I am excited to start the first Money Bible Study (MBS) on the book of Luke. Instead of arbitrarily taking bible verses out of context, a bible study that goes through an entire book will give us a clearer understanding of Money in the greater backdrop of the Gospel message. Additionally, a book study will help us avoid the danger of twisting the meaning of verses beyond the intention of the author. That said, this blog will also discuss popular verses on the topic of money while avoiding the previously mentioned pitfalls.
There are a variety of statistics about the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) and money, some say that 11 of the 39 parables and one out of every seven verses of Jesus are about money Another source says that 16 of the 38 parables and 1 out of every 10 verses in the gospels are about money. The difference in the number of total parables is probably because some parables are disputed, regardless, Jesus does mention money often.
I encourage you to read the book of Luke with me and share your insights as we come across applicable verses. However, we must be careful not to interpret everything in the perspective of money. We must rid of the dollar signs in our eyes and avoid twisting the original meaning of the text. Many chapters will not mention money at all, however we may still be able to find biblical principles and values which will help us understand Christian finance.
Luke, Chapter 1:1-38
This verse is a great foundation on how we should approach our MBS. Much of our lives are about investing in attractive endeavors, these can range from going to college to preparing for retirement. However, investing is not only done with money but with time, energy, and attention.
At the end of our lives we will look back and realize that some of our investments brought fruitful returns while others fell into ruin. Everyone wants to invest in endeavors that won’t fail and give significant returns. But is the saying, “High risk, high reward,” really true?
The commonly believed relationship with risk and return is not necessarily true according to this study done by Andrew Stotz. To briefly summarize the study, Stotz followed 10 portfolios of differing beta over a twenty year period from 1994 to 2015. By annually switching to the portfolios that had the three lowest beta-deciles, they were able to out-perform the market. However, the portfolios that had the three highest beta-deciles under-performed.
To have low risk and high returns, isn’t that what everyone wants? But here it is, revealed to all mankind in Luke 1:37, God’s word will never fail! God’s word has no risk, but promises the greatest reward! Gabriel says the most ludicrous statements and follows that up with “God’s word will never fail!” Mary is a virgin but she will give birth? Elizabeth is beyond child-bearing age, not to mention that she’s been barren all her life! Yet, even the most unbelievable of all the promises in the bible, God’s word will never fail!
The book of Luke is the word of God, and the truths that we will gain from it will never fail us. The word of God is worth investing everything into, there is no other investment that will give returns coming anywhere close. How do I know this? Because the word of God tells us the fate of all other investments, they are all chasing after the wind (Ecclesiastes 1:14).
May we have the faith like Mary to say, “I am the Lord’s servant, May your word to [us] be fulfilled.”
Father, you called John the Baptist great in your sight (1:15) and Mary as someone you highly favor (1:28), yet the world seeks to convince us that to be great and to be favored by God is to be rich. Forgive us for often buying into this lie, for seeing money as the source of stability and happiness. Allow us to trust that your word will never fail, and to believe that you reward those who seek you (Hebrews 11:6)!