Wealth; Wealthy

welth, wel ́thi (הון, hōn, חיל, ḥayil, נכסים, nekhāṣīm; εὐπορία, euporía, “to possess riches,” “to be in a position of ease” (Jeremiah 49:31)): The possession of wealth is not regarded as sinful, but, on the contrary, was looked upon as a sign of the blessing of God (Ecclesiastes 5:19; 6:2). The doctrine of “blessed are the poor, and cursed are the rich” finds no countenance in the Scriptures, for Luke 6:20, 24 refers to concrete conditions (disciples and persecutors; note the “ye”). God is the maker of rich and poor alike (Proverbs 22:2). But while it is not sinful to be rich it is very dangerous, and certainly perilous to one’s salvation (Matthew 19:23). Of this fact the rich young ruler is a striking example (Luke 18:22-23). It is because of the danger of losing the soul through the possession of wealth that so many exhortations are found in the Scriptures aimed especially at those who have an abundance of this world’s goods (1 Timothy 6:17; James 1:10-11; 5:1, etc.). Certain parables are especially worthy of note in this same connection, e.g. the Rich Fool (Luke 12:16-21), the Rich Man and Lazarus—if such can be called a parable—(Luke 16:19-31). That it is not impossible for men of wealth to be saved, however, is apparent from the narratives, in the Gospels, of such rich men as Nicodemus, and Joseph of Arimathea (John 19:38-39; Matthew 27:57-60), and Zaccheus (Luke 19:1-10). It may fairly be inferred from the Gospel records that James and John, who were disciples of our Lord, were men of considerable means (Mark 1:19-20; John 19:27).

Wealth may be the result of industry (Proverbs 10:4), or the result of the special blessing of God (2 Chronicles 1:11-12). We are warned to be careful lest at any time we should say “My power and the might of my hand hath gotten me this wealth. But thou shalt remember Yahweh thy God, for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth” (Deuteronomy 8:17-18).

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Author: International Std. Bible Encyclopedia

Keywords: Wealth, Wealthy, Riches, Rich, Mammon

Bible reference(s): 1 Timothy 3:3, 1 Timothy 6:17, 2 Chronicles 1:11, Deuteronomy 8:17, Ecclesiastes 5:19, Ecclesiastes 6:2, James 1:10, James 2:6, Luke 12:16, Luke 16:19, Luke 18:22, Luke 6:20, Matthew 19:23, Matthew 27:57, Proverbs 10:4, Proverbs 18:11, Proverbs 22:2, Proverbs 28:11, Titus 1:7

Source: James Orr (editor), The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, 5 volume set.

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