Hebrews 13:5 – Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
1 Timothy 6:10 – For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.
Matthew 6:24 – “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.
Ecclesiastes 5:10 – He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity.
Matthew 6:19-21 – “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Proverbs 13:11 – Wealth gained hastily will dwindle, but whoever gathers little by little will increase it.
1 Timothy 6:17-19 – As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life
The Bible Does not Promise Wealth
There is no promise in the Bible that being a Christian will lead to a good job, wealth, freedom from debt, etc.
One verse is sometimes cited:
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 1 (TNIV, Jeremiah 29:11)
In context, this verse was directed specifically to the Israelite exiles in Babylon. The original Hebrew word translated as “prosperity” can mean peace, completeness, safety, health, satisfaction or blessings1. It does not imply financial prosperity. This translation probably comes closer to the intended meaning:
For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. (NLT, Jeremiah 29:11)
God’s faithful people may be rich or poor (2 Chronicles 17:3-5, Job 1:1-3, Matthew 27:57, Mark 12:41-44, Luke 16:19-22, 19:2-9, Proverbs 22:2, Luke 6:20).
Wealth Is not a Sign of God’s Favor
In Jesus’ time it was a common belief that great wealth was a sign of God’s favor and poverty was God’s punishment for sin.
Some Old Testament verses do reflect the idea that poverty is a natural consequence of foolish actions (Proverbs 6:9-11, 20:13, 23:21).
However, Jesus denied that wealth is a sign of God’s favor or that poverty is God’s punishment for sin. This is shown most clearly in His Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31). At least part of the reason the rich man ended up in hell was because of his hard-heartedness toward the beggar Lazarus. His great wealth was obviously not a sign of God’s favor. The beggar Lazarus ended up in heaven although he was about as impoverished as a man could be. His poverty was obviously not a sign of sinfulness or foolishness.
Despite the Bible’s many warnings against it, the idea that wealth is a sign of God’s favor and that the poor have done something to deserve their condition persists as an undercurrent today that is sometimes used to justify a callous attitude toward those who are poor.
Related verses: Proverbs 15:16-17, Ecclesiastes 5:10-12, Luke 1:52-53, 6:20, 6:24-25.
Wealth Is a Gift from God to Be Used in His Service
Jesus saw wealth as a gift from God to be used in His service (Matthew 25:14-30). Those who have been blessed with wealth must share generously with the poor (Matthew 25:31-46), and avoid the sins of arrogance (1 Timothy 6:17-19), dishonesty (Exodus 20:15, Mark 10:19, Luke 3:12-14) and greed (Luke 12:13-21).
Those of us who are blessed with wealth beyond our need have a responsibility to share generously with the less fortunate. We should view our wealth as a gift from God, entrusted to us, to carry out His work on earth.
If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? (NIV, 1 John 3:17)
Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life. (NIV, 1 Timothy 6:17-19)
The Bible teaches that saving money is a wise practice for many different reasons. God is our source and provider for everything we need. “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19). One of the main ways God provides for us is through money, and it is our job to steward that money well (Matthew 25:14–27).
We are accountable to God for how we use everything He gives us in this life, including money. Saving money demonstrates good stewardship of the resources God gives us. Saving money allows us to be prepared for the future, and being prepared for the future is good. Proverbs 6:6–8 shows us that this principle is lived out even in nature: “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 its food at harvest.” Planning ahead and saving money makes it easier to accomplish goals and allows us to be more effective in ministry (see 1 Corinthians 16:2). When we don’t plan ahead and save money, we are more prone to go into debt, which the Bible tells us is unwise (Proverbs 22:7).