Issue Of Money According to Bible
Despite thinking that all questions are answered, and faith is something that can just be figured out over the years, John R. Schneider’s book, “The Good of Affluence: Seeking God in a Culture of Wealth,” allows for the thought that things will not always be figured out because new information is always being discovered. This statement applies to both life and spirituality. New information about Jesus and his disciples is still being discovered to this day, which is causing a change in the way certain aspects of the Bible are interpreted. Schneider’s book allowed for the introduction of many new ideas about Jesus as well as reassuring ideas that I was already familiar with and then ideas that I had come to my own conclusion of disagreeing with. Schneider introduced the notion of many topics that I had personally never thought about before and had never been introduced or proposed to me. One thing that stuck out, in particular, was the idea that, “Jesus was often viewed as revolutionary and dangerous”. I had always viewed Jesus as someone who could do no wrong, who everyone loved except the those who openly declared the despise he or she felt toward him. However, after reading I realize that I was blinded by all of the good that Jesus had done and never took into consideration the constant havoc and threat that He posed on the ruling powers and constantly provoking them.
Another idea of Jesus that was proposed by the book that Jesus “did not only identify with the poor but with people of other economic classes as well”. Yes, Jesus was considered to be viewed as economically and socially poor, but there are various aspects of His life that identified with the economically rich as well. While the book introduced the idea of many new ideas, it also confirmed and strengthened some of the ideas about Jesus and the teachings that I had already been familiar with. Something that I often want to do is take what is written in the Bible literally and while there are parts that are intended to be taken literally, there is also a majority that is not supposed to be taken at face value. So, with that being said, I am constantly needing to remind myself that there are parts that are not intended to be taken literally. One of the things that has a literal value, but deeper meaning as well are the terms rich and poor. When the terms are used in the Bible, they occasionally are referring to money and economic class, but are often used when referring to spirituality and whether a person is living their life devoted to the Lord. Schneider states, “Poor seems to have been multi-layered” and “The ones who were ‘full now’ and already ‘had their reward’ were considered to be rich”. Both of these quotes suggest that both the terms “poor” and “rich” have a much deeper meaning than they appear to have.
Another idea that I was familiar with is “the idea that constantly enjoying and indulging oneself in wealth is securing spiritual death and turmoil, but it is not saying to give up all material possessions and have no regard to money”. Growing up in today’s society, it is often taught that money is an important part of our daily life and is essential to living a full and successful life; however, the Bible has a very different view on the issue. The thought that in order for one to be spiritually alive and well means that one cannot enjoy wealth or material things, is not true because it is not a matter of how much one has but how willing one is to give it all up. As part of my faith and spiritual maturing and growing, I was never taught that I needed to have a lack of money to excel in my relationship with God, but I had to be willing to give it all up if that was what I was called to do. There was a lot of information within the book that made me realize how much I knew and how much there is still to learn, but with that being said I have already learned a lot so I have begun to form my own opinions and thoughts about the Bible.
One thing in particular that I disagreed with Schneider about is the interpretation of wealth and material objects. Schneider states, “Their way of being materially affluent was, in fact, a denial of true delight in the kingdom of God”. It is not the fact of being materially affluent that makes people be in denial of God and his kingdom, it is the greed that some of the people who are materially affluent often possess.
There is always a lot to learn about the Bible and interpreting it. Reading books such as Schneider’s allows for me to grow in my faith by both learning about new aspects that I had never thought about before, strengthening my existing beliefs and as well as challenging some of the thoughts that I had already had. Schneider’s book allowed me to not only grow on my faith but also gave me a bit of insight into the logic and reasoning about some of the existing ideas as well as challenging and disproving common thoughts.
- 1. Schneider, John R. The Good of Affluence: Seeking God in a Culture of Wealth. W.B.Eerdmans, 2002.
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