Neither Poverty nor Riches is a thorough and thoughtful book by Craig Blomberg as part of the New Studies in Biblical Theology series. It is an insightful survey through all parts of Scripture. We are currently in a preaching series on finances at Venture Church, and I thought it would be useful to highlight Blomberg’s closing summary. He closed with five conclusions, and later added an application to each point.
- “Material possessions are a good gift from God meant for his people to enjoy.” If wealth is a good gift, not an evil one, it’s ok to pursue it. As we understand the possessions to be a gift from God, however, we will want to share with those in need, particularly those with little control over their circumstances.
- “Material possessions are simultaneously one of the primary means of turning human hearts away from God.” Aware of this, giving of our possessions away guards us against the temptation to place too much value on our possessions.
- “A necessary sign of a life in the process of being redeemed is that of transformation in the area of stewardship.” Since generosity is characteristic of a Christ follower, we should see an increased desire to give. Eventually, generosity can become part of our nature.
- “There are certain extremes of wealth and poverty which are in and of themselves intolerable.” Therefore those with a surplus should work hard to help at least a few people in poverty.
- “The Bible’s teaching about material possessions is inextricably intertwined with more ‘spiritual’ matters.” The biblical ideal is holistic aid, both physical and spiritual needs, so we should give to organizations that reflect this ideal.
These concluding statements summarize Blomberg’s observations of how each part of Scripture teaches about money. This is obviously difficult to summarize with five statements and applications! These statements do, however, give a useful framework for understanding biblical instruction on finances.
To fully understand these statements, pick up the book here. In the meantime, dive into God’s Word and discover what it teaches about money. And join us this January as we investigate four passages from Scripture that focus on this important topic.