Money and the Bible: Basic Principles

The Bible talks about money from cover to cover. In fact, few other subjects are mentioned more than money. And, as we know, more people get into trouble with money than most any other problem today.

The Bible is clear and provides plenty of guidelines, criteria and direction on how to deal with money. Financial coaches like Larry Burkett, Ron Blue and Dave Ramsey are wise men, but they regularly mirror and echo what is found in scripture.

In the coming weeks, we’ll feature specific articles on Money and the Bible. Today, we hit some of the highlights that the Bible mentions explicitly.

TITHE. This one is clear, and it’s a good place to start. It’s one of the first questions I ask when people tell me they are struggling financially. It’s one area of your budget I would suggest you never cut.

My pastor in Baton Rouge has a standing challenge to people who attend his church. It’s actually consistent with the most famous scripture on the subject in Malachi 3:10-12 where God says to put Him to the test. Similarly, Larry Stockstill lays out his challenge: Tithe on your gross for 90 days. “If God hasn’t opened the windows of heaven and blessed you, I’ll refund every dime,” he says. To date, no one has taken him up on the refund offer.

More tithing basics:

  • “Bring the whole tithe…” suggests we tithe on the gross or first fruits. Which blessing do you want, the benefit on the gross or the net?
  • Your tithe goes to your church, not to a TV pastor or the halfway house or the homeless shelter.
  • Tithe in good times and bad times. There is nothing more important than the tithe. My suggestion is to make this the first check out of your bank account once you get paid.
  • Tithe on all income, not just your main paycheck. That includes side hustles and other income.

Do you want to be blessed? Tithe.

Give. There are tithes, and there are offerings. Your tithe is ten per cent of your gross income that goes to your church. Your giving is above and beyond the tithe and can take on many shapes and forms. You can give to your church, another ministry, a homeless shelter, or someone you run into at the mall, the coffee shop or at church.

Giving is contagious and you’ll soon find yourself wanting to include it in your budget. My mom used to give kids and grandkids $50 to $100 on Thanksgiving and tell us we had to give it away by the end of Black Friday. Just like other families, we were in countless stores and we generally found creative ways to give it away, often in increments of $5 or $10. Great stories to share there too!

“Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” ~Luke 6:38.

Stay out of debt. You can scour the Bible from front to back, but you won’t find one reference that puts debt in a positive light. While it is not explicitly prohibited, the Bible still warns and cautions against it. Yes, times get tight, situations are thrust upon us, and often there doesn’t seem to be an option but to get another credit card or take out a consolidation loan. Still, Proverbs 22:7 is clear: “…the borrower is the slave of the lender.” Further, Romans 13:8 says: “Owe no one anything, except to love each other.”

Total consumer debt in America is now approaching $13 trillion, and the average credit card debt is climbing each year. Is it any surprise that stress is at an all-time level, and people are seeking pills and counselors today more than ever?

If you’re in debt, you don’t have to be. No matter your circumstance, income or amount of debt, there is hope. You can get rid of the stress and live the life of your dreams. Dave Ramsey says it best: “If you will live like no one else today, later you can live like no one else.”


Have questions about your finances? Chip Bailey is a Dave Ramsey Preferred Coach and helps people live stress-free and debt-free. Email us with your question, or schedule a free 30-minute consultation.

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