Financial education from the bible

Written by Nersen Pillay Monday, 24 October 2011 19:18
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The bible is very negative on greed and lists it with other sins e.g. 1 Corinthians 10v6: ".... thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God."

It also stipulates that those in church leadership should not be greedy for money e.g. Titus 1v7: "For an overseer,as God's steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain."  

Christ himself was explicit about the ultimate futility of accumulating wealth as an aim in itself e.g Matthew 16v26: "For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?"

So, there is no excuse for greed in the church.... but it has always existed as people do not always do what the bible says in the church! Of course, there is also a lot of teaching about helping those in financial need e.g. James 2 v15-17: " If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead." 

But, while greed and not looking after those in need are viewed as sins, making a profit in business honestly is praised (see Proverbs 31 for positive comments on a woman making money through her entrepreneurship to support her family) and being rich is not necessarily a problem (Abraham, David, Phoebe were all rich).

So, the bible does not play the politics of envy: working hard, making a profit, making a lot of money honestly are all fine and laziness causing dependence on others, greed and no concern for the poor are defined as sins.

Perhaps both those in Wall Street and those who want to Occupy Wall Street could be challenged by what the bible says regarding money if they read it.  (Biblical Refs: ESV Bible)

Nersen Pillay is a global equity stockbroker.

What we fail to teach our kids about money by Andy Golding and Annie Shaw is published by Searching Finance in December 2011.

Last modified on Saturday, 05 November 2011 21:04

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