Money + The Bible

Updated: Jul 20

I've done a loooot of studying around this to see past extracted verses and scriptures (which is how a lot of people tend to read the bible) to try to get a clear picture of the heart of God and why there are so many warnings in the bible about money/wealth. Jesus is God and his home was heaven (aka the MOST abundant place ever). He was always taken care of and provided for, but I don't think he cared about having possessions while he was on earth because his mission was to be the messiah and BE the gospel.

Matthew 19:16-30 - I think this passage is specifically referring to "entering" the kingdom of heaven. Meaning that it can be hard to see a need to be "saved" if you are already so secure in your wealth. I think that's why there are so many scriptures about the "meek" and "poor"—because they tend to come to Jesus much more easily, readily, and humble than someone who might feel like that have it all. Ultimately, God wants our hearts above all. If something will get in the way of that (aka an "idol"), God wants us to be willing to give that up. Jesus didn't tell Zacchaeus to give up his money even though he was super wealthy too (Luke 19:2).

To expand on this passage a little bit further, the greek to describe the young man saying he had "great possessions" in v. 22 does mean materially wealthy (ktema="possessions, property, lands, estates"). But in v. 23 the greek word is "plousios" which can mean both a) "wealthy, abounding in material resources" and b) "metaph. abounding, abundantly supplied; abounding (rich) in Christian virtues and eternal possessions." To those who say "rich" is mistranslated and actually means the latter, doesn't make a ton of sense when you break it down. I suppose on one hand it's possible he could have meant the second definition (seeing that he said he had "kept all the commandments since he was a boy"), but I think it's unlikely because if he did it would translate as "And Jesus said to his disciples, 'Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a [person abounding (rich) in Christian virtues and eternal possessions] enter the kingdom of heaven.'" which doesn't really make sense.

I personally feel totally aligned with the belief that money is not inherently good or bad, because the bible never says that it's one or the other. But I do think there's a reason that money/wealth/riches/possessions are mentioned over 800 times, making the second most talked about topic in the Bible. From my understanding, it's because money can be a very tempting thing that can pull our hearts away from truly desiring God first and pursuing him and the kingdom first. I think it's about being honest about what your priorities are and what's most important (Matt. 6:21).

I'm still studying this out, and I think it'll be a lifelong journey, but I think the most important piece is first understanding what God desires, which is always our hearts. I think if we can make sure that's always devoted to him first, then the rest will fall into place.

Los Angeles, CA


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©2020 by Victoria Janka