What The Bible Says About Honesty And The Love Of Money

This page contains Bible quotes which basically give the message that people ought to be caring with money, not being greedy with it, but having a concern to increase the well-being of others with it.

Near the beginning of the Gospels, the Bible says:

Luke chapter 3 (TEV)

2 The word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the desert. 3 So John went throughout the whole territory of the Jordan River, preaching, "Turn away from your sins and be baptized, and God will forgive your sins."
8 Do those things that will show that you have turned from your sins.

10 The people asked him, "What are we to do, then?"

11 He answered, "Whoever has two shirts must give one to the man who has none, and whoever has food must share it."

12 Some tax collectors came to be baptized, and they asked him, "Teacher, what are we to do?"

13 "Don't collect more than is legal," he told them.

14 Some soldiers also asked him, "What about us? What are we to do?"

He said to them, "Don't take money from anyone by force or accuse anyone falsely. Be content with your pay."

15 People's hopes began to rise, and they began to wonder whether John perhaps might be the Messiah. 16 So John said to all of them, "I baptize you with water, but someone is coming who is much greater than I am. I am not good enough even to untie his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 17 He has his winnowing shovel with him, to thresh out all the grain and gather the wheat into his barn; but he will burn the chaff in a fire that never goes out."

John chapter 1 (NLT)

29 John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look! There is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

Luke chapter 3 (NLT)

23 Jesus was about thirty years old when he began his public ministry.

Matthew chapter 4 (TEV)

13 He ... went to live in Capernaum, a town by Lake Galilee, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali.

Matthew chapter 4 (NLT)

14 This fulfilled Isaiah's prophecy: 15 "In the land of Zebulun and of Naphtali, beside the sea, beyond the Jordan River - in Galilee where so many Gentiles live - 16 the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light. And for those who lived in the land where death casts its shadow, a light has shined."

17 From then on, Jesus began to preach, "Turn from your sins and turn to God, because the Kingdom of Heaven is near.

Later in the gospels, the Bible says:

Matthew chapter 9 (NLT)

35 Jesus traveled through all the cities and villages of that area, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And wherever he went, he healed people of every sort of disease and illness. 36 He felt great pity for the crowds that came, because their problems were so great and they didn't know where to go for help. They were like sheep without a shepherd.

Luke chapter 18 (TEV)

18 A Jewish leader asked Jesus, "Good Teacher, what must I do to receive eternal life?"

19 "Why do you call me good?" Jesus asked him. "No one is good except God alone. 20 You know the commandments:

21 The man replied, "Ever since I was young, I have obeyed all these commandments."

22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, "There is still one more thing you need to do. Sell all you have and give the money to the poor, and you will have riches in heaven; then come and follow me."

23 But when the man heard this, he became very sad, because he was very rich. 24 Jesus saw that he was sad and said, "How hard it is for rich people to enter the Kingdom of God! 25 It is much harder for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God than for a camel to go through the eye of a needle."

26 The people who heard him asked, "Who, then, can be saved?"

27 Jesus answered, "What is humanly impossible is possible for God."

Luke chapter 12 (CEV)

22 Jesus said to his disciples: I tell you not to worry about your life! Don't worry about having something to eat or wear. 23 Life is more than food or clothing. 24 Look at the crows! They don't plant or harvest, and they don't have storehouses or barns. But God takes care of them. You are much more important than any birds.
25 Can worry make you live longer? 26 If you don't have power over small things, why worry about everything else?
27 Look how the wild flowers grow! They don't work hard to make their clothes. But I tell you that Solomon with all his wealth wasn't as well clothed as one of these flowers. 28 God gives such beauty to everything that grows in the fields, even though it is here today and thrown into a fire tomorrow. Won't he do even more for you? You have such little faith!
29 Don't keep worrying about having something to eat or drink. 30 Only people who don't know God are always worrying about such things. Your Father knows what you need.
31 But put God's work first, and these things will be yours as well.

You may think this is an extreme way of looking at things. It is. In Jesus' culture, extreme language was often used to emphasise a point. Everyone would have known it wasn't to be taken literally, but was being used to stress the importance of some general principle being talked about. For instance, Jesus said it was impossible to serve both God and money, saying someone with two masters will love one and hate the other. It's doubtful that their feelings would actually be that extreme. Jesus was using exaggeration to stress the point that they will have conflicting loyalties. The use of such extreme language would have served to aid remembrance of what was being taught, in an age before it was easy to just write it down - most people not knowing how to read and write, and writing material being much less widely available. For more on this kind of thing, see: Does Luke 14:26 teach literal hate?

Jesus said:

Luke chapter 12 (NLT)

32 "So don't be afraid, little flock. For it gives your Father great happiness to give you the Kingdom.

33 "Sell what you have and give to those in need. This will store up treasure for you in heaven! And the purses of heaven have no holes in them. Your treasure will be safe - no thief can steal it and no moth can destroy it. 34 Wherever your treasure is, there your heart and thoughts will also be.

Matthew chapter 19 (NLT)

27 Then Peter said to him, "We've given up everything to follow you. What will we get out of it?" 28 And Jesus replied, "I assure you that when I, the Son of Man, sit upon my glorious throne in the Kingdom, you who have been my followers will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or property, for my sake, will receive a hundred times as much in return and will have eternal life. 30 But many who seem to be important now will be the least important then, and those who are considered least here will be the greatest then.

Later in the New Testament, the Bible instructs Christians:

1 John chapter 2 (TEV)

15 Do not love the world or anything that belongs to the world. If you love the world, you do not love the Father. 16 Everything that belongs to the world-what the sinful self desires, what people see and want, and everything in this world that people are so proud of-none of this comes from the Father; it all comes from the world. 17 The world and everything in it that people desire is passing away; but those who do the will of God live forever.

1 Timothy chapter 6 (NLT)

7 After all, we didn't bring anything with us when we came into the world, and we certainly cannot carry anything with us when we die. 8 So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content. 9 But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is at the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.

In the Book of Proverbs, the Bible says:

Proverbs chapter 12 (TEV)

9 It is better to be an ordinary person working for a living than to play the part of someone great but go hungry.

Proverbs chapter 28 (NLT)

22 A greedy person tries to get rich quick, but it only leads to poverty.

Proverbs chapter 15 (TEV)

27 Try to make a profit dishonestly, and you get your family in trouble. Don't take bribes and you will live longer.

Proverbs chapter 16 (NLT)

11 The LORD demands fairness in every business deal; he sets the standard.

In Paul's letter to the Colossian Christians in the New Testament, the Bible says:

Colossians chapter 3 (NLT)

5 Don't be greedy for the good things of this life, for that is idolatry. 9 Don't lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old evil nature and all its wicked deeds. 10 In its place you have clothed yourselves with a brand-new nature that is continually being renewed as you learn more and more about Christ, who created this new nature within you.

In the Book of Proverbs, the Bible says:

Proverbs chapter 28 (TEV)

6 Better to be poor and honest than rich and dishonest.

Proverbs chapter 11 (TEV)

5 Honesty makes a good person's life easier, but the wicked will cause their own downfall. 6 Righteousness rescues those who are honest, but those who can't be trusted are trapped by their own greed.

Proverbs chapter 28 (TEV)

11 Rich people always think they are wise, but a poor person who has insight into character knows better.

In Luke's Gospel, the Bible says:

Luke chapter 19 (TEV)

1 Jesus went on into Jericho and was passing through. 2 There was a chief tax collector there named Zacchaeus, who was rich. 3 He was trying to see who Jesus was, but he was a little man and could not see Jesus because of the crowd. 4 So he ran ahead of the crowd and climbed a sycamore tree to see Jesus, who was going to pass that way.

5 When Jesus came to that place, he looked up and said to Zacchaeus, "Hurry down, Zacchaeus, because I must stay in your house today." 6 Zacchaeus hurried down and welcomed him with great joy.

7 All the people who saw it started grumbling, "This man has gone as a guest to the home of a sinner!"

8 Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, "Listen, sir! I will give half my belongings to the poor, and if I have cheated anyone, I will pay back four times as much."

9 Jesus said to him, "Salvation has come to this house today, for this man, also, is a descendant of Abraham. 10 The Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost."

Luke chapter 7 (TEV)

29 ... the people ... and especially the tax collectors were the ones who had obeyed God's righteous demands and had been baptized by John. 30 But the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law rejected God's purpose for themselves and refused to be baptized by John.

Luke chapter 5 (TEV)

27 Jesus went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting in his office. Jesus said to him, "Follow me." 28 Levi got up, left everything, and followed him. 29 Then Levi had a big feast in his house for Jesus, and among the guests was a large number of tax collectors and other people. 30 Some Pharisees and some teachers of the Law who belonged to their group complained to Jesus' disciples. "Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and other outcasts?" they asked. 31 Jesus answered them, "People who are well do not need a doctor, but only those who are sick. 32 I have not come to call respectable people to repent, but outcasts."

Luke chapter 18 (TEV)

9 Jesus ... told this parable to people who were sure of their own goodness and despised everybody else.

10 "Once there were two men who went up to the Temple to pray: one was a Pharisee, the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood apart by himself and prayed, "I thank you, God, that I am not greedy, dishonest, or an adulterer, like everybody else. I thank you that I am not like that tax collector over there. 12 I fast two days a week, and I give you one tenth of all my income.'

13 But the tax collector stood at a distance and would not even raise his face to heaven, but beat on his breast and said, "God, have pity on me, a sinner!'

14 I tell you," said Jesus, "the tax collector, and not the Pharisee, was in the right with God when he went home. For those who make themselves great will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be made great."

Later in the New Testament, the Bible says:

Philippians chapter 2 (TEV)

3 Don't do anything from selfish ambition or from a cheap desire to boast, but be humble toward one another, always considering others better than yourselves. 4 And look out for one another's interests, not just for your own. 5 The attitude you should have is the one that Christ Jesus had: 6 He always had the nature of God, but he did not think that .. he should try to remain equal with God. 7 Instead of this, of his own free will he gave up all he had, and took the nature of a servant. He became like a human being and appeared in human likeness. 8 He was humble and walked the path of obedience all the way to death- his death on the cross. 9 For this reason God raised him to the highest place above and gave him the name that is greater than any other name. 10 And so, in honor of the name of Jesus all beings in heaven, on earth, and in the world below will fall on their knees, 11 and all will openly proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

In the Book of Proverbs, the Bible says:

Proverbs chapter 18 (TEV)

10 The Lord is like a strong tower, where the righteous can go and be safe.

11 Rich people, however, imagine that their wealth protects them like high, strong walls around a city.

12 No one is respected unless he is humble; arrogant people are on the way to ruin.

In Luke's Gospel in the New Testament, the Bible says:

Luke chapter 12 (TEV)

13 A man in the crowd said to Jesus, "Teacher, tell my brother to divide with me the property our father left us."

14 Jesus answered him, "Friend, who gave me the right to judge or to divide the property between you two?"

15 And he went on to say to them all, "Watch out and guard yourselves from every kind of greed; because your true life is not made up of the things you own, no matter how rich you may be."

16 Then Jesus told them this parable: "There was once a rich man who had land which bore good crops. 17 He began to think to himself, "I don't have a place to keep all my crops. What can I do? 18 This is what I will do,' he told himself; "I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, where I will store the grain and all my other goods. 19 Then I will say to myself, Lucky man! You have all the good things you need for many years. Take life easy, eat, drink, and enjoy yourself!' 20 But God said to him, "You fool! This very night you will have to give up your life; then who will get all these things you have kept for yourself?' "

21 And Jesus concluded, "This is how it is with those who pile up riches for themselves but are not rich in God's sight."

In the Book of Proverbs, the Bible says:

Proverbs chapter 11 (TEV)

4 Riches will do you no good on the day you face death, but honesty can save your life.

Proverbs chapter 19 (TEV)

22 It is a disgrace to be greedy; poor people are better off than liars.

In Luke's Gospel, the Bible says that Jesus said:

Luke chapter 16 (NLT)

9 I tell you, use your worldly resources to benefit others and make friends. In this way, your generosity stores up a reward for you in heaven.

10 "Unless you are faithful in small matters, you won't be faithful in large ones.
If you cheat even a little, you won't be honest with greater responsibilities.
11 And if you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches of heaven?
12 And if you are not faithful with other people's money, why should you be trusted with money of your own?

13 "No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money."

Luke chapter 16 (TEV)

14 When the Pharisees heard all this, they made fun of Jesus, because they loved money.

15 Jesus said to them, "You are the ones who make yourselves look right in other people's sight, but God knows your hearts. For the things that are considered of great value by people are worth nothing in God's sight.

The Old Testament prophet Isaiah said:

Isaiah chapter 40 (NLT)

6 A voice said, "Shout!"

I asked, "What should I shout?"

"Shout that people are like the grass that dies away. Their beauty fades as quickly as the beauty of flowers in a field. 7 The grass withers, and the flowers fade beneath the breath of the LORD. And so it is with people. 8 The grass withers, and the flowers fade, but the word of our God stands forever."

In the Letter of James in the New Testament, the Bible says:

James chapter 1 (TEV)

9 Those Christians who are poor must be glad when God lifts them up, 10 and the rich Christians must be glad when God brings them down. For the rich will pass away like the flower of a wild plant. 11 The sun rises with its blazing heat and burns the plant; its flower falls off, and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way the rich will be destroyed while they go about their business.

James Chapter 4 (TEV)

13 Now listen to me, you that say, "Today or tomorrow we will travel to a certain city, where we will stay a year and go into business and make a lot of money." 14 You don't even know what your life tomorrow will be! You are like a puff of smoke, which appears for a moment and then disappears. 15 What you should say is this: "If the Lord is willing, we will live and do this or that." 16 But now you are proud, and you boast; all such boasting is wrong.

17 So then, if we do not do the good we know we should do, we are guilty of sin.

In one of his letters which is in the New Testament, the apostle Paul wrote:

Galatians chapter 6 (NLT)

14 As for me, God forbid that I should boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of that cross, my interest in this world died long ago, and the world's interest in me is also long dead. 15 What counts is whether we really have been changed into new and different people.

In the First Letter of John in the New Testament, the Bible says:

1 John chapter 5 (NLT)

21 Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God's place in your hearts.

In Matthew's Gospel, the Bible says:

Matthew chapter 13 (NIV)

1 Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. 2 Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. 3 Then he told them many things in parables, saying:

"A farmer went out to sow his seed.
4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up.
5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root.
7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants.
8 Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop--a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.

9 He who has ears, let him hear."

10 The disciples came to him and asked, "Why do you speak to the people in parables?"

11 He replied, "The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them.

Matthew chapter 13 (NLT)

18 "Now here is the explanation of the story I told about the farmer sowing grain:
19 The seed that fell on the hard path represents those who hear the Good News about the Kingdom and don't understand it. Then the evil one comes and snatches the seed away from their hearts.
20 The rocky soil represents those who hear the message and receive it with joy. 21 But like young plants in such soil, their roots don't go very deep. At first they get along fine, but they wilt as soon as they have problems or are persecuted because they believe the word.
22 The thorny ground represents those who hear and accept the Good News, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the cares of this life and the lure of wealth, so no crop is produced.
23 The good soil represents the hearts of those who truly accept God's message and produce a huge harvest - thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted."

In the New Testament, the Bible says to Christians:

1 Peter chapter 5 (NLT)

5 All of you, serve each other in humility, for "God sets himself against the proud, but he shows favor to the humble." 6 So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and in his good time he will honor you. 7 Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about what happens to you.

Hebrews chapter 13 (TEV)

5 Stay away from the love of money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, "I will never fail you. I will never forsake you."

The main Bible pages on this site:

Bible Bible Part 1: Bible Quotations, The Holy Spirit, People And Their Stories
Bible Part 2: The Lives and Suffering of the Ancient Israelites
Bible Part 3: The Bible, Articles About Alleged Inaccuracies in it, And Stories of People who Became Christians.
Or go directly to the next in the series:Laziness, And Selfishness With Riches.

The selections of Bible quotations have been put together by Diana Holbourn.

Throughout this series, wherever the initials TEV appear, they stand for Today's English Version (The Good News Bible).

Other initials:

Warning Against Believing Everything you Hear or Read

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The Beauty of the New Testament's Moral Teaching and Other Important Pages on this Website

Are you up to trying the challenges of the New Testament's moral guidelines, and would you like to know more of what it says about the love of Jesus? Here are some links to Bible quotes about the beautiful ideals the New Testament encourages Christians to try to live up to:

There are a lot of pages on this website with quotations from the Old Testament on them. Many of these are unfortunately rather gruesome, since the main theme of the Old Testament is warnings and stories about how it says societies were punished for mass lawless and hurtful behaviour, even to the extent of having war brought on them by God, that seem to have been designed to scare societies where crime and violence were rampant into behaving more ethically. In case there is any misunderstanding, it should be understood that this website does not endorse war as anything other than a last resort. The position of the website owner can be gleaned from the articles:

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