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Prosperity in the Bible: God’s Plan for Abundance and Blessings

Prosperity is a topic that has been widely discussed and debated among Christians throughout history. 

Some argue that the Bible teaches that God wants His people to be prosperous, while others believe that the pursuit of wealth and material possessions is contrary to the teachings of Scripture. 

When we examine the scriptures we will find a balanced and accurate understanding of God’s plan for abundance and blessings in the lives of His people.

Defining Prosperity

Before diving into the scriptures, let’s define what we mean by prosperity. 

Prosperity refers to a state of flourishing, thriving, and success. 

It includes various aspects of life, including material wealth, physical health, emotional well-being, and spiritual growth. 

In the context of the Bible, prosperity often refers to the blessings and abundance that God gives to His people as they walk in obedience to His commands and trust in His promises.

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Prosperity in The Old Testament

The Abrahamic Covenant

The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.  “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you;I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse, and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.

~Genesis 12:1-3~

The concept of prosperity is deeply rooted in the Old Testament, beginning with God’s covenant with Abraham. 

In Genesis 12:1-3, God promises to bless Abraham and make him into a great nation, with numerous descendants and material wealth. 

This covenant is reaffirmed in Genesis 15 and 17, where God further promises to give Abraham and his descendants the land of Canaan as an everlasting possession.

The Abrahamic covenant establishes a foundational principle for understanding prosperity in the Bible.  

God’s blessings and abundance are directly tied to His covenant promises and the obedience of His people. 

As Abraham and his descendants walked in faith and obedience, they experienced the blessings and prosperity that God had promised.

The Mosaic Covenant

The Lord will grant you abundant prosperity in the fruit of your womb, the young of your livestock and the crops of your ground in the land he swore to your ancestors to give you. The Lord will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands. You will lend to many nations but will borrow from none.

~Deuteronomy 28:11~

The Mosaic covenant, established between God and the nation of Israel at Mount Sinai, further develops the theme of prosperity.

In Deuteronomy 28, God outlines the blessings that will come upon Israel if they obey His commands and the curses that will follow if they disobey. 

The blessings include abundant harvests, victory over enemies, and material wealth (Deuteronomy 28:1-14). 

The curses involve famine, disease, and poverty (Deuteronomy 28:15-68).

This passage highlights the conditional nature of prosperity in the Old Testament. 

God’s blessings and abundance were contingent upon Israel’s obedience to His commands. 

When they followed His laws, they experienced prosperity; when they turned away from Him, they faced hardship and suffering.

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Wisdom Literature In the Old Testament

Within Wisdom Literature, the books of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes, offers further insights into the nature of prosperity. 

Proverbs frequently link wisdom and righteousness with material wealth and success.

  • Proverbs 3:13-18 – Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her. Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her; those who hold her fast will be blessed.
  • Proverbs 8:18-21With me are riches and honor, enduring wealth and prosperity. My fruit is better than fine gold; what I yield surpasses choice silver. I walk in the way of righteousness, along the paths of justice, bestowing a rich inheritance on those who love me and making their treasuries full.
  • Proverbs 10:22The blessing of the Lord brings wealth, without painful toil for it.

However, it also warns against the dangers of pursuing wealth at the expense of one’s spiritual well-being.  

  • Proverbs 11:28 – Those who trust in their riches will fall, but the righteous will thrive like a green leaf.
  • Proverbs 23:4-5Do not wear yourself out to get rich; do not trust your own cleverness. Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle.

Ecclesiastes, on the other hand, presents a different view of prosperity. 

King Solomon, reflects on his own experiences of wealth and success, ultimately concluding that they are meaningless apart from a right relationship with God.

  • Ecclesiastes 2:22-25 – What do people get for all the toil and anxious striving with which they labor under the sun? All their days their work is grief and pain; even at night their minds do not rest. This too is meaningless. A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment?
  • Ecclesiastes 5:10-20 – Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income. This too is meaningless. As goods increase, so do those who consume them. And what benefit are they to the owners except to feast their eyes on them?

This perspective serves as a reminder that true prosperity is not found in material possessions alone but in a life lived in submission to God’s will and purposes.

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Prosperity In The New Testament

The Teachings of Jesus

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus challenges the conventional wisdom of His day, teaching that true blessings are not through material wealth but through spiritual qualities such as humility, righteousness, and mercy (Matthew 5:3-12). 

He also warns against the dangers of wealth, urging His followers to store up treasures in heaven rather than on earth and cautioning that it is difficult for the rich to enter the kingdom of God.

  • Matthew 6:19-21 – Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also
  • Matthew 19:23-24 – Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

At the same time, Jesus speaks of the abundant life that He offers to those who follow Him. God will provide for all of our needs, and  we can trust in His abundance and generosity.

  • Philippians 4:19 – “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” 

This abundance is not primarily material in nature but includes the fullness of life that comes through a relationship with Christ, including peace, joy, and spiritual growth.

The Teachings of the Apostles

The Apostles taught that prosperity can be summarized in one word: contentment. 

They believed that true prosperity came from being content with what we have, rather than constantly striving for more wealth and material possessions. 

God would provide for their needs, and that they should focus on serving Him rather than accumulating wealth. 

In fact, the Bible warns against the love of money and the pursuit of wealth, stating that it is the root of all kinds of evil.

The Apostles also taught that Christians should be generous with their resources, using their wealth to help those in need. 

They believed that God blesses those who give generously, and that giving is a way to show gratitude for the blessings He has given. 

The early Christian community was known for their generosity and willingness to share with one another, even to the point of selling their possessions and giving the proceeds to those in need. 

This selfless attitude towards wealth and possessions was a hallmark of the early Church, and remains an important aspect of Christian teachings on prosperity today.

The Problem With Prosperity

The bottom line is that our prosperity comes from God; He decides who gets what.  

God wants us to be grateful and content with what He has provided for us. And not look to worldly things in order to be happy.  

The world pursues wealth with a greedy mindset.  Greed is where we fall into the trap of the love of money. 

The love of money causes us to become covetous of other people’s wealth.  

We may pursue wealth doing things contrary to living a righteous life, in order to keep up with the Jones’. 

When we are covetous of others then we are not trusting God for where we are in life.  

This is the problem with prosperity! The problem is not about having wealth.

The problem is how we act trying to get it or how we act when we have it.  

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Bible Verses about Prosperity

  • Matthew 6:33 – “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
  • 1 Timothy 6:17 – “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.” 
  • 2 Corinthians 9:6 – “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.”
  • Matthew 6:21 – “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” 

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