For the last month or so, I’ve been reading Proverbs during my morning devotions. It contains so much wisdom — it never fails to inspire me and challenge my thinking! And although I’ve read Proverbs many, many times before, it’s never struck me until this time around just how. many. times. the book addresses money matters. Since this is a financial blog, I thought it would be a fun and enlightening exercise to round up the book’s verses on wealth/money management and group them by category.
As I was doing this round up, a few things surprised me — Proverbs only has 31 chapters, but I counted 120 verses that referenced money management, business practices, and/or the inherent value of monetary wealth — and I probably missed some! That’s A LOT of financial advice. As I was collecting the verses, I thought that for the most part they fell naturally into one of twelve categories. If you’re interested in the exact tally for each of my categories, here it is:
- Work faithfully and consistently: 26 verses
- Act with integrity: 18 verses
- Wisdom, insight and understanding are more valuable than monetary wealth: 17 verses
- Use your resources (money, possessions, time, knowledge) wisely: 12 verses
- Be wary of debt and avoid guaranteeing someone else’s debt: 10 verses
- Live generously: 10 verses
- Don’t place your trust in money: 10 verses
- Wealth is useful: 7 verses
- Know when to stop [working]: 2 verses
- A good reputation is more valuable than monetary wealth: 2 verses
- Honor God with your wealth: 1 verse
- Be cautious of extreme wealth and extreme poverty: 1 verse
I learned so much from doing this exercise — for now I’ll share just two thoughts:
- Out of the 120 verses, most of them (by a good margin) fell under the category of “work faithfully and consistently.” By contrast, using your resources wisely was the fourth largest category. The focus of this blog is on the latter category (i.e. spending less and spending wisely) — but the fact the Proverbs focuses so strongly on working hard (i.e. earning power) makes me wonder if perhaps I should broaden the focus down the road.
- I also found it compelling that the majority of the verses of the Proverbs 31 wife relate to stewardship, money management and business matters. What an inspiring call for us as women to to be engaged and active in our household finances!
As a side note, I believe that all of our resources belong to God, so I think it’s crucial for us to pray and talk with God about how He would like us to steward the money He’s given to us. If you’re a Christ follower, I encourage you to have a prayerful attitude as you read over these verses.
Honor God with your wealth.
Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine. — Proverbs 3: 9-10.
Work consistently and faithfully…
Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest. How long will you lie there, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man. — Proverbs 6:6-11
A slack hand causes poverty, but the hand of the diligent makes rich. — Proverbs 10: 4
Whoever is slothful will not roast his game, but the diligent man will get precious wealth. — Proverbs 12:27
A sluggard’s appetite is never filled, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied. — Proverbs 13:4
Wealth gained hastily will dwindle, but whoever gathers little by little will increase it.– Proverbs 13:11
All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty. — Proverbs 14:23
An inheritance gained hastily in the beginning will not be blessed in the end. — Proverbs 20:21
Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty. — Proverbs 21:5
A faithful man will abound with blessings, but whoever hastens to be rich will not go unpunished. — Proverbs 28:20
A stingy man hastens after wealth and does not know that poverty will come upon him. — Proverbs 28:22
Be not among drunkards or among gluttonous eaters of meat, for the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, and slumber will clothe them with rags. — Proverbs 23:20-21
A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man. — Proverbs 24:33-34
Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows worthless pursuits will have plenty of poverty. — Proverbs 28:19
She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family and portions for her female servants. — Proverbs 31:13-15
She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. — Proverbs 31:17-18
She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. –Proverbs 31:27
… But know when to stop.
The blessing of the Lord brings wealth, without painful toil for it. — Proverbs 10:22
Do not toil to acquire wealth; be discerning enough to desist. When your eyes light on it, it is gone, for suddenly it sprouts wings, flying like an eagle toward heaven. –Proverbs 23:4-5
Act with with integrity.
Such are the ways of everyone who is greedy for unjust gain; it takes away the life of its possessors. — Proverbs 1:19
Treasures gained by wickedness do not profit. — Proverbs 10: 2
The Lord detests the use of dishonest scales, but he delights in accurate weights. — Proverbs 11: 1
A wicked person earns deceptive wages, but the one who sows righteousness reaps a sure reward. — Proverbs 11:18
Dishonest money dwindles away. — Proverbs 13:11
Whoever is greedy for unjust gain troubles his own household, but he who hates bribes will live. — Proverbs 15:27
A just balance and scales are the Lord’s; all the weights in the bag are his work. — Proverbs 16:11
A bribe is seen as a charm by the one who gives it; they think success will come at every turn. — Proverbs 17:8
The wicked accepts a bribe in secret to pervert the ways of justice. –Proverbs 17:23
Bread gained by deceit is sweet to a man, but afterward his mouth will be full of gravel. — Proverbs 20:17
Unequal weights are an abomination to the Lord, and false scales are not good. — Proverbs 20:23
The getting of treasures by a lying tongue is a fleeting vapor and a snare of death. — Proverbs 21:6
Whoever oppresses the poor to increase his own wealth, or gives to the rich, will only come to poverty. –Proverbs 22:16
Do not rob the poor, because he is poor, or crush the afflicted at the gate, for the Lord will plead their cause and rob of life those who rob them. — Proverbs 22:22-23
Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity than a rich man who is crooked in his ways. — Proverbs 28:6
Whoever increases wealth by taking interest or profit from the poor amasses it for another, who will be kind to the poor. — Proverbs 28:8
Whoever robs his father or his mother and says, “That is no transgression,” is a companion to a man who destroys. — Proverbs 28:24
Wisdom, insight and understanding are more valuable than monetary wealth.
Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding, for the gain from her is better than gain from silver and her profit better than gold. She is more precious than jewels, and nothing you desire can compare with her. — Proverbs 3:13-15
Take my instruction instead of silver, and knowledge rather than choice gold, for wisdom is than jewels, and all that you may desire cannot compare with her. — Proverbs 8:10-11
I, wisdom, dwell with prudence, and I find knowledgebe and discretion. The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate. I have counsel and sound wisdom; I have insight; I have strength. By me kings reign, and rulers decree what is just; by me princes rule, and nobles, all who govern justly. I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me. Riches and honor are with me, enduring wealth and righteousness. My fruit is better than gold, even fine gold, and my yield than choice silver. I walk in the way of righteousness, in the paths of justice, granting an inheritance to those who love me, and filling their treasuries. — Proverbs 8:12-21
How much better to get wisdom than gold! To get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver. — Proverbs 16:16
There is gold and abundance of costly stones, but the lips of knowledge are a precious jewel. –Proverbs 20:15
Use your resources (money, possessions, time, knowledge) wisely.
The earnings of the godly enhance their lives, but evil people squander their money on sin. — Proverbs 10:16
One pretends to be rich, yet has nothing; another pretends to be poor, yet has great wealth. — Proverbs 13:7
Poverty and disgrace come to him who ignores instruction, but whoever heeds reproof is honored. – Proverbs 13:18
A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, but the sinner’s wealth is laid up for the righteous. — Proverbs 13:22
Why should a fool have money in his hand to buy wisdom when he has no sense? — Proverbs 17:16
Poverty and disgrace come to him who ignores instruction, but whoever heeds reproof is honored. — Proverbs 13:18
It is not fitting for a fool to live in luxury, much less for a slave to rule over princes. — Proverbs 19:10
Whoever loves pleasure will be a poor man; he who loves wine and oil will not be rich. — Proverbs 21:17
Precious treasure and oil are in a wise man’s dwelling, but a foolish man devours it. — Proverbs 21:20
Know well the condition of your flocks, and give attention to your herds, for riches do not last forever; and does a crown endure to all generations? — Proverbs 27:23-24
She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. — Proverbs 31:16
Be wary of debt and avoid guaranteeing someone else’s debt.
My child, if you have put up security for a friend’s debt or agreed to guarantee the debt of a stranger— if you have trapped yourself by your agreement and are caught by what you said—follow my advice and save yourself, for you have placed yourself at your friend’s mercy. Now swallow your pride; go and beg to have your name erased. Don’t put it off; do it now! Don’t rest until you do.–Proverbs 6:1-4
There’s danger in putting up security for a stranger’s debt; it’s safer not to guarantee another person’s debt. — Proverbs 11:15
It’s poor judgment to guarantee another person’s debt or put up security for a friend.– Proverbs 17:18
Take a man’s garment when he has put up security for a stranger, and hold it in pledge when he puts up security for foreigners. — Proverbs 20:16
The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender. — Proverbs 22:7
Be not one of those who give pledges, who put up security for debts. If you have nothing with which to pay, why should your bed be taken from under you? — Proverbs 22:26-27
Give freely and become more wealthy; be stingy and lose everything. The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed. People curse those who hoard their grain, but they bless the one who sells in time of need. — Proverbs 11: 24-26
Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed. — Proverbs 19:17
Whoever has a bountiful eye will be blessed, for he shares his bread with the poor. — Proverbs 22:9
Do not eat the bread of a man who is stingy; do not desire his delicacies, for he is like one who is inwardly calculating. “Eat and drink!” he says to you, but his heart is not with you. Proverbs 23:6-7
Whoever multiplies his wealth by interest and profit gathers it for him who is generous to the poor. — Proverbs 28:8
Whoever gives to the poor will not want, but he who hides his eyes will get many a curse. — Proverbs 28:27
She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. — Proverbs 31:20
Wealth is useful…
The wealth of the rich is their fortified city, but poverty is the ruin of the poor. — Proverbs 10:15
A person’s riches may ransom their life, but the poor cannot respond to threatening rebukes. –Proverbs 13:8
The poor is disliked even by his neighbor, but the rich has many friends. — Proverbs 14:20
The wealth of the wise is their crown. — Proverbs 14:24
Wealth brings many new friends, but a poor man is deserted by his friend. — Proverbs 19:4
Many seek the favor of a generous man, and everyone is a friend to a man who gives gifts. All a poor man’s brothers hate him; how much more do his friends go far from him! He pursues them with words, but does not have them. — Proverbs 19:6-7
… But don’t place your trust in money.
Riches won’t help on the day of judgement. — Proverbs 11:4
A kindhearted woman gains honor, but ruthless men gain only wealth. — Proverbs 11:16
Trust in your money and down you go! — Proverbs 11:24
The ransom of a man’s life is his wealth, but a poor man hears no threat. — Proverbs 13:8
Better a little with fear of the Lord than great treasure and trouble with it. — Proverbs 15:16
A rich man’s wealth is his strong city, and like a high wall in his imagination. — Proverbs 18:11
Rich and poor have this in common: The Lord is the Maker of them all. –Proverbs 22:2
The reward for humility and fear of the Lord is riches and honor and life. — Proverbs 22:4
A rich man is wise in his own eyes, but a poor man who has understanding will find him out. — Proverbs 28:11
A greedy man stirs up strife, but the one who trusts in the Lord will be enriched. — Proverbs 28:25
A good reputation is more valuable than monetary wealth.
A kindhearted woman gains honor, but ruthless men gain only wealth — Proverbs 11:16
A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold. — Proverbs 22:1
Be cautious of extreme wealth and extreme poverty.
Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God. — Proverbs 30:8-9