We know that reading the Bible can calm our worries and anxieties. We know that the Word of God can motivate us to reach our goals. But when we are going through financial stress, we don't exactly turn to the Bible for practical money tips. How could the ancient Scriptures provide advice on matters like debt, mortgage, budget, and wealth management?
To begin with, the Bible is no ordinary collection of texts. It is God's Word -- deep in its wisdom and timeless in its relevance. There really are passages in the Good Book that would make sensible money advice, even for our modern financial woes. Let's take a look at some of the best Bible verses as financial tips.
1. 'Ask' for what you need.
"Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you." -- Matthew 7:7
This is a popular Bible verse that is unfortunately often misinterpreted in its most literal meaning. It is not just about getting anything we ask for in a snap. "Asking" means doing what is necessary to achieve something. Action must accompany our prayers and requests. This is better stated in the next lines: seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall open.
When we find ourselves in need of financial supplements, a question we can ponder is: "What can I do to earn more?" Many times, there is a potential in us that just needs to be tapped, such as a skill we can offer as a service, or some specialized experience that can put us in a better job position.
2. Plan where your money goes.
"The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty." -- Proverbs 21:5
Compulsive buying is a disorder of modern times. There are too many material temptations around us today that even the best of us end up indulging every now and then.
To combat this, it helps to actively plan your spending. Try concrete methods for budgeting (here is an article about various budget techniques). It's also a good idea to enlist your loved ones who are usually around you, such as your family and close friends. Ask them to help you stick to your budget and hold you accountable for your money.
3. Listen to constructive criticism.
"Listen to counsel and accept discipline, that you may be wise the rest of your days." -- Proverbs 19:20
For most people, financial problems are private and sensitive, so they get touchy when other people try to offer helpful words. But the Bible tells us that wise counsel -- and yes, some disciplining -- are crucial.
This doesn't mean that we have to accept every piece of unsolicited advice we encounter. It's good to choose whom to listen to. Our parents' reminders are on the top of the list, as they are very likely grounded on experience and real concern for us. We might also listen to a good friend who has had a similar crisis in the past and successfully overcome it.
4. Draw from your self-discipline.
"For the Spirit that God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline." -- 2 Timothy 1:7
A lot of money problems persist because of our passivity or lack of self-determination. We let our habits overtake us, we don't actively control our budgets, we succumb to numerous financial temptations and simply excuse ourselves by saying we're human.
This Bible verse is an amazing reminder that God did not make us weak creatures. God gave us self-discipline and power over ourselves. We have to remember this in all aspects of our living, including our finances.
A good place to start is by examining your spending habits that seem innocent but actually need to be curbed, such as:
- Allowing yourself 'treats' too frequently. You'll want to moderate these or they'll quickly stack up.
- Buying something just because it's on sale. If you didn't need it to begin with, you merely spent your money unnecessarily.
- Mindlessly spending away your small change without accounting for them against your budget.
5. Give what you can.
"Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap." -- Luke 6:38
It seems counterintuitive to be charitable when you yourself are struggling with money. But there is always, always something you can give, and that act of giving can powerfully uplift you in ways you don't expect.
For example, this Bible passage from Luke, when put in its original context, is about giving forgiveness to others such that we ourselves may be forgiven. This is definitely something we can do, no matter how much wealth we hold (or do not hold).
How does this help our financial situation? We may not always be rewarded with material wealth, but giving puts things in perspective. It reminds us that we are always capable of something more, that we are still utterly empowered.
Of course, the ultimate reason for giving is to give glory to God. That in itself is a reward of a lifetime.
Do you find these Bible verses helpful as practical money tips? We'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
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