The Bible and Family Finances: Using the Bible to Guide Your Financial Decisions

A bible from 1859.

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This interview is part of a weekly series that publishes every Saturday. If you enjoy, please join us next week or check out past interviews.

Have problems with money and you need advice? Have you ever thought of opening the Bible?

Although written thousands of years ago, the Bible has much to say about family finances. Those living in Biblical times dealt with the same issues families deal with today. You can find stories and guidance on things like:

  • Borrowing and lending
  • Saving
  • Investing
  • Spending

(Just to name a few.)

I’ve found powerful spiritual and financial guidance from my morning meditations in the scripture. The verse that has inspired me most is Proverbs 13:22 – A good man leave’s an inheritance to his children’s children. I’ve made this verse my personal money initiative – to be a good steward with the money I earn so that others are blessed.

Today’s interview is with Jon Elder, author of the blog Free Money Wisdom, a site designed to help people from all walks of life learn the basics of personal finance health and get a head start towards retirement.

(Me) What are three important lessons families can learn about finances from reading the Bible?

(Jon) The Bible covers a massive amount of financial topics; it’s hard to narrow this down to three!  Considering that the topic of money is mentioned over 2,300 times, it makes it even harder!  However, three financial lessons that truly stand out from the scriptures to me:

1-      Avoid greed: Wealthy people are often spoken poorly of in the Bible.  One thing that people need to remember is that the Bible warns us against being greedy, not being wealthy.  In fact, being wealthy is a blessing!  Check out what Timothy 6:9 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.”  The point here is to run towards God and not make money your idol. 

2-      Avoid debt: This one is a no-brainer but it seems so many families just keep on forgetting this principle.  Debt equals slavery and we should avoid it at all costs.  Proverbs 22:7 says “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.”  It doesn’t get any clearer than that.  Stay out of debt and live a life full of freedom. 

3-      Be content with what you have: I blame this one on American culture and our media.  We’re constantly pushed to buy bigger and better toys when we really don’t need them.  Being content leads to a life of fulfillment and joy.  Luke 12:15 is pretty clear on the subject, “Then he said to them, Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”  Faith is the most important thing in life next to family.  Never forget this.

(Me) What are some key differences between principles in the bible and common money principles?

(Jon) I love this question!  The biggest difference between Biblical finance and typical advice from the world is that Biblical finance was written by God, the creator of the universe!  Plus, knowing that God always has our best interest in mind, trusting what the Bible says never fails.  In fact I’d like to challenge someone to find a verse that would lead someone down a bad financial path.  I’m telling you that a verse like that doesn’t exist! 

(Me) Family finances in biblical times versus family finances today: how are they the same and how are they different?

(Jon) Besides the various cultural issues, I really don’t think that family finances were that much different back in the Bible days.  Families still struggled financially and often succumbed to debt.  We see the same things happening today and it’s unfortunate to see it happen time after time.  On a bright note, families have more opportunities than ever to live a life free of debt.  Plus, today families have additional resources to increase their income. 

(Me) Jesus never had to deal with debit card fees. What principles in the Bible have transcended time?

(Jon)

1-Saving is a Biblical concept and is encouraged yesterday today and tomorrow.

2-Staying out of debt leads to a life of fulfillment and a life free of bondage.

3-Keep good records and always stay true to your budget.

4-Never be greedy, it’s always going to lead to doom and destruction.

5-Cosinging was unwise in the Bible days and is still unwise today.

(Me) Money in the Bible: is it just for Christians? Why or why not?

(Jon) You definitely don’t have to be a Christian to go about your finances in a Biblical manner.  In fact, I know of many people who aren’t Christians yet follow the book of Proverbs.  Wisdom is wisdom and the Bible is packed full of it.  If you’re reading this interview, I encourage you to start following Biblical principles!

(Me) Is there anything you would like to add?

(Jon) I’d love to share with you a free 7-day e-course called “Retire a Millionaire: The Only Guide You Will Ever Need.”  In this e-course I share step by step how to improve your finances and get on the path towards financial freedom.  You won’t want to miss out on this! 

And lastly, I want to give a huge thanks for this opportunity to be interviewed, it truly is an honor! 

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