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