Is it a sin to be rich?

Over the past 15 years, a New Jersey businessman has anonymously given away more than $600 million to universities, medical centers, and other beneficiaries. When a legal complication forced him to reveal his identity, he explained his generosity by saying, “Nobody can wear … More


Paul gives instructions to rich Christians. Notice in verse 17 what temptations the rich are warned about. He makes it clear that Christianity is not opposed to those who are already rich but it is very important what their attitude is toward their riches and how they use them. He warns them about having a wrong attitude toward others and toward their wealth. Paul gives a special charge for Timothy to give to the rich. We may not think that this charge applies to us, but it does.

1. Be Humble (v. 17a). We are not owners; we are stewards. If we have wealth, it is by the goodness of God and not because of any special merits of our own. The possessing of material wealth ought to humble a person and cause him to glorify God, not himself.

2. Trust God, Not Wealth (v. 17b). Riches are uncertain, not only in their value (which changes constantly), but also in their durability. Thieves can steal, investments can drop, and  time can ruin our possessions. If God gives us wealth, we should trust Him, and not the gifts.

3. Enjoy What God Gives You (v. 17c). It is not sinful to enjoy the pleasures of this life. It is simply enjoying all that God gives us and giving Him all the praise for all His goodness.

4. Employ What God Gives You (vv. 18-19). Richescan lure a person into a world of shallow pleasure. But riches plus God’s will can introduce a person to a ministry that is lasting.

5. Guard What God has Placed in Your Care (vv. 20-21). It is an awesome responsibility!


In comparison to what the rich people in Bible times had, I have even more. Kings did not enjoy many of our modern conveniences we have today. Abraham lived in a tent and was considered rich. How could I better share what I have with others. Perhaps I could share a meal, give clothing, visit some elderly folks, or welcome a new family in the community.    

I Timothy 6:17-21 (English Standard Version)

As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life. O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called "knowledge," for by professing it some have swerved from the faith. Grace be with you.

View this passage in NIV (Bible Gateway) »