Originally published on James and Dave’s Bible Page
The message of Biblical prosperity is a precious blessing which more and more Christians are learning to walk in. This doctrine is discussed at length in our previous study, Prosperity: A Biblical Overview.
However, there is another side to the issue, one which we must not neglect if we are going to rightly divide the Word of Truth. While the Bible does teach that God desires to bless and prosper His people ,He also expects us to be good stewards of what He entrusts us with. The prosperity message does not give us licence to be greedy or materialistic. The Bible contains strong warnings against allowing wealth to have an inordinate place in our lives. Prosperity is Biblical, avarice is not. With this in mind, we strongly encourage you to carefully study the following:
Genesis 12:2: God’s covenant with Abraham shows us that the primary purpose of being blessed is so that we can be a blessing to others.
Deuteronomy 6:10-12; 8:10-20: In your prosperity, make sure you don’t forget the God.who gave you the power to get it.
Psalm 37:16-A little that a righteous man has is better than the riches of many wicked.
Psalm 49:16-17: Don’t be afraid of the wealthy, because when they die, they will take nothing with them.
Psalms 73:3: King David repents for envying the prosperity of the wicked.
Proverbs 10:2: Wicked treasures profit nothing.
Proverbs 22:2- The rich and the poor meet together, and God is the Lord of both of them.
Proverbs 11:4- Riches do not profit in the day of wrath.
Proverbs 11:28: He that trusts in his riches will fall.
Proverbs 15:16: Better is little with the fear of the Lord than great treasure and trouble therewith.
Proverbs 15:27: A greedy person troubles his house, but a person who hates bribes will live.
Proverbs 16:8: Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues without right.
Proverbs 19:1: A poor person with integrity is better than a rich fool.
Proverbs 22:3-4- The primary purpose of our labour should not be to get rich.
Isaiah 3:16-26-God will judge the haughtiness of the wealthy women of Judah.
Jeremiah 22:13-19-Jeremiah prophesies a violent judgement against the evil King Jehoiakim for acquiring wealth and power by unjust means.
Amos 6:4-7- Judgement will come to those who live in wealth and pleasure while neglecting those in need.
Ecclesiastes 5:10-Love of wealth is vanity. It is never satisfied.
Zephaniah 1:18- Silver and gold cannot save anyone from God’s judgement.
Matthew 6: 19-20: Lay up treasures in Heaven, rather than on the earth.
Matthew 6:24, Luke 16:13: You cannot serve both God and money.
Matthew 6:33- God’s provision is dependant on seeking His Kingdom first.
Matthew 13:22, Mark 4:19- Cares of this world, deceitfulness of riches, and lust for other things are among the tools Satan uses to steal the Word of God from peoples’ hearts.
Matthew 16:26: For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
Matthew 26:14-15: Judas’ love of money entices him to betray Jesus.
Luke 6:24: Woe to the ungodly rich, for they have received their consolation.
Luke 12:15: A man’s life does not consist of the things that he has.
Luke 12:16-21: The Parable of the Rich Fool shows the danger of being rich in worldly goods without being rich toward God.
Luke 12:32-34: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
Luke 14:33: Following Jesus involves a willingness to forsake all you have.
Luke 16:10-11: If you are not faithful with your money, God cannot trust your faithfulness in other area.
Luke 16:19-31- The rich man and Lazarus teach us a solemn lesson about being rich while neglecting God and the poor.
Luke 18:18-23: The rich young ruler could not give his life to Jesus because of his idolatrous attachment to his money.
Luke 19:1-10-The conversion of Zacchaeus shows us that getting right with God means getting right in our financial dealings.
Acts 2:44; 4:34-35: The early church shows an admirable attitude toward material possessions, being quick to share them with those in need.
Acts 8:18-20: Peter sharply rebukes Simon for attempting to buy God’s gift (the Holy Spirit) with money.
1 Corinthians 4:10-13: Prosperity does not mean there will not be times when we are called to live sacrificially for the Gospel’s sake.
1 Corinthians 5:11- Do not fellowship with a (professed) brother who is greedy.
Ephesians 5:5- Greed is idolatry and will prevent entry into the Kingdom of God (also see Colossians 3:5).
Colossians 3:2: Our ultimate affections should be set on Heavenly things, not earthly things.
1 Timothy 6:5: Withdraw yourself from anyone who supposes that gain is godliness.
1 Timothy 6:7-8: Godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing let us be content. (Note: These verses are not telling us to be content with lack. Rather, they are telling us to trust God and to be content with His process of taking us to our place of blessing).
1 Timothy 6:10: The love of money is the root of all evil. (Note: this does not say that money itself is the root of all evil, but the love of it. You can commit this sin without having a penny to your name).
1 Timothy 6:17-19- Rich Christians are not to be highminded, but they are to always be ready to give to those in need.
1 Timothy 3:2, 8, Titus 1:7-Among the qualifications for church leaders is that they not be greedy.
1 Timothy 6:9: Being rich can make a person more susceptible to temptations, snares and hurtful lusts which can ultimately lead to their destruction.
Hebrews 13:5: Keep your life free from the love of money; and be content with such things as you have.
James 1:10- The ungodly rich will pass away like the flowers and the grass.
James 2:1-4- It is a sin to favor the rich above the poor.
James 4:1-2- War springs from lust and greed.
James 4:3: God will not answer prayers that are motivated by lust or greed.
James 5:1-3: The ungodly rich will suffer misery and ruin.
1 John 3:17: If a wealthy Christian sees his brother in need, and refuses to help him, how can he say that the love of God dwells in him? (See also James 2:15-16).
3 John 2: Prosperity of soul is a condition of prosperity in other areas of life.
Revelation 3:17-18: Although the Laodicean church was very wealthy, Jesus still saw them as being “…wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked.”
Revelation 18:11-19- Mighty Babylon will fall, and its wealth brought to ruin.
These are certainly sobering words, especially in light of the many prosperity Scriptures we examined in the previous study. Is this a contradiction? Not at all.
When we expound on any Biblical concept, balance is crucial. While prosperity is clearly God’s will for His people, money is not the ultimate goal. To whom much is given, much is required (Luke 12:48). In the hands of a responsible believer, material prosperity is a tremendous blessing, but to a person who cannot handle prosperity, it can have disastrous consequences.
Take God’s Word as a whole. Stand on His promises, walk in His blessing, but at the same time, guard your heart closely. As it has been said, God is not against us having money, but He is against money having us!