Biblical foundations for a stable economy
Small Group Studies on a subject that the Bible has a great deal to tell us about by Rev. Philip Lyes
FOCUS BIBLE STUDIES
Why do Bible Studies on Economics?
Economics is the study of how human society allocates resources. Economic Studies cover the big picture of how economic systems work in nations and across the world, as well as the relationship with the financial decisions of individuals. Economics is global and personal, and everything in-between. Every day, every individual is both influenced by, and influences, the economic systems that we are part of.
For Christians, our faith in Jesus Christ impacts on every part of our life, including the economic and financial decisions that we make. God created humanity and God is vitally interested in the way human society operates; including the way human beings allocate resources.
In very many ways Christians appear to operate within our economy, make personal financial decisions, and relate to material things, with little obvious differences to the non-Christians around us. That suggests that, either, the economic system, priorities and values in our society are already closely aligned to God’s will for human society, or that Christians are so immersed in the economic system that we live in that we do not seriously question or challenge it. Perhaps there is some truth in both those possibilities; Christian influence over hundreds of years has made a mark on economic values (even if that may be waning); yet it can also be difficult, even as Christians, to see past what we know and to imagine a lifestyle and value system that is different to what we live in.
So, what does our faith say about economics? What did Jesus teach and model about economics? How does God want people to live with material resources? Does the Bible tell us anything about this?
A read through the Bible reveals about 750 passages that have relevance to economic matters. Considering that there are 1189 chapters in the Bible, this means that there are not many pages of Scripture that do not contain something to inform the economic side of life. This should not surprise us; the Bible is a practical, life-related book. The question becomes not whether the Bible can inform economics, but how do we process the enormous amount that the Bible has to say on this subject? This is a daunting task; but it is perhaps one of the most important challenges for Christians in a time when economics shapes so much of life.
The 10 studies in this series invite you to open your minds and hearts to that challenge.
About the Author: Philip Lyes
Philip is a New Zealander who studied Economics and Accountancy and worked as an accountant for a few years, before studying theology and entering ordained ministry. He has been in parish ministry for 35 years serving as vicar in a variety of parishes, from rural multi-centre to large urban. He is currently vicar of the parish of Golden Bay – a beautiful area in the north-western tip of the South Island of New Zealand. He is married to Lynda and they have four adult sons and two grandchildren.
In 2019 Philip spent a period of sabbatical in the UK, focussing on the care of creation, completing two modules of the CRES course in that time.
This series of Bible Studies, initially prepared in 2010 and revised in 2020, come out of a passion for relating biblical faith to the whole of life. These studies are free to use for personal or ministry purposes, but not for sale or profit. Philip would welcome hearing from anyone who makes use of these studies. He can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Read the Introduction to Studies on Biblical Economics first as it gives useful information about how to get the best out of the studies
Download each of the studies as a separate PDF file below:
Study #1 Ownership Taking hold or letting go?
Study #2 Wealth Creation The need for more, or more than we need?
Study #3 Care For The Needy The value of compassion
Study #4 Consumerism & Sustainability Buy, buy, or bye, bye?
Study #5 Worship & Justice God’s non-negotiables
Study #6 Work Labour of love or necessary evil?
Study #7 Generosity The Biblical take on giving
Study #8 Debt A subject full of interest
Study #9 Leadership Economics by example
Study #10 Jubilee God’s economic blueprint
Rev. Philip Lyes
© Philip Lyes 2010, 2020
These studies may be freely copied for personal or local church use, but not for resale.