The Bible teaches many life lessons. The most important of which is that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except through Him (John 14:6).
Aside from the vital spiritual guidance that the Bible’s vast array of books teaches, it also gives practical lessons, including handling money.
I learned a lot from the Bible’s fundamental money principles that I try my best to follow them. There are more, but here are the first twelve.
1. Give back to the Lord through tithing.
It is essential to understand that God owns everything. He doesn’t need our money or our tithes. What He expects is our stewardship (Psalm 24:1). By giving at least 10% of what we earn, we acknowledge that God is the source of our everything.
Standard personal finance advice is to pay yourself first or save before anything else. However, the proper order should always be towards God first before our own.
But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.2 Corinthians 9:6-7
There are many things that we’ll learn while giving our tithes. It checks our hearts and priorities and teaches us that we are only caretakers of whatever we have. However, if you still have doubts about giving, maybe this verse may help.
Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try Me now in this,” Says the Lord of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it.Malachi 3:10
I remembered Chinkee Tan in one of his talks that I attended. He said that God is the only business partner who gives you everything yet only asks for 10%.
2. You can’t serve God and money.
No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money.Matthew 6:24
We cannot have two masters because we will always choose and prioritize one over the other. Be careful not to put too much emphasis on money that we forget to glorify God.
There are so many things that take too much of our time. It may be our work, studies, friends, and other relationships. Though there is nothing wrong with those, it is essential to keep God on top.
3. Don’t love money.
For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.1 Timothy 6:10
This verse is often misquoted because people keep on removing the verse’s essential part. The Bible says that the love of money, not the money itself, is the root of evil.
Remember that money is neutral, we all need it in our day-to-day lives, but if we can’t think of anything else, we may have another master.
Money is only one component of our life. We need to live for God and to a cause larger than ourselves.
4. Avoid getting into debts or loans.
The rich rules over the poor, And the borrower is slave to the lender.Proverbs 22:7
Debt is a touchy topic even for Christians because our culture normalizes debt and materialism. But if we look at this proverb, it says that the borrower is a slave to the lender.
Suppose you keep on borrowing money, especially those you don’t really need. In that case, you are only setting yourself to stress and sorrow when it is time to pay your creditors.
On the other hand, if you are asked to lend someone money, it is essential to set up criteria to protect yourself and the borrower. There are already so many stories of broken promises between friends, families, and more, all because of unpaid debt.
Remember that debt is not only an issue of money but, more importantly, an issue of character and trust.
5. If you’re in debt, pay your debtors.
The wicked borrow and never repay, but the godly are generous givers.Psalm 37:21
There are times when you lend someone money that instead of paying you back, they would start avoiding you, and you’ll almost never see them again. Don’t be like those people.
If you’re still in debt, make sure you pay what you owe. You may not know if your debtor is also having money problems.
Paying your debt shows that you value your relationship, showing your character.
6. Don’t be a guarantor/co-maker.
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 is in connection to debts. These days, if you’re going to loan a large amount, you are required to bring someone willing to be your comaker. Commonly, it would be a close friend, a relative, or a coworker.
However, being a guarantor is not wise because you permit someone to transfer the burden of paying to you in case the original borrower missed payments.
I know a couple of people whose relationships were permanently damaged because of unpaid debts. What happened is that the guarantor had to pay for something they never owed. Just imagine the stress they had to go through.
7. Save for a rainy day.
Four things on earth are small, yet they are extremely wise: Ants are creatures of little strength, yet they store up their food in the summer.Proverbs 30:24-25
An emergency fund is a biblical principle. Just like how ants store up food during summer in preparation for the winter, likewise, we should also prepare during our good season so we will have something stored when the time of financial trials comes.
You may read more about emergency funds in this post.
But divide your investments among many places, for you do not know what risks might lie ahead.Ecclesiastes 11:2
The secular advice to never put all your eggs in one basket is also reflected in the Bible. It is crucial that you put your investments in multiple asset classes.
By diversifying, you are spreading out your risk if something happens in one of your investments. For example, if you placed all of your investments in the stock market, and something happened that crashed the market, you will have a hard time recovering your losses.
An example of diversification is investing in unrelated assets like real estate, the stock market, PAG-IBIG MP2, mutual funds, VUL, etc.
9. Listen to Wise Counsel
Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.Proverbs 15:22
Having mentors to guide you is very crucial in personal finance. You can’t just listen to anyone regarding money matters, especially someone broke. That happened for a reason, and usually, it is due to their poor decision-making.
You need mentors and anti-mentors to teach you more about money. You can read my post regarding mentors here.
10. Share your resources to the poor and less fortunate.
The generous will themselves be blessed, for they share their food with the poor.Proverbs 22:9
A generous heart is not measured by how much we give but by examining the reason behind that giving.
There are many ways to help. You can give it personally or through your church or non-government organizations.
11. Be content.
Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.Philippians 4:11-13
I believe that contentment is the answer to many of man’s problems. Our present society conditioned our minds that we have to earn more and more money to buy things that we don’t need to feel good about ourselves. However, gaining more money is a short-sighted goal.
You need to understand that money is only a means to an end and not the end in itself.
Yes, it would be cool to have a bunch of stuff that will make our lives easier, but it is also essential to know when you have enough.
12. Trust in God’s Provision
And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.Philippians 4:19
It begins with contentment before we’ll realize that God already provided our needs. If you feel like you still lack something, it might just be that you don’t need it yet, or you don’t need it.
By trusting in God’s provision, we believe in our heart through faith that God will never leave nor forsake us. He provided before, and He will provide again.
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.Matthew 6:21
I constantly repeat that money is a tool for us to use. It should not be something to control our lives. What we truly need is to put our hearts in the proper place.
Where we use our money can also be a reflection of our hearts. May we use our money to glorify God.
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