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God created the material world and gave it to the people of the world for their enjoyment (Genesis 1:26; Genesis 2:16; 1 Timothy 4:4). But people are always in danger if misusing God’s gifts. Although both Old and New Testaments state that wealth may be a gift from God that a person should enjoy (Ecclesiastes 5:19; 1 Timothy 6:17), the statement in each case is preceded by a warning of the danger of misuse (Ecclesiastes 5:10; 1 Timothy 6:10).

Wealth is not necessarily a sign of divine reward for godliness. In some cases it may be (Deuteronomy 28:1-6; Psalms 112:1-3; 2 Corinthians 9:10-11), but in others it may have resulted from greed or injustice (Isaiah 3:14-15; James 5:1-6; Revelation 3:17).

One danger of wealth is that it gives such a feeling of independence that people may not trust God as they should (Deuteronomy 8:17-18; Psalms 10:3; Psalms 52:7; Proverbs 18:11; Proverbs 28:11; Mark 10:23; 1 Timothy 6:17). Some people become so concerned with making themselves rich that their wealth becomes a god. Only by getting rid of it can they find eternal life (Matthew 6:24; Matthew 13:22; Matthew 19:16; Matthew 19:21-22). Although Jesus did not tell all his followers to get rid of their wealth, he warned of the consequences of putting the desire for wealth before devotion to God or concern for others (Matthew 6:19-21; Luke 12:16-21; Luke 16:19-25).

Christians have to be alert constantly to the dangers associated with money, as the desire for it can lead to spiritual ruin (Proverbs 11:28; 1 Timothy 6:9-10). They should be satisfied with what they have and trust in God’s care for them through life’s varied circumstances (Matthew 6:33; Luke 12:15; Philippians 4:11-12; Hebrews 13:5).

The Bible does not always condemn wealth, for the wealthy can help others by their generous giving (Deuteronomy 15:1-11; Matthew 27:57-60; Luke 12:33; Luke 16:9-13; Acts 4:36-37; Acts 20:35; 2 Corinthians 8:14; 2 Corinthians 9:6-7; 1 Timothy 6:17-19; see GIVING). But the Bible consistently condemns luxury, for it combines self-centred extravagance with indifference for others (Isaiah 5:8-12; Amos 6:4-6; Luke 6:24-25; Luke 16:19; James 5:1-5).

People who use their wealth to gain power are also condemned, particularly when they oppress people who have no way of resisting them (Jeremiah 22:13-17; Amos 4:1; Amos 5:11-12; Micah 2:1-2; James 2:6; James 5:1-6; see POOR). Christians, by contrast, should follow the example of Jesus and put other people’s interests before their own (2 Corinthians 8:9; Philippians 2:4-8).

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Fleming, Don. Entry for 'Wealth'. Bridgeway Bible Dictionary. 2004.

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