11 Principles about Money from Proverbs - History’s Premier Wisdom Book

By Nick Brzozowski

The Proverbs are rich with wisdom about all sorts of areas of life, from work to relationships to spirituality. One of the common themes that this wisdom book addresses is finances.


This ancient text is giving lessons that some of the sharpest economic and entrepreneurial experts give today!


Feel free to skim the headings for the actual principles. But, if you want to truly become a wiser person when it comes to dealing with money, then you will want to slowly read and reread each verse. The Proverbs are written in such a way that you will grow by seeking to understand them.


Sometimes, simply coming to an understanding of what the proverb is saying (or not saying) can be the best path to discovering and owning the truth being revealed.


As someone who grew up poor, these words give me hope that I have the power to change my circumstances.


The Proverbs are written in such a way that you will grow by seeking to understand them.

3 Ways You Should Make Money


1. Work hard.


Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth.

Proverbs 10:4


A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest— and poverty will come on you like a thief and scarcity like an armed man.

Proverbs 24:33-34


All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.

Proverbs 14:23

This might be the most American of all the principles. Working hard and building a life of opportunity is American Dream.


Notice how practical the wording is here. What is your reason for stopping yourself from hitting that snooze once more, showing up at work on time every day, and bringing your best throughout the day? It isn’t that hard work honors God (even though it does). It isn’t that it is good for the soul (even though it is). With all the reasons the writer could have drawn on to motivate us, he chooses one very simple reason.


There is simply no way around getting out of poverty without working hard. Yes, some of the hardest working folks on the planet make minimum wage. Hard work may not always guarantee wealth, but it is one of the prerequisites.


Even in Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad Poor Dad, where he swings an ax at the traditional view that going to college and getting a good job is the answer, he doesn’t say that wealth can come from without hard work. In fact, he implies that wealthy people know how to work hard by learning about finances. His rich dad told him never to say “I can’t afford it,” because that was the lazy way to think.



2. Pay attention to your investments.


Be sure you know the condition of your flocks, give careful attention to your herds; for riches do not endure forever, and a crown is not secure for all generations.

Proverbs 27:23-24


I have yet to meet a financial advisor who isn’t always thinking about investments — especially the stocks or realty. There is a gift that is hard-wired into society and it's called compound interest.

Notice that this proverb assumes that the reader has ownership in some equity (flocks and herds). The writer takes it one more level by saying that you must pay attention to their condition.


3. Stick to the plan.


“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


“Dishonest money dwindles away, but whoever gathers money little by little makes it grow.”

Proverbs 13:11


Just last week, I was listening to someone sharing about how he has built a business from rental properties. One of his biggest words of advise was to pick a strategy and stick to it.

But, so many times, we are tempted to switch to the next plan or the newer idea. And that can actually be the reason we don’t accumulate wealth!

Imagine the huge, complex colonies that ants make by simply picking up one piece of dirt and moving it.

There was an episode in The Office, where the normal office workers had to do the job of the warehouse. They thought they were smarter and could devise a more efficient way of moving boxes. By the end of the episode, plenty of boxes were damaged by sliding them on the floor, but very few actually made it into the trucks.


The lesson is one that can save us a lot of heartache. Slow growth is a good thing. Stick with the plan.


But, so many times, we are tempted to switch to the next plan or the newer idea. And that can actually be the reason we don’t accumulate wealth!

5 Ways You Shouldn't Make Money


1. Don’t chase fantasies.

Those who work their land will have abundant food, but those who chase fantasies have no sense.

Proverbs 12:11


Get rich quick schemes are not new. Here, the writer calls them fantasies.


Notice what this isn’t saying. The proverb doesn’t say not to be innovative. Finding new ways to solve problems and serve people better is a good thing.


Fantasies opposed to innovations are different. Fantasies have no groundings. There is no basis that a fantasy is going to work. Some of the most radical ideas that have worked still had substance.

2. Stealing costs more than you can afford.


Such are the paths of all who go after ill-gotten gain; it takes away the life of those who get it.

Proverbs 1:19


Just like the proverbs on working hard, the motive is for self-interest. Why should you work hard? So, that you won’t slip into poverty. Why should you avoid “ill-gotten gain?” Because stealing money will steal life from you.


Of course, there are other reasons not to steal or exploit. But, the book of Proverbs is concerned with wisdom. So, the reason the writer chooses is that it is a dumb thing to do.


I tend to hear an implied “how much more” argument. We already know that ill-gotten gain hurts people and is wrong in and of itself. But, how much more do you have the reason to avoid it when it won’t even benefit you in the end. Maybe, today, the author would have written: "If you don't even win by stealing, then you would have to be an idiot to do it!"


If you don't even win by stealing, then you would have to be an idiot to do it!

3. Don’t take advantage of the poor.


Do not exploit the poor because they are poor and do not crush the needy in court, for the Lord will take up their case and will exact life for life.

Proverbs 11:26


Do not exploit the poor because they are poor and do not crush the needy in court, for the Lord will take up their case and will exact life for life.

Proverbs 22:22-23

God is just. He will reverse circumstances, right wrongs, elevate the oppressed and judge the oppressors. This is a reason to be filled with hope in a world where you can find great longstanding gaps.


But, this is also a word of warning. You may get short wins at the expense of others, but your day will come.


4. Bribery and oppression are bad long term plans.


One who oppresses the poor to increase his wealth and one who gives gifts to the rich—both come to poverty.

Proverbs 22:16


This is a great proverb to sit on. I don’t actually know the full logic of it. In which way will the oppressors and those who give bribes come to poverty? Is this talking about a consequence in the afterlife? Or are there systemic reasons why these activities don’t work out in the world?


5. Debt is dumb.


The rich rule over the poor, And the borrower is slave to the lender.

Proverbs 22:7


One who has no sense shakes hands in pledge and puts up security for a neighbor.

Proverbs 17:18


Do not be one who shakes hands in pledge or puts up security for debts; if you lack the means to pay, your very bed will be snatched from under you.

Proverbs 22:26-27


Anyone familiar with Dave Ramsey has heard the expression that “debt is dumb.” If you are looking to get out of debt and need a good push, look him up and you will get all the inspiration you need!


Now, I have heard people argue for good debt. Good debt at good interest could end up being great investments. But, for so many people, debt is a shortcut that bites us in the end and at best, simply makes us pay more for being impatient.


Let’s do ourselves a favor and be cautious when it comes to debt, whether our own or co-signing for someone else’s loan.


Let’s do ourselves a favor and be cautious when it comes to debt.

3 Words About What to do When You Have Money


1. You are a steward of your resources.


Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act.

Proverbs 3:27


You could imagine every dollar you have in you