Q. Does the Bible have anything to say about economics? I don’t find the word “economy” in my Bible.
A. The Bible has a lot to say about economics, only that you won’t find that word in modern translations. The English word “economy” comes from the Greek word “oikonomia“, oikos means house, while nomos means law. Together it means the rules governing a household, which is translated “stewardship” in contemporary versions. Aside from its usage in narratives, passages bringing out the underlying meaning include:
1. A steward does not own the property, his master does. He is simply put in charge to look after whatever the master entrusted to him for the master’s benefit:
• Lk 12:42 And the Lord said, “Who then is the faithful and sensible steward, whom his master will put in charge of his servants, to give them their rations at the proper time?
• 1 Co 9:17 For if I do this voluntarily, I have a reward; but if against my will, I have a stewardship entrusted to me.
Therefore a Christian should not seek physical assets for himself first and forget his responsibility before God.
2. Ultimately the stewardship is from God and centered on His grace:
• Eph 3:2 if indeed you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace which was given to me for you;
• Col 1:25 Of this church I was made a minister according to the stewardship from God bestowed on me for your benefit, so that I might fully carry out the preaching of the word of God,
• 1 Pet 4:10 As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
That’s where our priorities should be:
• Mt 6:33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
• Col 3:2 Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.
3. The prerequisites for God’s stewards or servants, in particular elders and overseers, consist of:
• 1 Co 4:1-2 Let a man regard us in this manner, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. In this case, moreover, it is required of stewards that one be found trustworthy.
• Tit 1:7 For the overseer must be above reproach as God’s steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain, (See Tit 1:6-9, 1 Tim 3:2-7)
The requirements are not that you have to be smart, which the world looks for, but loyal, reliable and have integrity.
Volumes have been written on biblical principles of economics. I will list only a few key principles due to limitations of space and time.
(To be continued)