There has always been a healthy debate among believers when it comes to wealth and Christianity. Some people argue that money is the root of all evil, which is inaccurate. Others say that we should strive to be wealthy because wealth is a blessing from God.
When you read the Bible, you can find verses that seemingly support both sides of the argument. But when it comes down to it, both sides can’t be right, can they? So which is it?
Read on and find out my take on the wealth and Christianity debate. I've included a great list of resources at the end to help guide you in the way you think about faith as it relates to wealth.
Money Answers All Things
On the one hand, the Bible says that “money answers all things” (Eccl. 9:10) , and on the other hand it says that money “is a root of all kinds of evil.” (1 Tim. 6:10).
These verses are just two out of hundreds of verses about money and wealth in the Bible, many of which seem to contradict each other. The resulting confusion leads to plenty of misunderstandings about whether you should consider wealth as something you should embrace, or an evil that you should surely avoid if you want to stay in good standing spiritually.
Verses For and Against Wealth
Let’s take a look at a few more verses to get an idea of some of the positive and negative sides of wealth in the Bible:
“Pro Wealth” Verses
- “…money answers everything” (Ecclesiastes 10:19)
- “The rich man’s wealth is his strong city, the destruction of the poor is their poverty.” (Proverbs 10:15)
- “The blessings of the Lord make one rich, and there is no sorrow with it” (Proverbs 10:22)
- Abraham “was very rich in livestock, in silver, in gold” (Genesis 13:2)
- Job was “the greatest of all the people of the east” (Job 1:3)
- King Solomon “surpassed all the kings of the Earth in riches and wisdom” (1 Kings 10:23)
- And many others…
“Anti Wealth” Verses
- “Those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful hurts which drown men in destruction and perdition.” (1 Timothy 6:9)
- “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God” (Matthew 19:24)
- “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.” (1 Timothy 6:10)
- “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal…” (Matthew 6:19)
- “Do not weary yourself to gain wealth, cease from your consideration of it.” (Proverbs 23:4)
- “If riches increase, do not set your heart on them.” (Psalms 62:10)
Does the Bible Contradict Itself About Wealth?
These verses are just a sample of the dozens that can be found in the Bible that seem contradictory when it comes to the wealth and Christianity debate.
So which side is right?
Well, at the risk of sounding noncommittal on the issue, I’ll have to come down firmly in the middle.
I think both sides are right.
No, I’m not copping out on you. Read on and find out what I’m talking about.
Wealth and Christianity, The Debate Continues
The wealth and Christianity debate been around for thousands of years, and it will continue on forever. But here’s the deal, being wealthy is an area of life that can be fraught with difficulty if you don’t go about obtaining it in the right way.
Here are a few verses that demonstrate that, and might clear up the debate somewhat:
- Psalms 112:3 describes a man who fears the Lord. “Wealth and riches are in his house, and his righteousness endures forever.”
- “A faithful man will abound with blessings, but he who hastens to be rich will not go unpunished.” (Proverbs 28:20)
- “A good man leaves an inheritance for his children’s children, but a sinner’s wealth is stored up for the righteous.” (Proverbs 13:22)
- “He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness.” (2 Corinthians 9:10)
- And many more…
Money Can Be a Blessing or a Curse
When I read the scriptures, I see that money, like most material things, can be a blessing or a curse. When you focus on money as your main objective, and put it ahead of God, who it ultimately all belongs to anyway, the Bible makes it clear that’s a recipe for disaster in every area of your life, not just finances.
But the Bible also makes it clear that if you put God first, He will multiply your blessings, including money.
You can see those promised blessings in the stories of Job, Abraham, Joseph, Solomon, and others. These men were richly blessed financially, specifically because of their faithfulness to God. Even though they experienced setbacks, their wealth was increased well over what they already had, because they remained faithful and put God ahead of money. Because of this, they were also able to leave a generational legacy of wealth, passed down through many generations.
It’s God’s Nature to Bless You
God makes it a point to bless you with the great things this world has to offer because it’s God’s nature to bless His people when they’re faithful.
That doesn’t necessarily mean that every faithful believer will be financially wealthy, He may bless you more in other ways because He knows what you specifically need and what will bless you the most.
But in general, righteousness is accompanied by worldly success because God knows He can trust a righteous person to do the right thing with the indpendent wealth He provides. And when you don’t, then you bring difficulty upon yourself.
So, does God want you to be wealthy?
I think so.
Wealth Is Up To You
Because God’s biggest desire is to bless his people. When you live a righteous life, wealth is just one of the ways that God demonstrates His blessings. But it’s up to you whether or not you make yourself available to receive those blessings. When He knows He can trust you with wealth, He knows you’ll use it wisely toward helping others and expanding His kingdom.
But when you pursue money on your own and make it more important than Him in your life, you might get indpendently wealthy, but it won’t be a blessing in the end. Righteous wealth is what He wants for you, and when you put Him first above all else, that’s what you’ll get.
So What Do You Think? Obviously I could have gotten a lot more in depth on the wealth and Christianity issue. But my intent here is to start a discussion as much as it is to educate. So what’s your opinion on whether or not God wants you to be rich? Leave a comment and let me know.
Want to learn more? Here are some great resources that can help you develop your own thinking on faith and wealth even further.
“Wealth: Is It Worth It?” by S. Truett Cathey, Founder of Chick-Fil-a
“Thou Shall Prosper- Ten Commandments For Making Money” by Rabbi Daniel Lapin
“Spirit Driven Success” by Dani Johnson
“Managing God's Money” by Randy Alcorn
“The Blessed Life- The Simple Secret of Achieving Guaranteed Financial Results” by Robert Morris
Ten Commandments for Making Money Blog Series
The CFF Faith and Finance Page
Should You Tithe While Getting Out of Debt?
Should You Tithe While Getting Out of Debt?