The Proverbs have a great deal to say about money and related topics such as giving, poverty, righteousness and wisdom. The purpose of this study is to narrowly focus upon the issue of money and wealth in order to draw out, from the vast material in Proverbs, principles to help us in maintaining a Biblical lifestyle in relation to money.
Principles From the Proverbs on Money
1. Honor God with your wealth.
- Prioritize your giving; give to Him first.
Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops;
- God will often bless people materially who give first to him.
then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.
Misfortune pursues the sinner, but prosperity is the reward of the righteous.
Lesson 1: When it comes to money, put God first.
"No one can serve two masters. 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 both God and Money.
2. Remember that wisdom is more important than money.
- Wisdom often brings enduring wealth.
18 With me are riches and honor, enduring wealth and prosperity.
21 bestowing wealth on those who love me and making their treasuries full.
- Wisdom yields better fruit than money.
I walk in the way of righteousness, along the paths of justice,
- Wisdom enables one to rightly use money.
Of what use is money in the hand of a fool, since he has no desire to get wisdom?
- Wisdom gives one proper restraint in the pursuit of money.
Do not wear yourself out to get rich; have the wisdom to show restraint.
Lesson 2: Ask God for wisdom in dealing with money.
If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.
3. Remember that righteousness is more important than money.
- Righteous people can have great riches that involve no trouble.
The house of the righteous contains great treasure, but the income of the wicked brings them trouble.
- A poor, but blameless man (i.e. one who is righteous) is better off (i.e. before God) than a rich, but perverse man.
Better a poor man whose walk is blameless than a rich man whose ways are perverse.
- God often rewards the righteous with money.
Misfortune pursues the sinner, but prosperity is the reward of the righteous.
- It is better to have a little money with righteousness than much with injustice.
Better a little with righteousness than much gain with injustice.
Lesson 3: Seek uprightness in money matters.
2 Corinthians 8:21
For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of men.
4. Remember that fearing God is more important than money.
- Fearing God is better than a lot of money
Better a little with the fear of the LORD than great wealth with turmoil.
- Humility and the fear of God often leads to the acquisition of money.
Haughty eyes and a proud heart, the lamp of the wicked, are sin!
Lesson 4: Remember to whom we must give an account!
You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God's judgment seat.
5. People, diligent at what they do, often acquire much wealth.
- Diligent people, in contrast to lazy people, often have more money.
Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth.
- All hard work brings a profit whereas mere talk accomplishes nothing.
All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.
- Acquiring wealth takes diligent planning; anything less may end up in ruin.
The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.
- People who cannot control their spending habits end up with nothing.
He who loves pleasure will become poor; whoever loves wine and oil will never be rich.
Lesson 5: Plan for your financial future as far as it depends upon you.
6. Recognize the limitations of money.
- Money can do nothing to deliver someone from the wrath of God.
Wealth is worthless in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death.
- Money is very temporal and lasts but a short time.
Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle.
for riches do not endure forever, and a crown is not secure for all generations.
- Money cannot be trusted in for it will lead to one's downfall. Trust, instead, in God.
Whoever trusts in his riches will fall, but the righteous will thrive like a green leaf.
A greedy man stirs up dissension, but he who trusts in the LORD will prosper.
Lesson 6: Be sober about money; keep it in perspective!
1 Timothy 6:6-10
6 But godliness with contentment is great gain.
7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.
8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.
9 People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction.
10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
7. Recognize the potential for good that money properly used can have.
- Money can provide protection from certain problems and alleviate certain stresses.
The wealth of the rich is their fortified city, but poverty is the ruin of the poor.
- Money can be left as an inheritance to help one's descendants in this life.
A good man leaves an inheritance for his children's children, but a sinner's wealth is stored up for the righteous.
- An industrious wife can make sufficient money to help her family.
She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night.
Lesson 7: Be prepared to use your money to good ends.
Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles.
8. Recognize and avoid the evil that money can cause in relationships.
- Rich people tend to receive more attention from others than poor people do. There is often favoritism.
The poor are shunned even by their neighbors, but the rich have many friends.
For he who said, "Do not commit adultery," also said, "Do not murder." If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.
- If you ar rich, be careful of people who desire your friendship.
Wealth brings many friends, but a poor man's friend deserts him.
- If you are poor, do not be surprised if people abandon you for a rich friend.
A poor man is shunned by all his relatives-- how much more do his friends avoid him! Though he pursues them with pleading, they are nowhere to be found.
- Because of money people often try to pretend to be something they're not; they live a lie.
One man pretends to be rich, yet has nothing; another pretends to be poor, yet has great wealth.
Lesson 8: The rich and the poor must remember that God made them both; humility is the order of the day.
Rich and poor have this in common: The LORD is the Maker of them all.
9. Giving generously often leads to acquiring further wealth and spiritual benefits, but poverty awaits the stingy.
- Generosity, not stinginess often leads to having more money.
One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty.
- Generosity often leads to the giver being spiritually refreshed.
A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.
- Those who are stingy often end up with nothing.
People curse the man who hoards grain, but blessing crowns him who is willing to sell.
A stingy man is eager to get rich and is unaware that poverty awaits him.
Lesson 9: Give generously.
2 Corinthians 9:6-7
6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.
7 Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
10. Money gained by unjust means will vanish
- Money gained by dishonest means dwindles away fast.
Dishonest money dwindles away, but he who gathers money little by little makes it grow.
- People who oppress others for money can come to poverty because of it.
He who oppresses the poor to increase his wealth and he who gives gifts to the rich--both come to poverty.
Lesson 10: Earn your money honestly.
So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man.
2 Thessalonians 3:7-9
7 For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you,
8 nor did we eat anyone's food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you.
9 We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to make ourselves a model for you to follow.
11. Be careful for greed.
- Greed for money can lead to family problems.
A greedy man brings trouble to his family, but he who hates bribes will live.
- Do not charge exorbitant interest; justice will prevail.
He who increases his wealth by exorbitant interest amasses it for another, who will be kind to the poor.
- Ask God for the proper amount of money.
Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread.
Lesson 11: Search your heart before God that you might be aware of any greed.
But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people.
Remember that a biblical view of money begins by a commitment to honoring God first with our money (I). Then we must keep in mind that wisdom, righteousness and the fear of God are more important than money (II-IV) and will enable us to perform the first principle more adequately, as well as the others (V-XI).