A Balanced Biblical View of Money and Possessions: Book Review–Neither Poverty nor Riches

by Kent on March 15, 2013

Obviously your opinions on money and possessions affect the lifestyle you choose to live: all the things you buy, the amount of money you borrow, the car you drive, the clothes you wear, and how much you save and invest. More than that…

Your understanding and view of money and possessions affects career and marriage choices. Your viewpoints on personal finance and material possessions translates into how you parent your children, where you decide to live, and the clubs or fraternities you join. More than that…

What you believe about money, possessions and economics helps form your political opinions–whether you are Democratic, Republican, Libertarian, Socialist, or Independent. It heavily influences who you vote for, how you think we should help the poor, what you think we should do about financing entitlement programs and the defense, and whether we should support business start-ups and growth as well as the arts. More than that…

What you believe about money also influences how you think about it throughout the day, how much you are earning for the job you do, where you are going to spend money in the next few days, whether you will have enough to make ends meet. You think about the upcoming car replacements, vacation and retirement, your hopes and dreams for the future; and for your kids–their college and when they start families. Many people think about these things and money a lot, all throughout the day. More than that…

Your beliefs about money and possessions affect your religious viewpoints–the denomination you associate with and the church you decide to attend. Rightly or wrongly, for many it plays into how you view your own success, values, self esteem, worth and place in society. It influences your viewpoints on faith and how you think God is treating you.

If our beliefs about money and possessions affect so much about what we do and think, does it make any sense to ponder where they come from, and whether they are correct? Do we start with what our parents taught us, or are our beliefs formed by this consumer-based society or what we have come to know as “The American Dream”? Are they derived from our political or economic philosophies? Do they come from our religious denomination, from what various Bible teachers have taught us, or from some of the Bible verses we know about money? Maybe our beliefs and opinions come from a mix of all of these things–but how do we know what is really right? I have to say, for myself, that I often rely too much on my own personal experience to form my beliefs.

Where am I going with all of this? Well, let’s go back to the title of this post: “A Balanced Biblical View of Money and Possessions: Book Review–Neither Poverty nor Riches.” I was attracted to this book because a few years ago my pastor wisely reminded me that our beliefs and viewpoints should start not with our political or other bent, but with what the Bible teaches–whether that be about immigration, war, race, politics or even money, possessions and economics.

The Bible has over 2,000 verses about money, so it is difficult to sort them; finding Neither Poverty nor Riches: A Biblical Theology of Possessions has been very helpful to me. Craig L. Blomberg, a distinguished theologian and seminarian, has put together an excellent book for those who want to rethink their financial beliefs.

I like how the book covers many touchy subjects, such as prosperity, the poor, money, possessions, and wealth–all with balance and limited author bias. I enjoyed reading a fresh look at the marvelous things the Old Testament communicates and, perhaps more importantly, doesn’t communicate. In addition, I also enjoyed reading about the expanded light shown by what Jesus said.

This is a great book to read if you are interested in exploring more deeply what might be God’s thoughts on this important, delicate and far reaching subject. I encourage you readers and thinkers to work through this well researched and written book to help mold your beliefs and opinions, for it may cause you to be better stewards, voters, teachers, leaders, parents and citizens.

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