Proverbs: The Way of Wisdom

Day 25: Debt, Wealth, and Poverty

If you’re just joining us, welcome. You’ll find a short introduction to the Proverbs reading plan on Day 1.

Section Four. Work and Wealth: Wisdom concerning our material world

This week’s proverbs will turn our attention to biblical wisdom concerning how we interact with the material world. We’ll explore the topics of diligence and laziness, justice, generosity and gluttony, wealth and poverty, and good versus evil.

Day Twenty-Five: Debt, Wealth, and Poverty 

Money is more than a means to buy the things we need. It is power, and it always has been. This is why the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil (1 Timothy 6:10): it is the love of being able to wield power for our own benefit.

There is nothing inherently sinful about being wealthy. The Lord gave King Solomon great wealth. And He continues to do this, using the generosity of His people to fund important works of mercy and justice around the world. But God’s people are called to be very careful when it comes to the pursuit and use of wealth, and very generous when it comes to caring for the poor.

Consider the principles of debt, wealth, and poverty raised in these proverbs.

Proverbs 6:1-5
6 My son, if you have put up security for your neighbor
or entered into an agreement with a stranger,
2 you have been trapped by the words of your lips—
ensnared by the words of your mouth.
3 Do this, then, my son, and free yourself,
for you have put yourself in your neighbor’s power:
Go, humble yourself, and plead with your neighbor.
4 Don’t give sleep to your eyes
or slumber to your eyelids.
5 Escape like a gazelle from a hunter,
like a bird from a fowler’s trap.

Proverbs 11:15
If someone puts up security for a stranger,
he will suffer for it,
but the one who hates such agreements is protected.

Proverbs 22:26-27
Don’t be one of those who enter agreements,
who put up security for loans.
27 If you have no money to pay,
even your bed will be taken from under you.


Q. Have you ever financially over-extended yourself? If so, what did that experience teach you? 

Q. Isn’t it interesting that the Bible speaks about co-signing for someone else’s loan, or “putting up security for a stranger”? How would you summarize the wise counsel given in these proverbs concerning co-signing? 

Q. What is the wise counsel from these verses concerning debt? What does teaching about debt have to do with living in the freedom of the gospel?

Wealth and Poverty
Proverbs 6:10-11
10 A little sleep, a little slumber,
a little folding of the arms to rest,
11 and your poverty will come like a robber,
your need, like a bandit.

Proverbs 13:7
One man pretends to be rich but has nothing;
another pretends to be poor but has great wealth.

Proverbs 18:23
The poor man pleads,
but the rich one answers roughly.

Proverbs 20:21
An inheritance gained prematurely
will not be blessed ultimately.

Proverbs 22:1-2, 4
1 A good name is to be chosen over great wealth;
favor is better than silver and gold.
2 The rich and the poor have this in common:
the Lord made them both.
4 The result of humility is fear of the Lord,
along with wealth, honor, and life.


Q. Read Proverbs 13:7. If you were given a million dollars, would you be more likely to blow it on excess or bury it in the ground? What does your answer reveal about your view of wealth? Your view of God? 

Q. Look at Proverbs 20:21. What do you think is behind our fascination with gaining instant wealth? 

Q. Being as honest with yourself as you can be, do you think you are a person who easily sees the poverty in and around you? Why is poverty so difficult to see?

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