react to that financial abundance that can be a problem. See the difference?
    On the other hand when used IAW God’s teachings then it can be a great thing.
    Great article.

    • says

      Right, it has to do with how we handle that abundance. But if the abundance is what causes us to sin – to stop trusting in God – then it is part of the problem in the sense that if we had not received it we would have still trusted in God. But for the most part this isn’t the case. If we have a problem with trusting in money, it’s likely that it began in our hearts long before we became wealthy.

      • says

        I think how we respond to the circumstances is the key to it all… In some sense you might be able to say that all things are a test of sorts – that’s what free will is all about. I agree that there are many people that can find themselves in situations where riches can interfere with their life but similar can be said of having no riches. Someone could just as easily lose faith become angry and bitter and filled with hate because of their “bad luck” or they feel the world is out to get them… As I mentioned earlier money is a tool and nothing more and the impact it has is a reflection of ourselves. Paul you are right when you say the issue would have started long before in the heart before it manifested itself. So you really have to look at money as simply a placeholder and a reflection of the individual spirit the same as if you were to say eating is evil because it could lead to gluttony or happiness and joy are evil because they could lead to hedonism. These things if used and abused can easily become negative factors while at the same time if used in accordance with God’s plan can be sources of great light and hope. Wow realized I just went on a pretty big rant but Paul you hit on some really great topics and keep up the great work!

        • says

          Darla, your comments remind me of what Agur said in Proverbs 30:8-9 (NIV):

          “8 Keep falsehood and lies far from me;
          give me neither poverty nor riches,
          but give me only my daily bread.

          9 Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you
          and say, ‘Who is the LORD ‘
          Or I may become poor and steal,
          and so dishonor the name of my God.”

          Riches and poverty both can affect how we view God and the choices we make about whether to serve Him or to serve Money.

          Thanks for sharing your thoughts again!

          • BD says

            That was my “personal verse” growing up as a young adult.
            I always wanted a nice middle-of-the-road lifestyle, a comfortable one, where I was neither rich nor poor, and so, I’d stay focused on the Lord God.

            But I found out what God considers “poor” is probably different from what we consider poor. And so, most all of my life (and especially now), God has always made sure I’ve had a roof over my head, and food to eat. But while both myself and the world would consider me ‘quite poor’ (i make wages well below poverty level, when I can find work), I guess God considers it to be “my daily bread”, which technically it is. I struggle from low-esteem and envy, though, but thankfully my circumstances have never caused me to lose faith in God. I just think that perhaps I should have prayed for a nice steady job that paid a REAL living wage, instead of ‘just enough’, LOL.

          • says

            BD, I agree that what we consider poor (in America) is actually still quite wealthy compared to the rest of the world. So while you may feel poor compared to others in America, God is still meeting your needs – which is what He has promised.

            But I think even more important than that is to remember that having our material needs met in this life matters nothing if our spiritual needs aren’t met for the next life. Too often, we get caught up just thinking about how things are going for us today and lose sight of our eternal treasures.

  4. says

    “It’s God’s clear Biblical message that through contentment in Christ, diligent work, and good stewardship Christians can prosper so we can give generously in the name of Christ.” This is the key to pleasing God in our finances! I can’t wait for the series to be up! Another thought-provoking post (even as an introduction).

  5. says

    We’re in the middle of a great bible study at church right now looking at how we all create idols in our lives – things that end up becoming more important than God and end up leading nowhere but to heartbreak and despair. It’s based on the book Counterfeit Gods by Timothy Keller. (check out the video at the link)

    Basically the book talks about how idols can be good things, things like creating wealth, having a good relationship with a spouse, or being recognized at work – but we inflate those things, put all our hope in them and instead of being just good things – they become “ultimate things”. Instead of putting our hope in the ultimate savior, we put our hope in counterfeit gods and idols. In other words those idols in our lives take on an importance where we would do anything to have them, even things we know that are wrong.

    I think that applies pretty well to the topic of money and personal finance because for so many money has become their idol. They think “If I could only get more money, I’d be happy”. Or, “if I only had a bigger house, I’d be happy”.

    In reality our idols (like money) can do nothing but offer a poor substitute for the real thing in Jesus Christ – who is the ultimate and only solution to a truly happy life.

    • says

      Very true, Peter. It’s so easy to let other things take the place of Christ without our even realizing it. We get so used to having some other god/idol being our focus that we don’t even see how we’ve replaced the one true God.

      It’s a dangerous road to go down, and it’s why I always try to point back to the Gospel when I discuss personal finance in the Bible. You can’t get a proper understanding of anything we should do in this life until you grasp the transformation that comes once we accept Christ as our Savior.

      Thanks for sharing about your Bible study and the things you all are learning!

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