Money is the most frequently mentioned subject in the bible. According to some counts, it’s mentioned over 800 times! And many of those verses talk about investing in one way or another. In fact, the bible lays out a great number of specifics about how to invest your money wisely according to godly wisdom. And when you do them correctly, these biblical investing principles not only increase your monetary wealth, they’ll bless you in every other part of your life as well!
In this article, I’ll cover 12 Christian principles of investing, along with verses to support each one. But first, let’s begin with why investing and wealth are important.
What Does the Bible Say About Investing and Building Wealth?
Throughout the bible, Investing and creating wealth are mentioned literally hundreds of times. You’ll find incredible wisdom about how to grow your money wisely while keeping your relationship with God in good standing. You’ll also find wisdom on how to avoid unwise investment tactics that aren’t sustainable and will ruin you spiritually.
I believe there is one verse that sums up godly investing principles really well:
“To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away.” Matthew 25:29 NLT
This is a concept mentioned more than once by Jesus and others in the bible. You can also find this idea in these verses, among others:
- Matthew 13:12
- John 15:2
- Luke 8:18
- Mark 4:25
- Matthew 25:28
- Matthew 21:41
When you are wise and use well the resources you are given, whether it’s a little or a lot, it’s a natural law that what you have will increase even more over time. However, if you use what you’re given unwisely, or not at all, you eventually lose it.
Like it or not, most people get rich because not because of an inheritance or some incredible stroke of luck. They find a way to earn it using their God given tendencies and talents. They figure out what it takes to make a lot of money, take action, and tend to it well, thus creating the conditions for even more weatlh and prosperity.
12 Biblical Investing Principles
God wants you to prosper in every way possible, including your finances. When you follow these timeless biblical investing principles, not only will you grow your wealth, your financial legacy, you will grow in every other area of your life.
First, Be Faithful with a Few
Luke 16:10-11- “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.”
If your desire is to build massive wealth, then you first need to be trustworthy and disciplined with what you already have. You will never become wealthy if you’re living paycheck to paycheck and spending more than you make. You must be the master of your money before the Master will trust you with more.
The Seed Principle
In Mark 4:3-9 the parable of the sower talks about the importance of sowing seed into good ground.
3 “Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times.”
There are several awesome biblical investing principles here worth looking at.
Seed Must Be Sown If You Want it to Multiply
2 Corinthians 9:6-8- “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.”
Just like real seeds, money can’t grow and produce more if you don’t put it to work. Stowing your money in a savings account or under the mattress doesn’t build wealth effectively.
Seed Must Be Sown into Good Ground
When you invest money wisely, it multiplies exponentially over time. This produces more seed that can be deployed for an even greater harvest in the future. Not all investments work out in your favor. But the better job you do at sowing your seed into good ground and tending to it well, your harvest will be much greater than your losses.
Don’t Consume All Your Seed
Unfortunately, too many of us live on more than we make. And when you spend more than you make, you have no seed to sow and multiply for a future harvest.
Then, when hard times come, you have no reserve to draw from, and you’re forced to make desperate financial decisions. Managing your finances so you can consistently sow financial seeds will cause you to have an exponential future harvest!
Only Invest in Things You Understand
By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures. – Proverbs 24:3-4
Anytime you invest, you should fully understand what you’re investing in. If you can’t explain it to someone else so they can completely understand it too, you don’t need to invest.
It’s extremely easy to be drawn in to complicated investments that sound great on the surface, but are rife with risks that cause you to lose most or all of your money.
You need to know the level of risk you’re taking on as well. Every investment, including keeping your cash in a savings account, involves risk. But when you fully understand what you’re investing in, and the risk level it represents, then you can make better investment decisions that cause you to prosper.
You can get a good start with understanding investments at The Motley Fool.
Saving and Investing Honors God and Serves Others
Saving and investing your money is good stewardship of what God has provided to you. It’s easy for some people to think of saving and investing as a purely selfish act. But, when you do it right, it’s a godly investing principle that changes your life, and the lives of others, for the better.
Think about it. God is a limitless being who is all about creativity and multiplication. And when He created us in His image, He gave us these attributes as well. When you use the creativity God freely gave you to multiply your money through investing, you are doing one of the many creative acts God created you to do.
Using Biblical Investing Principles is Good Stewardship
Multiplying the money God has provided you with properly honors the gift. When you live paycheck to paycheck because you don’t manage your money well, it means you’re using all your seed to just to live. You will never have any extra to multiply without understanding this biblical investing principle.
Multiplying your money through investing allows you to not only have more money to enjoy for yourself, but more for others as well. It allows you to have independent wealth you can share with others, fund the kingdom, and leave an inheritance to your children’s children to continue the blessing for generations to come!
Always Have a Plan for Your Investments
“Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.” Habakkuk 2:2-3
This biblical investing strategy doesn’t just mean doing a monthly budget, although that’s extremely important. Making a plan for your investments should be a priority too.
Some of the basic components of your investment plan should include:
- Making consistent, automated contributions to your investment accounts.
- Knowing which type of investment account you should contribute to.
- Knowing how much you will need to save for retirement.
- Deciding which investments are appropriate for you.
- Knowing how much you will need to save every month to reach your goals.
Making a plan for your investments may take a little time and research on the front end, whether you do it yourself or decide to use a financial advisor. But it really pays off over the long term. Every time you consider making a major change in your investments, you’ll be able to refer back to your plan to make sure the changes align with your goals. The more focused you are with your plan, the more likely you are to do well.
Diligent Investing Makes You Rich
“The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty.” –Proverbs 21:5–
“Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows worthless pursuits lacks sense.” –Proverbs 12:11–
“A slack hand causes poverty, but the hand of the diligent makes rich.” –Proverbs 10:4–
“Whoever is slothful will not roast his game, but the diligent man will get precious wealth” –Proverbs 12:27–
In Proverbs,King Solomon writes that a diligent person is one who is considered to be wise or righteous. Lack of diligence really means a lack of wisdom and righteousness.
Being diligent is also about being consistent when it comes to investing. Applying this biblical investment principle means you should continually invest money over the long term. The more consistent you are at putting money into investments, the more it pays off for you in the long run. Just putting in a little money here and there when you feel like it doesn’t result in great wealth.
Most people have no investment plan, and their lack of diligence shows. Those are the ones that end up hungry, poor, in debt, and forced to work because of a lack of diligence over their lifetime.
Be Patient- Gain Wealth One Step at a Time
Proverbs 13:11– “Wealth gained hastily will dwindle, but whoever gathers little by little will increase it.”
Learning to be patient is a good complement to being diligent. Building lasting wealth takes time. Think of it like you’re growing a mighty oak tree vs. planting tomatoes. When you plant tomatoes, you expect a relatively quick harvest that provides for a season. But an oak tree takes decades to become large and strong, and will be around for generations to come.
Seek Wise Counsel
“Whoever ignores instruction despises himself, but he who listens to reproof gains intelligence.” –Proverbs 15:32–
“Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.” –Proverbs 15:22–
Poverty and disgrace come to him who ignores instruction, but whoever heeds reproof is honored.” –Proverbs 3:18–
You can’t be a successful investor by going it alone. You need the help and advice of others if you want to truly succeed. Whether you seek out a qualified, licensed investment advisor, or you read a lot of books on investing, seeking wise counsel always pays off.
The best way to know someone’s ability to give wise investing advice is to look at their life. What is their success level when it comes to investing? Taking investment advice from a multi-millionaire investor is probably a good idea. Getting hot stock tips from Uncle Joe who has a mountain of debt and lives paycheck to paycheck is not.
Procrastination Is a Mistake
Ecclesiastes 11:4- “Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap.”
Hebrews 12:11- “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest…”
Proverbs 20:4- “Sluggards do not plow in season; so at harvest time they look but find nothing.”
Let’s face it, it’s easy to procrastinate when it comes to investing for the future. Most people believe investing is important, but they put it off because:
- They believe they can’t afford it because they live paycheck to paycheck.
- They expect to have more disposable income later, so they’ll wait and invest then.
- Some are intimidated by investing.
- The economic conditions aren’t right- they’ll invest when the economy is better.
- Retirement seems so far away.
- And tons of other excuses.
The earlier you start contributing to your investment accounts, the better. Even though your excuses may seem legit, the longer you wait, the more money you lose. Procrastination can literally cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars of lost growth over your lifetime. Here are a couple of examples to demonstrate:
As you can see, if you start with nothing, and invest $2,000 a year for 30 years, you’ll end up with $328,988. But if you wait 10 years to start investing the same amount, you end up with only $114,550.
By procrastinating, you forfeited $214,450 in returns! You missed out on the most powerful financial force there is- compound interest. Albert Einstein even called compound interest “the eighth wonder of the world”.
No matter what your excuse is for not investing right now, find a way to overcome it. Each year you delay is literally costing you tens of thousands of dollars.
Diversify Your Investments
Ecclesiastes 11:2- “Invest in seven ventures, yes, in eight; you do not know what disaster may come upon the land.”
Investing your money in several different types of assets helps to protect your money. It smooths out your returns and minimizes risk vs. keeping all your investments in one asset. I’m sure you’ve heard the old phrase, “don’t put all your eggs in one basket”. This is an excellent example of great biblical investing principle at work.
Why Should You Diversify Your Investments?
Spreading your investments over different types of assets keeps you from being overly dependent on the performance of one type of asset. If the value of one type of asset tanks for a while, other assets may do better. For instance, at least once a decade or so, my stock market investments drop 20-40% due to economic conditions. But when that happens, my rental property is still going up in value and generating income every month!
Here’s a short list of assets you can use to diversify your portfolio:
- Single stocks
- Mutual funds
- Real estate
- Money lending
- Business ventures
- And hundreds more…
Don’t Hoard Your Wealth
Ecclesiastes 5:13-14- “I have seen a grievous evil under the sun: wealth hoarded to the harm of its owners, or wealth lost through some misfortune, so that when they have children there is nothing left for them to inherit.”
Luke 16:9- “I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.”
I once heard a saying that “money is like manure, it’s only good if you spread it around.”
It’s a great thing to invest money and build huge amounts of wealth, but you should never keep it all to yourself. Hoarded money is a sign of a stagnant soul.
Putting Money to Work
Money doesn’t do anyone any good if you don’t put it to work. Of course, it’s wise to keep a reserve on hand for an emergency, and have some to provide for your future. But beyond that, money should never be stagnant.
Investing it for an exponential return is one of the best things you can do with money. The more you grow it, the more you can put it to work. But how else do you put money to work other than investing? Here are some things you should do:
- Leave an inheritance
- Take care of the needs of others
- Enjoy some for yourself
- Grow the kingdom
- Fund community projects
- Fund church projects
- and anything else that shows God's love to the world…
If an Investment Sounds too Good to Be True, it Probably Is
“Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.” (1 Timothy 6:9)
This biblical investing principle reveals that anytime someone tries to sell you an investment that promises incredible returns, you should seriously beware. It’s easy to get greedy if you’re not careful. Greed will not only mess with you spiritually, it will cause you financial harm as well.
Huge returns never come without a ton of risk. And where there is high risk, you’re extremely likely to lose your money.
Get rich quick schemes sound really great on the surface. But when you dig deeper, they are usually promoted by people who are less than honest, whether they realize it or not. Just because someone promises massive returns and they back it up with testimonials from others doesn’t mean you will have the same experience.
Always do your research to find out:
- Every detail of how the investment works.
- How does the investment generate a return on your money?
- Are there any complaints about the people/company selling the investment?
- How many people have made money with it?
- How many people have lost money?
- Do you understand it?
Of course, when doing research, don’t rely on materials that salespeople give you. Do your own independent research using the internet. You can also talk to people who have put money into the investment and find out what their experience was. Just make sure they have no vested interest in getting you to invest too.
Be a Giver- Invest in the Kingdom
Hebrews 13:16– “And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.”
Matthew 10:8- “… Freely you have received; freely give.”
When you boil down these biblical investing principles to their essence, there is one overarching reason God wants to provide you with material wealth. It’s so you can be a giver.
I know it sounds counterintuitive, but when you give a portion of your wealth away, it’s a natural law that it will come back to you multiplied.
This biblical investing principle is not about you and your bank account, it’s about how you can use material wealth to help others and fund projects that further God’s kingdom and influence here on Earth.
The more money you have, the more you can give. And the more you give using godly principles of giving, the more likely you are to achieve true wealth in every part of your life, including finances. It’s good for your bank account, it’s good for your soul, and it’s good for those on the receiving end of your giving too.