What Is The Biblical Method To Obtain Money?
The biblical method to obtain money is work. God has designed mankind to work in order to provide a living for themselves and their families. Believers should diligently work hard as unto the Lord and avoid the dangers of obtaining money by those means that appeal to our sinful and greedy desires to be rich.
Work Is The Way To Obtain Money
- God has designed mankind to work. It was part of the “goodness” of His creation. He created a garden and placed Adam (the first man) in it “to dress it and to keep it.” He created man to work. Adam was expected to exert physical and mental effort to maintain the garden. Adam was also granted to partake of the vegetation as food (at this time all mankind and animals were vegetarians). Therefore, work should be a normal way of life.
Genesis 1:29-30; 2:8-17
- Everyone needs food, clothing, etc., to live or they need to earn money to exchange for these necessities. Work is the primary way for us to earn these necessities or the money to purchase them. The Bible presents two kinds of people: a person who is inclined to work and a person who is disinclined to work. They have two very different outcomes. The person who works is “better off” because he will profit and be satisfied with honest gains. The person who doesn’t work is “worse off” because he lacks understanding and ends up with nothing. This type of person desires to have money, chases vain pursuits of money, talks about ways to get money, boasts about his own greatness but he is poor in reality. Therefore, work is the normal way of life to earn money.
Proverbs 10:4; 12:9-11; 13:4; 14:23; 20:4
- As believers, we are to work with our “own hands”—meaning that we shouldn’t avoid work and take advantage of the generosity of rich believers (or others, government, etc.), but we should earn a living for ourselves and families. All believers have the responsibility to exert physical and mental effort to obtain money so that they can provide for their own families. Hard work, continually increasing in brotherly love, aspiring to live peaceably and minding our own affairs—allows us to “walk honestly” or live in an honorable way towards unbelievers. Therefore, hard and honest work is a part of our Christian testimony.
1 Thessalonians 4:9-12; 1 Timothy 5:8
- Believers who refuse to diligently work to earn money are being disobedient to the biblical tradition as laid out in the Bible and commanded by Paul. Paul reminds us that, “If any would not work, neither should he eat.” In the church of the Thessalonians, there were believers that were exploiting the generosity of other believers. They were characterized by the following: “walking disorderly”—meaning they were undisciplined and irresponsible; “working not at all”—meaning they didn’t spend any time working to earn money; “busybodies”—meaning they spent their time meddling or interfering in the lives of others. Believers who have these characteristics should be exhorted to work peaceably and become financially independent. If they don’t obey the Bible’s command to work, then they should be noted and avoided—meaning, in brotherly love, other believers shouldn’t have anything to do with them, hoping, they will repent and be restored.
2 Thessalonians 3:6-15
- Believers are commanded to have a strong work ethic—to work with all our might. We are not to be dishonest, like stealing for gain, but instead we are to do “honest work” and be willing to give to those who are in need. Our motivation is rooted in the fear of God. He is our ultimate employer. Therefore, whatever we do, we work heartily, as for the Lord, knowing that we will receive the inheritance from God as our reward.
Ecclesiastes 9:10; Ephesians 4:28; Colossians 3:22-24
Dangerous Ways To Obtain Money
- Schemes—devious systematic plans that promise to make you rich quick with a minimal amount of work required. The dangers of these schemes should be obvious to us but we often overlook them because they appeal to our “desire to be rich” or greed. This greed temps us to do wrong, traps us, and leads us to many other foolish and hurtful lusts. These get rich quick schemes are dangerous because: (1) they avoid honest, faithful, and hard work instead of promoting it; (2) they make riches the goal instead of honoring God; (3) they promote rushing to get rich—but the Bible says this type of person will not go unpunished.
1 Timothy 6:9-10; Proverbs 28:20
- Gambling—paying money to play a game for a chance (often very small) to win a large amount of money in return. The reason we gamble is because we “desire to be rich” quick instead of diligently working and gathering little by little. This too avoids the biblical tradition and spends money on “chance” to earn more money instead of work. This is dangerous because it misplaces our priorities and mostly leads to poverty.
Proverbs 13:11; 21:5
- Borrowing—an agreement to take and use money from someone else with the intention of eventually paying it back according to the terms agreed upon. The reason we have to go into debt is because there is something that we want/need now but we don’t have enough money to buy it now (thus obtaining money that we haven’t earned yet). Therefore, instead of working hard and saving up money for it, we borrow money from a lender. The motivation for this often comes from that same “desire to be rich” or greed within us, thus leading us down a dangerous path. One of the greatest dangers of debt is that “the borrower is servant to the lender”—meaning the borrower looses a certain amount of freedom over his income and decisions because he has bound himself to the lender until his debt is repaid. As believers, we were bought with a price and we should not be the servants of men. Thus, debt can hinder our service to God by enslaving us and denying us the freedom to serve as we are needed. Debt is also dangerous because it causes us to presume on our future financial circumstances, but truly we have no control over it. Finally, the interested on the borrowed money often makes the deal very foolish.
Proverbs 22:7; James 4:13-15
- As believers, we should repay all our debts and strive to live debt free. The Bible says to “owe no man anything”—meaning we are not to let any debt remain outstanding. We should avoid debt if the circumstance allows it and only borrow after we have considered the risks, sought wise counsel, considered the cost of the repayment plan and if the thing being purchased can by used as collateral for the money borrowed.
Psalm 37:21; Romans 13:8; Matthew 5:25-26
- As believers, we should not guarantee (co-sign) a debt for someone else. This means that we shouldn’t promise to pay someone else’s debt if they default on their loan. This is unwise, dangerous and usually only required when the lender feels the borrower won’t repay his loan. Guaranteeing for someone else means you are equally going into debt with them and if both of you can’t repay what was borrowed, they will take everything from you too as payment towards the debt.
Proverbs 6:1-5; 17:18; 22:26-27; 27:13
- Sinful Activities—exerting physical and mental effort in a sinful manner to obtain money. For example, the wage of a prostitute is an abomination to God. In the book of Acts, some new believers who used “curious arts” refused to obtain money by selling their “books” because they were evil and instead burned them—loosing a great some of money.
Deuteronomy 23:18; Acts 19:18-20
- God designed mankind to do what to earn money?
- What is the danger of a person who is disinclined to work?
- What is the motivation of the Christian work ethic?
- What are three dangerous ways to obtain money?
- As believers how should we feel about debt and co-signing?