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What does the Bible say about money?
April 6, 2021
DALLAS – April 6, 2021 – In a pandemic year the traditional “Tax Day” of April 15 is being pushed off until May 17. Regardless of the exact day, this is the time of year many people turn thoughts toward taxes – paying them or perhaps railing against them. But what does the Bible say about taxes . . . and those who collect them?
“The Bible is very clear on the subject not only of taxes but on tax collectors,” said Jim Denison – co-founder of Denison Forum, pastor, author and digital-ministry leader. “Christians should pay them and use the opportunity to start transforming conversations.”
First, the Bible verses that ensure Christians will be paying taxes on tax day:
The Jewish religious leaders in Jesus’ day tried to trap him on this very subject – should we pay taxes. They knew if Jesus said, “Yes,” the Jews would think of him as betraying his people. If he said, “No,” it was a “gotcha” moment that would bring the Romans down on him.
Jesus asked for a coin with which the tax would be paid and asked these Pharisees whose image was on it. They replied, “Caesar’s,” to which he replied: “Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Matthew 21).
In other words, it’s OK to pay your taxes.
It’s worth asking, why were the tax collectors so disliked? In that day, a tax collector, with full backing of Roman soldiers, collected a stated amount per head for the empire. Above and beyond that, they could tax whatever they wanted and keep it.
Tax collectors grew rich . . . and reviled. They could not even belong to a synagogue. While it may not be exactly the same today, for a great many people the letters “IRS” can be met with very angry reactions.
What does the Bible say about that? Jesus had interactions with many, many tax collectors. One, Zacchaeus, was particularly hated, yet Jesus went to his home for dinner. Another, Matthew, became one of the 12 apostles. In every case, Jesus used the opportunity for positive interactions with them.
It has everything to do with how we see money.
On that subject, Crown Financial CEO Chuck Bentley related an interaction with a journalist writing a story on different religions’ take on money. He asked what was unique in the Bible’s teaching about it.
“That it is not ours,” Bentley replied. “God owns everything, and we are temporary stewards of anything he entrusts to us.”
The interviewer said the biblical view was different from every other interview he conducted.
“It’s natural for us to divide our financial loyalties between what we owe in taxes and what we can keep for ourselves,” Denison said. “But for a Christian, the Bible makes it clear everything we have is from God anyway. Our money included. The charge to us is to seek how we can do the most good with what we have been given in this world and in the world to come.”
Denison and the Denison Forum reach 2.1 million people around the globe with The Daily Article, delivered by email and social media; The Daily Article podcast; and numerous books. He speaks and writes on cultural and contemporary issues where faith and current events intersect.
Denison holds doctoral and master’s degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and has pastored five churches across 36 years with a combined membership of more than 20,000. He is the co-founder and Chief Vision Officer of the Denison Forum. He also serves as Resident Scholar for Ethics with Baylor Scott & White Health and as Senior Fellow for Cultural Studies with Dallas Baptist University.
For interviews, contact: Michael Conrad, Michael@130a.com 214-616-0320
About The Denison Forum
The Denison Forum exists to thoughtfully engage the issues of the day from a biblical perspective. Through The Daily Article and podcast, which globally reach 2.1 million people monthly with subscribers in 226 countries. Dr. Jim Denison guides readers to discern today’s news – biblically.