There are many quotes from the bible, and teachings from the Pope and other Christian figureheads that one could use to justify positive as well as negative attitudes to way in which a Christian would treat and value money and onto other such as the impoverished. The Bible is a very important book for Christians, and is divided into two sections. In the Old Testament, there are not very many teachings on wealth and poverty.
Leviticus 25:35-6 says that ‘if one of your brethren becomes poor… you shall help him like a stranger.. nd take no usury and interest from him. ‘ This verse illustrated to Christians that they should help the poor because they are brothers of them. They should not exploit those in such a bad position and take advantage of those in poverty. Therefore a Christian will be against issues such as third world debt and sweatshops. Solomon also said some very wise words concerning poverty. Proverbs 14:31 reads, ‘he oppresses the poor reproaches his maker, but he who honours him has mercy on the needy.
This teaches Christians to treat the poor fairly because if they did not, it is like treating God unfairly. It is similar to the teaching in Leviticus. Proverbs 21:13 says that ‘whoever shuts his ears to the cry of the poor will cry himself also and not be heard. ‘ Again this re-iterates that Christians should empathise with people who are poor and it also warns them that if they ignore the trouble of the poor and refuse to act it may come back to affect Christians in some way. In the New Testament, Jesus’ teaching forms the basis of many teaching about the poor.
In Matthew 14:15-21 we are told of the feeding of the 5000, where a boy’s lunch fed over 5000 people and they still had leftovers. This teaches Christians that they should be prepared to give; if it is only a little it can still go a long way. The parable of the lady with two coins in Luke 21:1-4 also illustrates that it is better that Christians give all they have but better still to give with a clear and unselfish conscience. This encourages Christians not to give sparingly and to give wholeheartedly.
In Matthew 19:16-24, Jesus firstly tells a man ‘to sell all you have and come follow me. This warns Christians that faith should come first in all situations and they should not get carried away in attaining lots of personal wealth, so much that they get completely distracted from their faith. Jesus, later says that ‘it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than a rich man into heaven. ‘ If a Christian is rich or well off they should make sure that money is not at the top of their priorities. Other verses that support this are Matthew 6:24 where Jesus tell Christians they ‘cannot serve both God and Money.
Another verse is ‘store your treasures in heaven… where moths or rust does not destroy…. For where your heart is you treasure will be also,’ Matthew 6:19-21. Jesus tells Christian to keep their eyes and thoughts and efforts on things in heaven as things on Earth can easily be destroyed however treasures from God can never be taken. A Christian would not find it a necessity to chase after wealth and would try to be happy with whatever they given. Later in the New Testament, there also passages to teach Christians how to behave when it comes to dealing with wealth and poverty.
Timothy 6:6-10 says that ‘the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. ‘ Like previous passages it remind Christians that with money comes a responsibility and when Christians don’t manage or act responsibly with their money it can lead to all kinds of sin. James 1:27 says that ‘pure religion before God…. is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble. ‘ James teaches that part of developing faith further is to help the needy. Christian must always be concerned for the poor in order to improve faith.
The Pope, an important spiritual leader for Catholics, has made a canon law saying “The Christian faithful are also obliged to promote social justice and, mindful of the precept of the Lord, to assist the poor from their own resources. ” Therefore many Catholics will try to help the poor because it is an obligation. In conclusion, the Bible does not say that it is wrong for Christians to be rich and attain wealth, they just need to make sure they have their priorities right- that is God comes first. When it comes to poverty a Christian will try to alleviate suffering as much possible, helping the less fortunate is part of being a Christian.