Wednesday 13 May 2009

Paul Mills on the Bible and Money

Paul Mills, The Bible and Money: Managing One’s Money in the End Times (Jubilee Centre, May 2009).

The Jubilee Centre has made available a 25-page eight-week Bible study course designed to help develop a biblical understanding of money and how we should use it. It covers the following topics.

1. Possessions and money – who does the possessing?

• God’s ownership – whose money is it anyway?
• Materialism, asceticism, Prosperity Gospel – how not to view money.
• Eternal priorities: what to use money for – the Kingdom, relationships, contentment.

Practical applications: living out God’s ownership; establishing financial goals.

2. Stewardship – for whom, for what, and when?

• The meaning and implications of stewardship. Responsibilities within marriage and family.
• Time – what assumptions about the future do we live by?

Practical applications: budgeting basics; living within a budget; money in marriage and family.

3. Giving – the real investment

• Principles for giving – attitude; the spiritual battle of giving.
• The status of ‘tithing’ in the New Testament? How much to give?

Practical applications: how to prioritise giving; giving and tax; deciding whom to give to.

4. Borrowing, lending, and debt – true ‘freedom’?

• Debt as a serious obligation and financial ‘slavery’. Relational lending.
• Charging and paying interest – what does the Bible really say?

Practical applications: practical decisions over borrowing (e.g., mortgage vs. renting); coping with debt problems; how to become debt-free.

5. Saving and insurance – what does the future hold?

• Should Christians save? If so, for what purposes?
• Providing for dependents – savings or life insurance?

Practical applications: how to save prudently; lifecycle saving; how much is ‘enough’?

6. Investments and gambling – where should God’s money go?

• What to invest in and how? When does saving become hoarding? Ethical investment.
• Attitudes to risk and work – gambling; investment.

Practical applications: the basics of stock investment; how to invest ethically; coping with gambling addiction.

7. Tax, pensions, and estate planning – when the end is nigh?

• The legitimacy of tax? What form should it take?
• Motives for pension saving and leaving a legacy.

Practical applications: making a will; filling in the tax form.

8. Church finances – nine marks of a healthy church budget

• The financial goals of the church; selection and accountability of officeholders.
• Stewardship of resources; adequate pay of staff.

Practical applications: setting a church budget; church borrowing?; financial member care.

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