The Bible Talks More About Money Than Hell

Over the past several years as a Christian I have heard many sermons. I have started to notice a trend, teachers often cite the “fact” that the Bible talks more about “money” than hell (or whatever else). I am sure you have heard the same or similar statements, if not, you probably will in the future. Usually there is a number associated with this bit of trivia – somewhere around 2,000 times. The point the teacher is usually trying to make is that God thinks money is a very important issue and it is usually tied to a sermon about tithing.

Anyways, on my way into the office this morning I got to thinking about this and thought to myself – I have read the Bible, it’s not that big of a book and I do not remember it being filled with over 2,000 discussions on money (or finances, etc.). I wonder where they got this number and what the number actually represents.

I was hoping to be able to type in a few keywords into Google and find a site that listed all of 2,000 verse that discuss money – I was shocked to find none. Instead, I found more sermon related notes with the same similar quotes. I did, however, find this site, which claims there are “roughly 2,350 verses concerning money.” It goes on to say that this number is “twice as many as faith and prayer combined” and that “fifteen percent of everything Jesus said related to money and possessions.” Bingo – “He spoke about money and possessions more than heaven and hell combined.”

Of course this still does not help me – as I said earlier, I have read the Bible and even in just the New Testament I did not find Jesus speaking more about money than any other topic. To be perfectly honest I do not really recall Jesus speaking more about any topic – well perhaps the Kingdom of Heaven or Him being the Messiah (in round about ways).

As I read the previous website I noticed the bottom, they have provided us with a list of topics concerning money and then verses that support those topics. I quickly realized that this number of 2,350 is exaggerated and over-inflated. They actually have a topic called “Funding the Great Commission” and list two of the parables concerning the Kingdom of Heaven (the Parable of the Mustard Seed and the Parable of the Leaven). They also have a topic called “Tithing” which lists the Parable of New Wine in Old Wineskins.

Well, I am pretty sure that neither the Bible nor Jesus talked about money half as much as some teachers claim they do. What do you all think?

Next time your teacher tells you this, ask them for the evidence – if they have any, send it my way.

God Bless,
Lew A

P.S. Jesus never said “Go therefore and fund the making of disciples of all the nations…” – check out this blog for more things Jesus never said.

Comments

  1. Alan Knox says:

    Lew,

    I think you may be on to something here. It is true that Jesus talks about money and possessions often. However, I don’t think he talks about these because they are important to him. He uses money and possessions in order to speak to people in ways that they understand. Was Jesus interested in money and possessions? No, he was interested in people. He spoke of money and possessions because the people could understand the connection to their life.

    -Alan

  2. Heather says:

    Visiting from Alan’s blog … :)

    Great points made here … reminds me of “God will never give you more than you can handle” — show me where it says that in the Bible, yet people say it everyday, even from pulpits.

    We (and I am including myself) need more understanding of God and His Word.

    Blessings!!

  3. Heather,

    Sorry for the late reply – I must have forgot my manners from all of the holiday travel. Thank you for the comment. It is funny that you brought up that “verse” – it was brought up in one of our Sunday morning meetings a few weeks ago. As you probably know, it comes from 1 Corinthians 10:13 – “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.”

    Obviously people (including us and those who put themselves in a leadership position) need to put down the “popular” sayings and pick up the Bible.

    I hope you had a Merry Christmas and have a God-filled New Year.

    Lew

  4. Howard Dayton, founder of Crown Financial Ministries, is the one who, together with a friend of his, found and recorded the 2,350 verses that refer to money and possessions. I have a copy of the list. It is well organized and a thorough study on the subject. You may be able to obtain a copy of the document by contacting Crown Financial Ministries at http://www.crown.org.

  5. Alan,

    Been a few years since you wrote this, but was refreshing to read. I am a pastor and will be speaking on money this Sunday morning. I have heard the “Jesus spoke more on…” my entire life. Countless times.

    I appreciate your level-headedness. Refreshing.

    Johnny Bragg
    Johnson City, TN

  6. Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Johnny. I assume that your comment was meant for me ;).

    God Speed,
    Lew

  7. I just found the document for the 2350 verses on Money if anyone is interested.

    http://www.crowncanada.ca/index.cfm?i=11829&mid=17&g=27334

  8. Thanks Erin,

    Everyone, here is a link to the actual PDF – http://mediadownload.advancedministry.com/c3project/2350%20verses%2Epdf

    After looking it over for a few minutes, I feel like my suspicions were correct. They do use some verses that mention money in passing, some that are specifically about “money” as an analogy of something else, and some that aren’t about money at all (but they’re applying it to money). Such as: Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.
    Proverbs 22:6

    Going through this PDF is kind of laughable. How can they use this to maintain their claim?

    God Speed,
    Lew

  9. I don’t know, I just reviewed the list myself that was provided by Lew (thank you, sir) & I found it very interesting that their were just 4 verses that spoke about children& finances. Is it because, this is where most of us learn our money management habits (instruction &/or modeling), maybe it’s because as a parent, the Lord is stating that I am responsible for instructing my children on how to manage finances & that’s tough to do if I was a bad manager (which hardly ever works, I find most children see right through the; do as I say, not as I do. Kinda like the argument of, I’ll drop my children off @ church so that they can be disciplined but, I’m not going to go…), just my observation. Lew, thanks again for this link, very informative.

    Because He is Good,

    Ed

  10. Thank you for the honest and challenging thoughts, Lew. I wholeheartedly agree with your message, that pastors need to preach responsibly.

    As a secondary observation, it’s been my experience that people who speak in defense of “optional tithing” are not themselves ten-percent tithers. It rather makes me wonder if maybe the Holy Spirit gives scriptural insight based, in part, on our acts of faith, such as tithing and Sabbath observance. Your thought?

    A fellow pilgrim.

  11. Hi Greg,

    I believe your observations are partly true. I know people who were both 10% tithers and Sunday-Sabbath observers who came to the conclusions through studying scripture that neither of these things are requirements for followers of Christ. Some do not tithe/observe at all, some are more generous with their money but do not put it in a plate on Sunday mornings, and some continue to give 10% to a traditional church.

    Godspeed.
    Lew

  12. The claim about speaking of money more than hell is plausible. The New American Standard version uses the word “hell” only 13 times. While the King James uses it 54, many of these are a rendering of the word, “hades,” which does not carry the exact same meaning and does not fit many of the contexts in which it is used. I believe that discussions of money probably appear more than this, though it is impossible to quickly count the number of times the word “money” appears and equate this with discussions on money. Many instances are just stories containing the word and not discussions of principles concerning money. The real point is the use of resources and the treatment of those without them. Counting the number of times something is mentioned carries only so much weight. It is true, however, that God is sincere about how we manage our resources. The use of the money/hell stat, while possibly true though, is a club that skirts the true issue.

  13. Michael Butler says:
    • Hey Michael, Did you read the examples he gives? Half of theme don’t even mention money. What does “You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain.” have to do with debt? What does “Be diligent to know the state of your flocks, and attend to your herds.” have to do with budgeting? Seven of the eight verses under the “Family” section of the about money page don’t talk about money at all. I suspect he found most of the actual verses that discuss money or good stewardship (in some way) and put them on this page then he threw in a few extras that don’t have anything to do with money and then said there where “more than 800″ just for kicks.

      • Hi lew, I believe that in order to understand what the bible says about money we have to understand what money represents to us today (power)and them look at their correspondents in the Bible. Today we as a society tend to value money sometimes even higher than human life. For example today people have pension plans and retirement schemes while in Bible times the best way to guarantee a safe aging was having lots of kids. So when Abraham was asked to sacrifice Isac or to send Ismael way we was also been asked to risk not only relationships but also much capital.

  14. I think what it is, is that they’ve included gold and silver in the count. considering that gold and silver were considered money those days.

  15. Dwight McCormick says:

    Hello,

    I have heard 700 as the number. Jesus spoke about the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Heaven I believe more than any other topic. The Bible itself (possibly only the New Testament) mentions money or finances or wealth over 700 times. Evidence? Read the gospels and Acts.

    Regardless of the number of times it is mentioned money is a spiritual matter that I believe was important to Jesus because it is directly related to the Kingdom of God. He doesn’t talk about getting rich in the name of Jesus. He speaks about how the values of Caesar’s/Rome’s Empire are different than the values of the Kingdom of God.

    In the Kingdom of God there will be abundance enough to feed all people and fill all needs for love, Grace, right relationships, etc. The value system of Caesar is in part “might (as in strength) makes right” and “the one with the most gold makes the rules.” Capitalism is a reflection of Caesar’s Kingdom. God’s Kingdom operates differently and as Christians we’re called to help work for economic justice and equality. We’re called to be good caregivers of the wealth that has been entrusted to our care, and we’re called to work against the exploitation of the poor, the neglected, the stranger, the orphan, and the widow (the most vulnerable of the day at Jesus’ time).

    Working toward a reality (that isn’t yet reality) where there is more than enough for everyone is part of the Christian’s discipline and part of helping to usher in the Kingdom of God. It is the already and the not yet. Already we’re asked to view our finances as a spiritual matter, but we will not yet have this utopian vision of the new heaven and new earth until Christ returns. This is at least in part because we (at least in the United States) Christians like to have wealth and possessions as much as anyone else. It is woven into the fabric of our being and our culture raises financial wealth up as a central measure of success and value as a person.

    This is reverse of the value of the person in God’s eyes from my perspective of the nature of God.

    This response has gotten cumbersome-I’m a preacher and wordy as can be. I can stand to budget my words better =-).

    All of that to say that it isn’t an either/or thing. Either focus on money or spirituality. Either focus on heaven or hell or finances. They are interconnected. Encountering Christ for our salvation in my opinion requires us to reassess how we use our money. How we spend is a reflection of our faith in God.

    That’s my two cents worth. See what I did there? Two cents? Get it? OK bye.

    Dwight

  16. Hi comrades, issues of money management and the word of God are very interesting especially among believers in Christ. Yesterday I read a book on stewardship and guess what is in the introduction! The author used the exact figure, 2350 times to be number the Bible mentions about money and futher argues that this figure is about twice the number the bible mentions about faith and prayer combined. Further argues that it is greater that the number the bible mentions about heaven and hell. I was trying to understand more on this today and found myself here reading varying opinions of this issue. Indeed some verses counted are not as direct as we would expect. However, the point is we have realise that all that we are and all that we own was given to us by God himself who sustains all life. He has a right to claim from us what is rightfully His. It is your duty as a believer to support your ministers and ministry even through the resources in your custody as a steward of God’s property. The count may not matter as much as the lesson i need to get from all what was spoken either in passing or direct. There is always a temptation to think that we attain all we have by our strength and mighty or good planning and strategy thereby ruling out the power of God’s gracious providence, that we may be conduits of blessings to others and valuable tools in supporting His work.

    Heavenly peace upon you reader.

  17. Well I think it’s more like, 2350 things people found in the bible that they associate with money.
    Others could found things associated with art, morality, science, sex, food, prayer, from the bible, doesn’t make the bible specialize in all of those things….
    Thank you for the post, a valuable point of view indeed.

  18. Sorry I mean: specialize in one of those things only…

  19. Alan Chester says:

    Dear Lew,

    I am a Messianic Jewish believer in Yeshua, if you really read the Bible as a child, you would realize that the most important subject that Jesus spoke about in the 4 gospels, more than heaven, hell or love, was MONEY. Why, look at Deut. 6:4-6, in the original Hebrew in the Tenach, the Jewish Bible as it is in Greek in the New Covenant (or Testament) the real wording is this, HEAR O ISRAEL THE LORD OUR GOD THE LORD IS ONE AND THOU SHALT LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL AND WITH ALL YOUR MIGHT AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH AND WITH ALL YOUR RESOURCES (MONEY) and in Leviticus 19:16-18. Please re-read the 4 gospels and I can guarantee you all the $ in the world that you will find that Jesus spoke about $, tithes and offerings, and why $ is important, not that God needs any of our $ but it teaches us the most important value in our life’s, and what is that, accountantability and obedience, and obedience to what HE commands us to do, as JESUS said, and explained what the 2 greatest commandments are, would be valuable than any burnt offerings or sacrifices. Remember the entire LAW is summed up in 2 commandments….correct? Forget google, read the Bible yourself as a child, and you will see what I see and billions of others, Jesus spoke $ more than other subject in the scriptures…

    • Hey Alan, I wholeheartedly disagree with you. Jesus does not speak more about money than any other subject. So, when can I expect “all the money in the world” that you’ve guaranteed me?

      Does Jesus speak of money? Yes! Yet, you did not quote a single verse that mentions money in your comment. I welcome you to do a comparative study of all the subjects Jesus spoke about.

  20. It seriously make me sad when pastors or churches talk bout money..the only thing or should i say person they should be talking is JESUS,JESUS,JESUS..and he will supply the churches every need,,dnt look to money to remove your burden or stress that lies upon your shoulders,thats what satan wants……look to jesus,rest on him(his shoulder,strength) and his finish work…pray about your concerns and then thank him over and over again cuz he will provide your every need;-)do not b of this world cuz my jesus is not of this world..,money is of this world and the kingdom of god does not revolve around money..money should not have any value in your life or spirit..if it does then there something with the way your believing..all my jesus wants is you,all of your heart,an intimate relationship with you and everything else will b fullfilled..sry jus couldnt stop typing..lol

    • Stephen says:

      Jose,

      I agree with you that our proclamation should be Jesus, and our message should be the cross. That is our main focus, but that also encompasses everything. The church should teach the entirety of God’s Word. If the Bible teaches about marriage, we are to teach about marriage. If the Bible teaches about temptation, we are to teach about temptation. If the Bible teaches about money, possessions, and stewardship (which includes a whole lot more than money), than we should teach that. So it actually makes me sad when pastors refuse to talk about a subject that God talks about, and it makes me angry when pastors talk about something that God never does. We need to preach the entire Word of God in light of the cross and Jesus Christ the risen Lord.

      BTW, God provides through the obedience, faith, and willingness of His people. When God’s people become disobedient, greedy and prideful…well just read the Bible for that answer.

  21. Hi there! I know this is kind of an old discussion, but I came across it researching a sermon on tithing. Your blog was at the top of my hit list! I found your comments to be very interesting and certainly challenging to the old saw that you examine: “Jesus spoke on money more than anything else.” If you are interested in firing up this discussion again, I did a search in accordance with these terms in the gospels (NASB) only: money wealth denari* coin silver gold rich* rich talen* mammon tith*

    It came up with 80 verses and 97 hits. In all likelihood, many of these hits are referring to the same discussions recorded “synoptically.”

    Searching for these terms rendered 21 hits on 20 verses: hell hades tormen* destruction

    Some of the uses for Torment and Destruction were used in a verbal sense and not as a euphemism for final destination.

    In fairness, this is only a quick survey. There were more search terms in the one case, and perhaps a larger set of search terms for Hell, Hades, and its euphemisms would lead to a larger number of hits. Yet this very preliminary data gathering would suggest that our hypothesis that the use of money is a more frequent topic of discussion than final destination.

    To really do this right I would have go through the verses and weed out duplications between the gospels of the same discussions. I am sure more search terms could be applied. But its difficult for me to believe that adding search terms for Hell/Hades would close the gap in number of references.

    • Hi Mike,

      I think the issue is that most of the verses that mention money, are not talking about money. Jesus was not a financial adviser. If I said, “Traffic was terrible on my way to work this morning.” I am not talking about work, I’m talking about traffic… but I used the word work in the sentence. And even in cases where Jesus (or the scriptures) are using money as the object of the discussion, I think in many of them they are being used as a way to teach about broader things.

  22. I believe you’re fairly new to my blog. So, let’s just say that I fully support completely closing down all the “churches”. The monetary waste that goes into Water, Power, Toiletries, Office Supply, Non-Profit Status, Salaries, Landscaping, etc. is astounding. These things are used mostly by Christians and not for true evangelical purposes. Church buildings are a HUGE waste of “kingdom” resources to maintain a, frankly, unbiblical structure.

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