7 Biblical Money Principles: How to Manage Money God’s Way
Many of us are uncomfortable talking about money. But the reality is the Bible has a lot to say about money. In fact, Jesus talked more about money than he did any other subject.
I did a little bit of research, and here’s what I found:
- 16 out of 38 parables in the bible focus on how to handle money and possessions;
- 228 verses deal directly with the subject of money; and
- 2,000+ verses are related to money and materialism
Clearly money is a big deal to God and He cares about how we handle our money!
And it kind of makes you wonder why that is… Bakit nga ba?
I think it’s because we spend so much of our lives wrapped up in it. We spend so much of our time either making money, or spending money, or thinking about money, or worried about money, or using money, or wishing that we had a little bit more money.
God knew that money was going to be a big deal to us and so he spends a lot of time talking about it in the Bible.
Unfortunately, in church, we tend to think of a sermon on money as just a plea for more giving like it’s a guilt driven appeal for us to start tithing or giving to the church.
For Jesus though, teaching about money was an essential preparation for a godly life. I believe how we handle money is a sort of litmus test for our spiritual maturity.
In Luke 16:11, Jesus said,
If you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches in heaven?
In other words, God is watching me – how I handle wealth however little or much of it I have in this life, how I manage it, and what I do with it here on earth. And if God can’t trust me with money or material wealth, then he won’t trust me with true spiritual riches in eternity.
It’s a matter of stewardship and I know the word stewardship is kind of a weird word, but it’s just an old English word for management.
And that’s what God calls us to be: to be good stewards of his resources including wealth, money, and possessions.
So, how do we responsibly manage our money the way God had intended for us?
Below are 7 Ways to Handle Money based on biblical principles.
1. Remember that it is God’s Money
Many of us are having a hard time trusting God with our money because we think of it as OUR money. We are not given a single thing on this earth that was not given to us by God.
The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it. – Psalm 24:1, NLT
Our house, our food, our clothes, are all blessings from God. Make sure to acknowledge God and give thanks to Him. When you are feeling stingy with your money, remember it is not yours. God is only entrusting you with it.
Some of you might be saying, “Wait a minute, I earned that money by using my knowledge, skill and ability.”
Wasn’t it God who gave you that knowledge, skill, and ability to begin with?
2. Budget wisely
The Bible doesn’t use the term budgeting, yet it offers clear direction on the importance of such planning. Simply put, a budget is a written plan to track and control income and expenses.
Proverbs 27:23 says,
Be sure you know the condition of your flocks. Give careful attention to your herds, for riches do not endure forever and a crown is not secure for all generations.
In other words, we need to be aware of how we’re using our income, so we can know whether we need to make adjustments in our spending.
Budgeting helps us live within our means, avoid impulsive and unnecessary spending, and prepare for future needs. If we don’t carefully plan our finances and direct them where to go, we will one day find ourselves broke.
Why is Budgeting Important?
When you make a budget or a plan, you are more likely to handle your finances responsibly.
Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? – Luke 14:28
Knowing how much money you have coming in and what needs to be allocated for bills, helps you to spend within your means. After your tithing and saving, you know what you have left to pay bills and spend on lattes or milk teas.
To set up your household budget, figure out how much you spend each month for different categories (such as food, utilities, housing, transportation, tuition fees, medical, etc.), and compare that to your monthly income. If your expenses are more than your income, you will need to cut out unnecessary purchases.
If you get to the point where there’s no more money left for the month in a particular category, then stop spending. It’s going to take some determination to do this, but it’s a necessary step if you’re going to get your finances under control.
3. Tithe faithfully
For me, the most important principle in the Bible regarding the handling of money is paying our tithe to the Lord.
A tithe is 10 percent of a person’s “increase” (Deuteronomy 14:22), which is given to support the ministry and work of the Church. When we tithe, we show God that we are putting Him first in our lives.
Certainly God doesn’t need our money. Everything we have ultimately belongs to Him (Exodus 19:5). The real beneficiaries of tithing are those of us giving tithes faithfully.
In Malachi 3:10 God says,
Bring the full amount of your tithes to the Temple, so that there will be plenty of food there. Put me to the test and you will see that I will open the windows of heaven and pour out on you in abundance all kinds of good things.
This was the verse that inspired me to start tithing. Even if I felt I didn’t have enough, I held on to what Jesus said – that he will give me abundant blessings if I give my tithe faithfully. And I believe that these blessings are not only physical or financial, but also spiritual blessings.
Tithing is not a command to make the churches rich, but rather to help the needy. A true church will not be using this money to make itself richer, but rather to help those in the community and grow the church as a community.
Why is Tithing important?
Tithing teaches us to be good stewards of what God has given us and to live unselfishly. This can lead to improved household finances and can help us become better spouses, friends, relatives, employees and employers.
Tithing can also help us learn to trust God more fully and build a closer relationship with Him.
I only started tithing in January 2019 and it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life. Before tithing, I thought I really could not afford to tithe because my income was barely enough to pay the bills. Yet I did and had enough – sometimes even more than enough for my physical needs and a little more for sharing.
Tithing has helped me to stay more focused on God and to remember that we can always count on Him in all situations.
Give back to God what is already His. When you tithe, you are showing God that you not only follow His commands, but that you trust that He will care for you.
Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops. – Proverbs 3:9
4. Save some for a “rainy day”
This biblical money principle goes hand in hand with budgeting and staying out of debt. When you actively put money aside and build up your bank account, you are more likely to have money on hand when an unexpected bill pops up and, therefore, less likely to have to borrow.
It is a good practice to add to savings right after tithing. Personally, after tithing my 10% to the church, I put 10% into savings. What’s left is what I use for bill paying and book shopping or other “treats”.
In Proverbs 30:25, it says
Ants are creatures of little strength, yet they store up their food in the summer.
What does the ant do that we are to emulate? It stores food for future consumption.
This includes an Emergency Fund that is set aside to cover our unpredictable as well as predictable future needs.
Why is Saving important?
You never know what life is going to throw at you. Your husband’s steady ten-year-long job could lay him off.
This happened to us three years ago when my husband was laid off from work and was unemployed for almost a year. It was very challenging but we learned so many lessons along the way.
You may find yourself in need of a new appliance or someone in the family gets sick unexpectedly. There are going to be those surprise bills and those surprise events in life that cause you to become strapped for cash.
It is for this reason that God has encouraged us to have a savings, which may become fun money in your retirement, or security money when a steady paycheck is no longer there.
Saving is an often overlooked necessity, even if it is just P1,000 a pay period. The money adds up over a long period.
Like the ant, who saves during a time of plenty for a time when there will be need, we, too, should save now for future expenses.
The wise man saves for the future, but the foolish man spends whatever he gets. – Proverbs 21:20
5. Avoid Debt
The Bible warns against the use of debt. Proverbs 22:7 states,
The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.
If you become burdened with a heavy load of debt, in essence you’ve become a slave to your creditors. You no longer have the freedom to decide how to spend your paycheck because you’re obligated to meet those debts.
Change the way you handle debt and the financial habits that put you in debt including overspending and borrowing (loans). After tithing, pay yourself first by saving money so you don’t have to borrow.
One way to keep debt in check is to be careful about buying on credit. We lower our standard of living every time we buy something on credit instead of paying full price. Why is that? Because of interest!
Many personal finance experts recommend using credit cards if you are able to pay the full balance on the statement each month, so you don’t have to pay any interest. I personally use credit cards for some of our purchases but I always make sure to pay it in full before its due date to avoid interest and penalties.
If you have a lot of outstanding revolving debt, this should be paid off as quickly as possible, starting with the credit card that has the highest interest rate.
Do not spend money you don’t have
Spending money I don’t have is one of the hardest lessons I have ever had. I’d go to a store to buy something and I’ll leave the store with 10 things I didn’t need. And worse, on credit!
The cold, hard truth of it is this: we had to stop spending money that we just didn’t have!
I remember what Rose Fausto said in her FQ Mom book that I have read early this year,
Buy luxury only if you can afford to buy 10 pieces of it.
And even if it’s not a luxury item you’re buying, you still need to try your best to avoid debt or to overspend on something, unless you really can afford it.
Don’t help others get in debt.
Don’t agree to guarantee another person’s debt or put up security for someone else. If you can’t pay it, even your bed will be snatched from under you. – Proverbs 22:26-27
This verse is also related to what God says in Proverbs 27:13 which is to exercise extreme caution in cosigning. It infers that it is a terrible credit risk to take on a stranger’s debt. When a person cosigns a loan, he is the one who is really borrowing the money. The reason a person needs a cosigner is because the lender is unwilling to lend that money to the person requesting the loan.
I understand helping others, but a bigger blessing would be to provide the person with sound biblical resources on biblical money management.
6. Give unconditionally
Lots of people say they don’t have enough money to give. But the problem might be that they don’t make it a priority. Giving isn’t a priority in the world, but it’s a priority to God.
Everything we have including our money, our jobs and even the ability to earn money is a gift from God. After meeting our own needs, He wants us to share some of what we’ve been given with others.
In Acts 20:35 Paul quotes Jesus as saying,
It is more blessed to give than to receive.
We should give unconditionally — even when the recipients cannot repay us (Luke 14:12-14). That could mean donating to charity, helping someone in need, or buying food for a homeless person.
While we need to exercise wisdom in how much to give, we shouldn’t be so tight with our money that we’re reluctant to part with any of it.
There have been times when I’ve given and afterward seen a disconcerting emptiness in my wallet and bank account. But then seemingly out of nowhere I received some unexpected cash or other financial blessing that filled that gap.
When we have the desire to share, God gives us the means to do so.
Of course, not everyone has the same financial means. We may genuinely be struggling monetarily. But even then, we can still give of the time, talents or other non-financial assets that God has provided for us.
The point is, God wants us to use what He has blessed us with so we can be a blessing to others, not just so we can fulfill our own needs and desires.
Giving not only benefits others but by being more generous with our money, we automatically are thinking more about others. It will also encourage us to be more thankful for what we have.
Give to others, and God will give to you. Indeed, you will receive a full measure, a generous helping, poured into your hands—all that you can hold. The measure you use for others is the one that God will use for you. -Luke 6:38
7. Work hard
We often look at our work as a burden, and that it cuts into our plans and desires. We need to remember that work is a blessing. By working hard and not falling to slothfulness, we will benefit both financially, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.
All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty. – Proverbs 14:23
Most often, those who work harder in their job will find they are promoted or given higher raises. Granted, there are exceptions, but we need not worry about our earthly riches, God recognizes our heart and hard work. We are to build our treasures in heaven.
Don’t Rely on Get Quick Rich Schemes
Be hesitant following people who claim great fortune with minimal work. I’ve tried some short cuts in the past and it gave me quick, easy money, but in the end, it cost me both financially and emotionally.
Look towards businesses and employment that promise steady income with small, steady gains over a long time.
Wealth from get-rich-quick schemes quickly disappears; wealth from hard work grows over time. – Proverbs 13:11
Trust in God, not in your finances
The Bible makes it clear that true security can only be found in God (1 Timothy 6:17) and that trusting in riches will destroy us (Proverbs 11:28).
Our wealth and possessions are temporary and can easily be wiped out in an instant, perhaps through theft, accidents or natural disasters.
If we’re struggling with our finances, we must remember that God is our refuge, and that He cares for those who trust in Him (Nahum 1:7).
We shouldn’t be anxious about money problems (Philippians 4:6). We must do our part—to not overspend, but to save and invest our money in what has eternal value.
The rest is in God’s hands. If we’re seeking God’s Kingdom first and foremost, we can be assured that God will provide for our physical needs (Matthew 6:25-34).
Be Cautious Not to Love Money
For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. — 1 Timothy 6:10-11
How many times have you heard this verse? Honestly, I have heard it more than I can count.
And as the bible says, it’s the love of money that is the root of all evil, not money on its own. Money builds churches and hospitals, and it helps the poor. But we need to be wary of making money an idol. You’ll know if money has become an idol if:
- you sacrifice quality time with God and family to make more money.
- you worry about how you are going to pay for things so much that you cannot enjoy life.
- you spend hours analyzing your budget at the expense of time with your family.
- you have all the latest gadgets or the most expensive things but feel lonely.
- you have more debt than you make in a year.
Money is an essential part of life but it is not everything.
Stop worrying about money
The Bible tells us not to worry about anything, but in everything present your requests to God in prayer and thanksgiving. Money is no different. Sure bills come due and the car breaks down, but worrying about these things just causes stress and sleepless nights.
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? – Matthew 6:25-27
Be content with what you have
It’s easy to see the relatives buy a new car every year, or wistfully “admire” the friends who just moved into a Pinterest-worthy showcase of a home, or the colleagues who just went to a beautiful travel destination.
We see what others have and want the same. While there’s nothing wrong with that, we need to learn to be content with what we have. And, when we are, we are less likely to go into debt to have the things we really can’t afford, anyway.
And I am not saying this because I feel neglected, for I have learned to be satisfied with what I have. I know what it is to be in need and what it is to have more than enough. I have learned this secret, so that anywhere, at any time, I am content, whether I am full or hungry, whether I have too much or too little.. – Philippians 4:11-12
Trust that God will provide
Believe God’s promises that He will meet your every need. Sometimes He’ll provide through the generosity of others. Sometimes, through our own efforts, but God has never promised to give everyone the same amount.
It’s important to accept what God has provided for you. What He entrusts to you is part of His plan that He has for you and your life.
One of my favorite verses in the bible is Philippians 4:19 and I affirm and declare this by heart everyday.
And my God will provide all my needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.
By committing to these biblical money principles, we will benefit from improved finances and financial peace of mind. There may be less tension about money at home and a better connection among family members as well.
Most importantly, we will learn to trust God more fully, develop a deeper appreciation for His purpose for us and build a closer relationship with Him.
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What else can we do to handle God’s money better? Share in the comments below!