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The Biblical Teaching of Giving, Savings and Debt
"The earth is the Lord’s and all it contains, The world, and those who dwell in it." Psalms 24:1

God calls on Christians to be good stewards for the things He has given us. He placed us here to care for all of the earth’s resources. As the verse from Psalms 24 above says, this involves everything—including our finances. The idea of financial stewardship covers three major areas: Giving, Savings, and Debt.

Giving
The concept of giving begins with our attitude toward His work. Giving out of feelings of guilt, fear, obligation (tithe), or to show our own goodness hinders God’s ability to give to us. God has never “needed” our money. He wants to bless us for our faithfulness in acting as His stewards. Giving financially to God’s work is one way that our faith in Him can be expressed. Another attitude that Paul discusses in the New Testament is one of contentment (or freedom). During times of abundance and times of scarcity, Paul was content:

"Not that I speak from want; for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me."
Philippians 4:11-13

Savings
The Bible communicates the wisdom of saving money. Yet there can be wrong motives behind saving money. Some of the most common wrong motives include:
• saving money as a measure of success
• feelings of security from wealth
• love of money
• personal esteem and self-worth

Biblical Position on Giving, Savings, and Debt

Introduction

Needs and Desires

The Debt Trap

The Ease of Debt Growth

Debt Repayment

The True Cost of Debt

Plotting Financial Goals

Gifts Given Record

Debt Records

Statement of Net Worth

Monthly Income Statement

Monthly Cash Flow Recording Sheet

Percentage Guide

Income Graph

Where Do We Go From Here?

Biblical Guidelines

Financial Objectives

Glossary of Terms

Reference List & Acknowledgements

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Download a PDF version of the Personal Finance Workbook.

We do not trust God when we save money based on one of the motives above. When accumulation of money gives us a feeling of security or pride, it is contrary to the biblical teaching in Matthew 6:19-21 and Philippians 4:19. The Bible gives few commandments about saving money. It does, however, give us some principles and guidelines for saving. Examining the verses mentioned above in Matthew and Philippians alone might cause you to feel that saving money is not necessary. After all, won’t God provide for our every need? Indeed he will, but there is a level of responsibility and wisdom in a savings plan. Proverbs 21:20 and Proverbs 13:11 suggest the wisdom of a savings plan for every family budget.

How do we implement the purposeful saving of funds in our daily lives and personal budgets?

First, there must be a commitment to spend less than you earn and stop all deficit spending. You will never have enough money unless you can currently live on what you earn. A dollar spent is gone forever—it can never be used in the future. Saving and giving are the only non-consumptive uses of money. Second, it is important to realize that our true significance, sense of self-worth, and fulfillment in life is the result of our relationship with God. Never try to buy what only God can give you.

Debt
“The borrower becomes the lenders slave.” This is not a new slogan, but rather Scripture written over 2,500 years ago by Solomon (Proverbs 22:7). The enslavement to debt is one of the biggest obstacles to financial freedom. The Bible does not specifically prohibit the use of credit, but warns us of its dangers including:

1) It often presumes future income to fund today’s lifestyle. Scripture warns us against presumptuous living (James 4:13-16).

2) It can enable us to fund some of our sin areas (e.g., greed, self-indulgence, impatience, fear, poor self-esteem, envy, or discontentment. See 1 Timothy 6:6-10).

3) It is very deceptive—it is very easy to get into, but very difficult to get out of.

4) There are consequences within the world system (kosmos) and our Christian walk when we are obligated to repay credit.

Many Christians use credit to meet perceived needs and block God’s demonstration of His faithfulness to meet our real needs. Who better to meet our real needs than our Creator (Matthew 6:31-43,7:10).

Most people have to use debt financing to pay for a house or to pay their way through college; we believe that these expenditures do not violate being good stewards of God’s resources. Think carefully about your decisions to borrow money and evaluate your options in light of the Bible.

Don’t let excessive debt ruin the freedom God wants you to experience in the financial area. Top

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