5 Bible Verses John Wesley Used For His Money Decisions

by Joe Plemon on February 25, 2013

John Wesley (June 28, 1703 – March 2, 1791) was a Church of England cleric and Christian theologian who, along with his brother Charles, is largely credited with founding the Methodist movement. He was also a man who taught – and lived – some financial principles which continue to challenge us today.

Wesley was — and is — known for these three principles:

  1. Gain all you can.
  2. Save all you can.
  3. Give all you can.

He practiced the “give all you can” principle with a passion, setting and maintaining the same standard of living throughout his entire life and giving away everything above that threshold. Even when Wesley earned many times more than that modest standard, he continued steadfastly living on that income and giving the rest away.

His philosophy, therefore, was, “What should rise is not the Christian’s standard of living but the standard of giving.

What were these Bible verses that Wesley used for his money decisions?

1. “But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” 1 Timothy 5:8

Wesley insisted that believers should make sure the family has the necessities and conveniences of life, that is, “a sufficiency of plain, wholesome food to eat, and clean raiment to put on” as well as a place to live. The believer must also insure that the family has enough to live on if something were to happen to the breadwinner.

2. “But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.” 1 Timothy 6:8

Wesley adds that the word translated raiment is literally coverings and thus includes lodging as well as clothes. “It plainly follows whatever is more than these is, in the sense of the apostle, riches – whatever is above the plain necessities, or at most, conveniences, of life. Whoever has sufficient food to eat, and raiment to put on, with a place to lay his head, and something over, is rich.”

3. “Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all.” Romans 12:17

Wesley insists that the proper handling of money will demonstrate honor, even if others have behaved dishonorably.

4. “Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.” Romans 13:8

Wesley, as many financial advisors today, challenged his followers to avoid debt. He adds that those who are in business for themselves need to have adequate tools, stock, or capital for the carrying on of the business.

5. “So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” Galatians 6:10

After the Christian has provided for the family, the creditors, and the business, the next obligation is to use any money that is left to meet the needs of others.

There you go. Five principles which can be summarized as:

  • Take care of your family.
  • Be content with what you have.
  • Always deal honorably, even with those who are unscrupulous.
  • Avoid debt.
  • Look for opportunities to be a blessing to others.

As we would expect from timeless scripture, these principles are as relevant today as they were in Wesley’s day.

Readers: In what ways have these encouraging bible verses challenged you? What other scriptures on finance are important to you?

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Alston Balkcom April 29, 2011 at 5:15 am

I agree with saving and giving. If saving and giving are done properly there is one less thing to worry about, since gaining will happen by itself. Great post.

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joeplemon April 29, 2011 at 1:04 pm

Alston,

I am not sure that gaining will happen by itself (one does have to generate income), but I agree that saving and giving are two huge dimensions of personal finance that many totally ignore.

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Derrik Hubbard, CFP April 29, 2011 at 1:38 pm

Thanks, Joe.

Some important bible verses for me in the area of financial stewardship are:

“In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil, but a foolish man devours all he has” Proverbs 21:20.
SPEND LESS THAN YOU EARN

“The rich rule over the poor and the borrow is servant to the lender” Proverbs 22:7.
AVOID THE USE OF DEBT

“Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander,
no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest” Proverbs 6:6-8.
BUILD RESERVES

“I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” Philippians 3:14.
SET LONG TERM GOALS

Derrik Hubbard
http://www.yourfinancialpurpose.com/blog

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Everyday Tips April 29, 2011 at 8:33 pm

Those principles are indeed timeless.

I don’t really struggle too much with any of the verses. I think we will be facing some family challenges soon as my mother in law is severely disabled and my mom is on her own since my dad passed. I think both sides are going to need a lot more money and time in the not too distant future. That’s ok though.

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optionsdude April 30, 2011 at 7:55 pm

I have had the biggest struggle with debt. I am working on getting rid of the debt of past mistakes but it can be difficult to dig out of the hole.

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joeplemon May 1, 2011 at 2:20 pm

@Derrik,
Great verses which challenge us with some great principles. Thanks for sharing them!

@Everyday,
Sounds indeed like you have some challenging times ahead. I pray for wisdom for you, your husband and other siblings who may be involved in parental care. When you said, “that’s OK though”, I am guessing that you have a plan.

@optionsdude,
Keep digging. You can and will make it. Then those past mistakes will be distant memories, but not so distant as to prevent you from ever making them again.

@Jay,
Yes, Wesley was an amazing man. I got most of my reference material from this post: http://saintluther.blogspot.com/2007/05/about-money-john-wesley.html

My original interest in Wesley and money, however, came from reading ”
Radical” by David Platt.

I hope this helps.

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loswl May 5, 2011 at 10:28 am

Excellent pointers from the Word of God, the wisdom that John Wesley had is relevant for anyone especially the people of God.

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offshore banking May 7, 2011 at 11:23 am

.After a brief .absence 1727 – 29 to help his father at Epworth John returned to Oxford to .discover that his brother Charles had founded a Holy Club composed of young men .interested in spiritual growth. Although Wesley confessed that he did .not at that time understand justification by faith seeking instead .justification by his own works-righteousness it was during this period that he .formulated his views on Christian perfection the hallmark of Methodism. At that point Wesleys true genius .surfaced through his ability to organize new converts into Methodist societies .and bands which sustained both them and the revival.

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Invest It Wisely May 10, 2011 at 3:45 pm

Good tips to follow, and I especially like #3. Sometimes some people justify immoral behavior by saying “well, everyone else does it so if I don’t I’m a sucker.” Well, once upon a time a lot of people had humans as slaves, but that doesn’t mean it was right…

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joeplemon May 10, 2011 at 4:42 pm

@Jay,
Yes…a great book. Our Sunday School class is about to study it as a group. Can’t wait!

@loswl,
Truth is timeless and has no time restraints.

@offshore,
Thanks for filling in some great historical tidbits that help us better understand Wesley.

@Invest it Wisely,
Thanks for stopping by! Sorry I haven’t been to your site recently, but I am sure you are still writing great and challenging content! Your comment here is absolutely valid. Wrong is always wrong no matter how you try to justify it.

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Masini May 11, 2011 at 9:22 am

I know that I might seem like a bad guy, but first I want to be sure that I can live a decent life before starting to help my family.

Of course, if they would desperately need my help and they wouldn’t have food on their tables, I would help them. But if they are okay, I would first want me to succeed and create a decent living.

Also, giving more then you have… I don’t understand how this works, but I am pretty sure that there are people out there that have millions of dollars and don’t help anyone but me, which I have a couple of bucks in my wallet should share my money and give my wallet too? I understand, giving a part of your taxes to charity, donate the clothes and other stuff that are good but you don’t need anymore to others, but giving them all? I wouldn’t want to get in a situation when I don’t have anything to give, because I am pretty sure there won’t be to many that will give back.

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Argentum August 13, 2012 at 6:59 am

I believe that the idea of providing for your family also means taking note of the seven good years and the seven lean years. It is not enough to provide shelter, food and clothes now, you must also save for the lean years.

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Ryan April 30, 2013 at 5:30 pm

Awesome share -thanks! Praise the Lord!!!! Gratitude is super important too, and trust; “he will supply all your needs according to his riches in glory!” “:)

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