This is a Bible Study based on John Cortines and Gregory Baumer’s “Seven Core Principles for Biblical Wealth and Giving” from their book, God and Money. I have made 3-videos that accompany this outline of their work. Suggested or possible answers for the questions below are in the videos.
God and Money Part 1
God and Money Part 2
God and Money Part 3
The Four Principles for Biblical Wealth
Principle One: Everything we “own” actually belongs to God. Everything.
What does Colossians 1:16 say about all things?
What does 1 Chronicles 29:11 say about God’s relationship to all things?
Does this include you? What does 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 say?
When you have earned something, consider what these verses say: Psalm 144:1, Romans 13:1-2, and Colossians 1:17. Who gets the credit?
Principle Two: Our wealth and possessions should be used for God’s purposes.
Matthew 25:14-30 – ““For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. 15 To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. 16 He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. 17 So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. 18 But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. 19 Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. 20 And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here, I have made five talents more.’ 21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 22 And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here, I have made two talents more.’ 23 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 24 He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here, you have what is yours.’ 26 But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? 27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. 29 For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
Stewardship is the active and responsible management of God’s creation for God’s purposes.
Does this mean we need to just spend less and sacrificially give and give until it painfully hurts?
Consider 1 Timothy 6:17 and Psalm 128:2 when answering this question.
Principle Three: Wealth is like dynamite, with great potential for both good and harm.
Proverbs 30:8-9 – “give me neither poverty nor riches;
feed me with the food that is needful for me,
9 lest I be full and deny you
and say, “Who is the Lord?”
or lest I be poor and steal
and profane the name of my God.”
How is this principle expressed by Jesus in Luke 12:34?
Principle Four: Worldly wealth is fleeting; heavenly treasure is eternal.
Luke 12:13-21 – “Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” 14 But he said to him, “Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?” 15 And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” 16 And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, 17 and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ 18 And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’ 20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ 21 So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”
What’s the take away from this parable?
Three Core Principles on Giving
Principle Five: Giving generously to the poor is a moral duty in a fallen world. Does God promise material abundance for all people in Scripture?
Instead, what does Scripture indicate to be expected in life, even for many followers of God? See Genesis 3:17-19 and Psalm 60:1-3.
What does Scripture say about the poor in the land and the appropriate response? See Deuteronomy 15:11. See also James 2:5-7, 14-17.
Principle Six: Giving should be voluntary, generous (even sacrificial), cheerful, and needs-based.
How do the following verses demonstrate the Biblical support for this principle?
When reading these verses, how do you see this principle followed (or lacking) in your life? And, how do you see this principle followed (or lacking) at your congregation?
Group 1 – 2 Corinthians 8:3, 9:7
Group 2 – Malachi 3:10, Proverbs 3:9-10, Luke 6:38
Group 3 – 1 Corinthians 9:3-14, 2 Corinthians 8:4-5, Acts 20:35, Matthew 25:31-45
Group 4 – 2 Corinthians 8:2-3, Philippians 4:17-18, Mark 12: 42-44
“How much should I give to be generous?” Is this question helpful? What can it imply about your relationship with God?
Instead of asking how much we should be giving to be generous, is there a better question we ask?
“Am I giving generously in such a way that _____________________________?” (The fill in the blank answer is in the part 3 video above.)
Principle Seven: Giving generously breaks the power of money over us.
1 Timothy 6:9 – “But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.”
Ecclesiastes 5:10 – “He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity.”
Luke 12:15 – “And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”
Where is your self-worth and value found?
Where is your contentment found?
“In a world where success is the measure and justification of all things… the figure of the [Christ] Crucified invalidates all thought which takes success for its standard.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer
First – What does God’s Word say about reading God’s Word?
Second – What are some proper steps to reading and understanding a Bible passage?
Four Principles for Reading God’s Word
- Since the Bible is God’s Word, it must be spiritually discerned.
1 Corinthians 2:12-14 – “Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. 13 And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.”
- Pray for wisdom in understanding God’s Word before reading and while reading!
James 1:5 – “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”
3. All Scripture testifies about Jesus, so seek Jesus in every text you read.
John 5:39-40 – “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.”
4. Scripture interprets Scripture.
1 Corinthians 14:32 – “The spirits of prophets are subject to prophets.”
Ten Steps to Reading and Understanding a Bible Passage
- Pray, asking for wisdom and to see Jesus in the passage.
- Biblical and Historical Setting
- Who wrote it?
- Who was it written to?
- When was it written?
- Why was it written?
- What historical people, dates, and places are named in the passage?
- Immediate Literary Context
- What precedes the passage?
- What comes after the passage?
- How does the passage fit into this immediate context?
- What purpose does the passage have within the immediate context?
- Historical and Cultural Context
- What historical events are explicitly or implicitly mentioned in the passage?
- What social and cultural norms are explicitly or implicitly mentioned in the passage?
- What doctrines are directly mentioned in the passage?
- What doctrines are indirectly mentioned in the passage?
- Parallel Passages
- What passages in the Bible contain the same or similar words or phrases?
- What passages in the Bible mention the same people, places, or events?
- What passages in the Bible reference the same doctrines?
- What passages in the Bible are being quoted, referenced, or alluded?
- Law Application
- What commands, demands, or expectations are directly stated in the passage?
- What commands, demands, or expectation are indirectly implied in the passage?
- How do those commands, demands, or expectations apply to myself and those in my life?
- What consequences for sin are named in this passage?
- What is stated in this passage about mankind’s sinful condition?
- Gospel Application
- What blessings and good promises of God are directly stated in the passage?
- What blessings and good promises of God are indirectly implied in the passage?
- How do these blessings and good promises of God apply to myself, those in my life, and to all people who have faith in Christ?
- Compare translations of the same passage.
- What is similar or the same within all of them?
- What is different and can different implications be drawn from these variant translations?
- Look at the Greek and Hebrew readings of the passage to see what is happening in the sections of the passage that have variant translations. Likely that section is difficult to translate into English, either due to words having multiple meanings in Greek and Hebrew or due to a part of speech or method of emphasis within the language that is not readily available in English.
- Word Studies
- Pick out a few words that seem important or central to the passage and see where else they appear in Scripture and how that word is used throughout the Bible.
- Use a Hebrew or Greek interlinear Bible to discover what the key or central words in Greek are and conduct a word study using a lexicon. See where else in Scripture that word appears and how it is translated differently or the same across the whole of God’s Word.
- Does one author use this word in one sense and another author use it in a different sense? Do these findings given guidance in understanding the meaning and use of the word in the passage at hand?
- How was this word used in secular Greek culture and writings?
A lady wants Scripture to share with her brother who from her perspective has rejected God and his siblings over a love of money and the sin of greed. The siblings in the family are all mostly in their retired years and have inherited the family farm. They rent the farm out to others to work and they make very little from this rent. Four of the siblings want to keep the farm in the family, but the one greedy brother who has made a large chunk of financial gain from another property sell wants to sell the farm. His desire to sell versus the desire of his other siblings has driven a great wedge in the family. The brother has increasingly become hostile towards the others and is even working deals with nephews and nieces behind the scenes looking forward to a future opportunity to make more money. This man is already in his 70s. It appears as if he is not attending Church anywhere now. His sister literally thinks he has rejected God for his love of money. The following are the verses and commentary I provided her to consider sharing:
Ecclesiastes 5:10 – “Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income. This too is meaningless.”
Your brother needs to realize that he will never be satisfied with the amount of wealth he has. Even if he sold the farm, it wouldn’t be enough.
What is he saving for? What are his goals? What is the point? To give a large chunk of change to his kids? What would be the meaning in that? What would give value to that? What would give such a gift to his kids eternal value? How will they responsibly use the money if they do not know the Lord, because he has not taught them the Lord and his ways?
Hebrews 13:5 – “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
He’s not content with what he has… he’s not content with you, his family! He has in fact lost his family due to his love of money that will never be satisfied.
Luke 12:15 – “Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”
What is most valuable in this life? Is stuff your life? Is money your life? If it is… that’s a very sad and empty life.
Matthew 6:24 – ““No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”
Is he serving Jesus with his money? Or is he serving himself? Who does he love?
Proverbs 13:11 – “Dishonest money dwindles away, but whoever gathers money little by little makes it grow.”
If the farm is sold it wouldn’t be dishonest, but to coerce and continue to badger and to cut off family members because he alone desires to sell the farm to get a big chunk of change is selfish and self-serving and self-seeking. That large stash he gains will little by little fade to nothing.
Proverbs 15:27 – “The greedy bring ruin to their households, but the one who hates bribes will live.”
What has he brought to his household through his love of money? What has he lost because of his greed? In his time of dying, who will be by his side? What has he cut off from his family by his greed?
Proverbs 28:25 – “The greedy stir up conflict, but those who trust in the LORD will prosper.”
He has stirred up much conflict within your family by his greed. Is he trusting in the money and not the Lord? What is he seeking after? If it’s not the Lord, he will whither and die!
Matthew 6:19-21 – ““Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
What he is storing up for himself will be stolen from him. What he has stored up will be destroyed. It will wear out. It is of this world which is destined for fire! Instead, he needs to seek the things of God of eternal merit and heaven. That is where his heart needs to be set.
Luther said that anything we love, trust, or fear above all else is our god, our idol! We all commit idolatry in some form or fashion. All sin is ultimately rooted in a falling short of trust in God, love in God, or fear in God. Some idolatry however is rejection of faith, a rejection of God! All idolatry if unrepented leads to death – eternal death – as the rejection of faith (a state of unbelief and unrepentance) is blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, the unforgivable sin.
He must repent, turn from his love of money and greed and turn to Jesus for forgiveness of his sins!
Matthew 16:26 – “What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?”
2 Peter 3:8-18 – “But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.
11 Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, 12 waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! 13 But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.
14 Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace. 15 And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, 16 as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures. 17 You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. 18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.”
This storytelling of Job was given as a sermon at Oak Road Lutheran Church in Lilburn, GA, on Father’s Day, 2021. The Scripture reading for the sermon was Job 38:1-5. Some of the dialog quotes come from the English Standard Version translation of the Bible or The Kingstone Bible.
Are you by chance friends with someone who is really rich? Are you friends with the richest person in Gwinnett for instance… a person who has everything they’d ever need or want in life… And he… or she… is actually a good friend of yours. And this uber rich person who is a good friend of yours is also just… good. He loves and worships the one true Lord – no can find any fault in him… and his kids are great too… the best kids you can imagine having. You probably don’t have a friend like that… you probably don’t hear about too many people like that either… rich and righteous.
Well, I have a friend like that. His name is Job and we’re from the land of Uz… about 4,000 years ago. We all lived around the same time as the patriarch, Father Abraham. I’m sure you’ve heard of him.
Job… He was a righteous man. He had 7 sons and 3 daughters. He owned 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, 500 female donkeys, and many, many servants. Job was the greatest of all the people in the East.
His sons used to go and hold big feasts in their homes on each of their birthdays, and their siblings would join in on the party. Job, always woke up early and made a sacrifice, an animal for each of his ten kids, at the end of these feasts, just in case his kids had partied to hard and moved into sin or if they cursed God in their hearts during their celebration.
After one of these offerings to the Lord… Job sees one of his servants from the field, bloody and bruised and coming to him on foot… the news was not good… it was horrible. The Sabeans stole all the oxen and donkeys and all the servants killed with the sword… that servant alone escaped.
While that servant was still speaking another servant came… a fire from heaven fell and burned up the sheep and the servants… they all were consumed except the one.
While that servant was still speaking yet another came… the Chaldeans formed three groups and raided the camel caravan… all the servants were killed and the camels stolen, except the one to return.
While that servant was still speaking… there came another servant… “Master, something horrible has happened.” “I know, all the servants are killed, all the livestock, killed or stolen.” “No, master, it’s something worse. Your sons and daughters were all at your oldest son’s house celebrating….” “I know, I know. What did you come to tell us?”
“A great wind came sir… it came and struck the house down… we looked through the rubble… we found everyone, but they were all…they were all…” He didn’t have to finish the sentence… we all knew.
After collapsing on the ground and wailing with his wife, Job rose… tore his rob and cut off his hair with a knife and he fell on the ground… and then he gave the greatest testimony of faith in God I’ve ever heard… after that whirlwind of devastating news, after the whirlwind of destruction that took everything but his wife and his life… Job laying on the ground said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed by the name of the Lord.”
In all of this, Job did not sin or charge God with wrong…. Amazing… All your business, all your income, all your employees, all your children… gone… and you don’t curse God???
Then while Job was in mourning, sitting in ashes he was struck with boils all over his body… he was in great pain and he grabbed a piece of broken pottery to scrape these sores. His wife then told him to curse God and die. He refused. He said that was foolishness. He said shall we receive good from God and shall we not receive evil? In all this, Job did not sin with his lips.
Job’s three friends, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar, came to Job from their own territories when they heard of his suffering and they were good friends to him… they came to show him sympathy and to comfort him. When they saw Job they couldn’t even recognize him… and they too wept and tore their robes and cast dust on their heads. They sat with Job for seven days, day and night. They did not speak a word to him for they saw that his suffering was very great.
After these seven days… Job cursed himself… he didn’t listen to his wife who told him to curse God. Instead, he cursed the day he was born and he wished for death. This is understandable… most of us would do this if we had suffered only a fraction of Job, or we would sin unlike Job by cursing God!
Eliphaz then spoke up… “When we went through hard times, Job, it was you who helped us out. You encouraged us to put our hope in God. Now where is your hope? Shouldn’t you have hope, if you are as sinless as you seem?”
Job, so faithful, his answer, “If I have no hope, it’s because I just don’t have the strength to hope.”
But Eliphaz didn’t take that word… he pushed Job. “Job, God does not punish or cut off innocent people! If you plow evil and sow trouble, what will you reap? Evil and trouble. You’ve done something to deserve this! Seek God. Be happy, for God has chosen to correct you!”
Happy? Yeah, right? Eliphaz was fortunate that Job didn’t punch him right in the nose or worse. Could you imagine telling a Holocaust survivor or survivor of any of the genocides of human history, you must have committed a particular sin to have caused your suffering? But, Job was a much better man than me.
Job… just shut Eliphaz down… “Be happy? My children are all dead. My body oozes with sores! And I have never doubted God or denied his words. Show me what I have done wrong!”
Eliphaz can’t point out his sin.
So Job turns to God, “What have I done? Why have you made me your target?” He then admitted his sinfulness, not a particular sin, but he did admit his sinfulness, and he asked that God would take away his iniquity!
Bildad then speaks and pours on more of what Eliphaz said… “Job, you must have done something wrong.” As does Zophar. “Repent. Repent. Repent.”
But Job… in great sarcasm, “No doubt when you three die, wisdom will die with you.”
Job corrects them – “Look at the world. Sometimes good men go hungry and thieves and thugs get rich and richer. No matter what God does, I will trust him. Though he slay me, I will hope in him.”
Again and again they went in circles… “Job you are being punished, the only question is what have you done? You know, but we don’t. God knows but we don’t.”
Finally, Job broke… and he began to justify himself, saying everything good he has ever done, and it’s more than any of us could ever list. And Job questions why this calamity has come upon him? Isn’t such disaster for the wicked. Why have you allowed this to happen to me, God?
This is when I, Elihu, finally spoke! I had had enough. I was the youngest and so I let my elder friends speak first and I listened, but they all had erred and I was angry with them all.
I rebuked Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar. All they did was argue with Job. They never proved him wrong. They just condemned him for some secret sin. Who are they to do that? They are not God. How do they know why he is suffering the way he is?”
I then had to rebuke Job… for he said, “That it profits a man nothing that he should take delight in God.” And he asked, “What advantage have I? How am I better off than if I had sinned?”
He began to argue the same way as our other friends… saying that his good deeds should have brought him good from God! Job finally broke and began to justify himself instead of simply trusting God.
I told him, “But look at the heavens! How high are they? They are certainly higher than you, Job. If you have sinned, what do you give to God? If you are righteous, what do you give to him? If you are righteous, what does he receive from you?”
“Job,” I said, “You complain against God for not answering you and explaining himself! But God does speak just not always as you expect or desire. He speaks and answers in a dream, in a vision, through your experiences, through pain, through punishment. When God punishes, it is to help us turn to him. We all deserve worse than we get. Are you anything like God, Job? The universe answers to him. He commands the lightening to go. He says when it is to rain and when it is to snow. We are to fear him in reverence and trust.”
God then spoke to Job out of the whirlwind… the very storm that took the life of his kids.
“Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?”
“Have you ever brought the morning light to break the dark of night?”
“Have you ever strolled through the depths of the sea?”
“Who is the dad of the rain?”
“Can you untie the Orion’s belt up there?”
“Can you tell me when mountain goats give birth or when does give birth to their calves?”
“Do you give the horse his great power?”
“Is it by your understanding that the hawk flies?”
“Answer me Job, you who argues with me.”
Job promised to keep his mouth shut, silenced. Remember God was speaking from whirlwind! And he continued to ask Job questions!
“Look at the Behemoth, can you take him by his eyes or pierce his nose?”
“Or the Leviathan – can you catch him on a fishhook? Can you make him your pet and put him on a leash or play with him like a bird?”
God never answered Job as to why he allowed all his suffering… but he revealed to Job what he needed to hear… God was telling him, “Trust me. I know what you do not.” Job learned that he did not have the wisdom of God, but that he could trust in God’s wisdom.
Job repented. And God forgave him.
God rebuked Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar for not speaking what was right about himself. And they made a sacrifice unto the Lord as God requested and Job prayed for their forgiveness and they were forgiven. The Lord restored Job’s fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before. And he had 7 more sons and 3 more daughters. And he lived for 140 more years. I told you we lived during the time of the patriarchs, right?
Why did it all happen? Was it to teach Job a lesson? Was it to teach his friends a lesson? Was it to teach all of you a lesson? Perhaps all of it, or more beyond our comprehension.
A lesson for you today is that God is always speaking, always calling out, “Trust Me.” “Trust Me.”
Trust God in your suffering! Trust God in your good fortunes. You may never understand why one suffers and someone else prospers. And that’s OK. There is much that you simply cannot understand because you are not God. Job represents all of humanity in that way.
You sit in a great time in history… you live after God has revealed his Son Jesus Christ in the flesh. What Job could not do to save himself, Jesus did for Job and for you. It is in the cross of Jesus that we see that even God has suffered, yet he has overcame all. And so trust in God. Trust in Jesus.
For fathers on Father’s Day… there is much that you do not understand and much that is completely out of your control in the lives of your kids – just like it was with Job. Pray for your kids like Job did. Pray that God would cover their sins and forgive their sins.
The quote by someone named Billy Graham on the back of your bulletin insert (not from my time, you may know him) stood out to me: “A good father is one of the most unsung, unpraised, unnoticed, and yet one of the most valuable assets in our society.” As you pray for your kids, pray also for yourself to be a good father. Ask the perfect Father who knows all beyond anything we can imagine for His wisdom in being a good father, and as you pray for your kids trust Him with their lives… that might be hard when we look at Job and what happened with his first ten kids. I pray that you never have to go through what my friend suffered… but as Job said, I hope you too can say in all situations, “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away, yet blessed be the name of the Lord.” The Lord is good. The Lord is just. Walk humbly and be good fathers as you trust in the perfect Father above. Amen.