The Bible provides philosophical principles that can be applied to financial matters. Some may hear the word “Bible” and think only of rules regarding tithing. Still, you can find Bible verses about investing in the Old Testament and New Testament that provide lessons for those who want to avoid sinful investments.
All four of the following ways to follow Biblically responsible investment start with avoiding this first common shibboleth.
1. Not Charging Interest on Loans to Fellow Believers
“You shall not charge interest to your countrymen: interest on money, food, or anything that may be loaned at interest. You may charge a foreigner interest, but to your countrymen, you shall not charge interest.”
The above Bible verses about investing command believers not to charge each other interest on loans. Although the above verse does not specifically address investments, the principle is clear that Christians should help one another without profiting from their brethren’s needs.
2. Not Participating in the Wicked System of Usury
Psalm 37:21 says that the wicked may borrow the money and not payback, but the righteous is generous and gives. “Do not be a guarantor for debts; do not participate in activities that require you to be responsible for another person’s debt.”
Christian money managers do not separate investing and lending. This is why the biblical command against charging interest on loans to fellow believers applies to all investments, whether they are in stocks, bonds, or other financial instruments.
3. Avoiding Fraud
Luke 12:15 says that you should take care and remain on your guard against covetousness. That’s because your life does not consist in the abundance of what you possess.
Fraud is an integral part of many kinds of investments. Whether you are talking about a Ponzi scheme or a Madoff-type fraud, many investments rely on a lie to make their returns appear legitimate. Many products also encourage people to buy them, assuming that rising prices will lead to higher future returns. While these rising prices may make shares more valuable, they do not change the cash going into an investor’s pocket.
The Bible shows that it is wrong to steal, but some investments may also be unwise. Whether or not Christian investors should invest in something is ultimately an ethical decision about spending their money, but choosing unwise investments can lead someone away from God.
4. Considering the Source
“Give everyone what you owe him, whether it is taxes, revenue, respect, or honor.” (Romans 13:7)
Some investments may seem ethical because they are associated with a religious organization. For example, many churches encourage members to invest in the church’s stock or other securities rather than leaving their money at a bank or a brokerage firm. However, a church’s reputation does not make an investment any more ethical.
When Christians invest, the Bible teaches that you should help one another and avoid fraud. You can participate in many kinds of investments without doing these things. To ensure making the right decision, consider where your money comes from and evaluate whether it will lead you toward or away from God.