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The Proverbs and the Idea of “Money”

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Introduction

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.

A Representative List of Verses

3:9, 10; 8:18-21; 10:4,15, 16, 22; 11:4, 24-26, 28; 13:7, 8, 11, 21, 22; 14:20, 23, 24; 15:6,16, 27; 16:8; 17:6; 18:11, 23; 19:4, 7; 21:5, 17; 22:1, 2, 4, 7, 9, 16; 23:4, 5; 27:24; 28:6, 8, 11, 22, 25; 30:8; 31:18.

Principles From
the Proverbs on Money

Honor God with your wealth.

  • Prioritize your giving; give to Him first (3:9).
  • God will often bless people materially who give first to him (3:10; 13:21).

Lesson 1: When it comes to money, put God first (Matt. 6:24).

Remember that wisdom is more important than money.

  • Wisdom often brings enduring wealth (8:18, 21).
  • Wisdom yields better fruit than money (8:20).
  • Wisdom enables one to rightly use money (17:16).
  • Wisdom gives one proper restraint in the pursuit of money (23:4).

Lesson 2: Ask God for wisdom in dealing with money (cf. James 1:5).

Remember that righteousness is more important than money.

  • Righteous people can have great riches that involve no trouble (15:6).
  • A poor, but blameless man (i.e. one who is righteous) is better off (i.e. before God) than a rich, but perverse man (28:6).
  • God often rewards the righteous with money (13:21).
  • It is better to have a little money with righteousness than much with injustice (16:8).

Lesson 3: Seek uprightness in money matters (cf. 2 Cor. 8:21).

Remember that fearing God is more important than money.

  • Fearing God is better than a lot of money (15:16)
  • Humility and the fear of God often leads to the acquisition of money (22:4).

Lesson 4: Remember to whom we must give an account (Rom. 14:10)!

People, diligent at what they do, often acquire much wealth.

  • Diligent people, in contrast to lazy people, often have more money (10:4).
  • All hard work brings a profit whereas mere talk accomplishes nothing (14:23).
  • Acquiring wealth takes diligent planning; anything less may end up in ruin (21:5).
  • People who cannot control their spending habits end up with nothing (21:17).

Lesson 5: Plan for your financial future as far as it depends upon you.

Recognize the limitations of money.

  • Money can do nothing to deliver someone from the wrath of God (11:4).
  • Money is very temporal and lasts but a short time (23:5; 27:24).
  • Money cannot be trusted in for it will lead to one's downfall (11:28). Trust, instead, in God (28:25).

Lesson 6: Be sober about money; keep it in perspective (1 Tim. 6:6-10)!

Recognize the potential for good that money properly used can have.

  • Money can provide protection from certain problems and alleviate certain stresses (10: 15).
  • Money can be left as an inheritance to help one's descendants in this life (13:22).
  • An industrious wife can make sufficient money to help he family (31:18).

Lesson 7: Be prepared to use your money to good ends (cf. Phil. 4:14).

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 (14:20; cf. James 2:11ff).
  • If you are rich, be careful of people who desire your friendship (19:4a).
  • If you are poor, do not be surprised if people abandon you for a rich friend (19:4b; cf. 19:7).
  • Those with money often become the target of thieves et al. (13:8).
  • The poor person can often see through the facade of the rich person who thinks he knows it all (28:11).
  • A good reputation with people is better than much money (22:1).
  • Because of money people often try to pretend to be something they're not; they live a lie (13:7).
  • Rich people often "lord it over" poor people (22:7).

Lesson 8: The rich and the poor must remember that God made them both (22:2); humility is the order of the day.

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 (11:24).
  • Generosity often leads to the giver being spiritually refreshed (11:25).
  • Those who are stingy often end up with nothing (11:24b;11:26b; 28:22).

Lesson 9: Give generously (2 Cor. 9:6, 7).

Money gained by unjust means leads to naught, whereas the monetary blessing of God brings no trouble.

  • Money gained by dishonest means dwindles away fast (13:11).
  • People who oppress others for money can come to poverty because of it (22:16a).

Lesson 10: Earn your money honestly (cf. Acts 24:16; 2 Thes. 3:7-9).

Be careful for greed.

  • Greed for money can lead to family problems (15:27).
  • Do not charge exorbitant interest; justice will prevail (28:8).
  • Ask God for the proper amount of money (30:8).

Lesson 11: Search your heart before God that you might be aware of any greed (cf. Ephesians 5:3).

Summary

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).

Related Topics: Finance