Posted by: John Adams | January 22, 2008

The Gospel and Prosperity

Does the Gospel make man prosperous?

While I was in Haiti, I heard a visiting preacher answer that question in the affirmative. “If you will apply the principles found in this book,” he said, gesturing to the Bible, “you will prosper.” I don’t believe he meant that in any greedy, prosperity-gospel sort of way. Still, it set my mind to wondering whether or not what he said was true.

Does the Gospel word come not only to release us from the power of sin and death but also to break the chains of impoverishment? Some teachers would reply, “Yes,” directing you to a favorite passage of theirs. “Beloved,” prayed the beloved disciple in 3 John 2, “I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.”

Fair enough. But does all things include my checkbook? Is financial success an outcome of the inworking of the Gospel?

The Apostle Paul seems to be somewhat aloof on the matter: “I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:11-12) Another passage finds him adjuring Timothy to be content with food and clothing, avoiding the snare of desiring wealth. (1 Tim. 6:8)

While the point of such passages is clear, I still find myself wondering whether Christians can be content and avoid envy, and yet still expect the Gospel to affect their pocketbooks. If redemption is the process of putting all parts of a good creation back into good working order, and poverty is a result of the world’s brokenness, wouldn’t redemption seem to have some bearing upon financial matters?

And how do the words of Jesus to one rich young ruler apply to us today?

Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”

Think on these things.



  1. β€œI pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.”

    May I say, that when I didn’t have enough money to pay for dinner, school, etc… I prospered financially. My lack of wealth was what made me prosperous. I gained much more and learned much more in poverty than I would’ve had I been wealthy.

    We only ask questions like this and think about things like this because the church has perverted the word “prosperity”. I think we’re asking the wrong questions and focusing on the wrong things.

    I personally think the “prosperity gospel” is a bunch of lies and deceiving (no matter how good the intentions are). But whether or not God wants to bless us financially is irrelevant. There are much more pressing issues to attend to, and our job is simply — to be obedient.

  2. I agree. The gospel isn’t meant to be a get rich quick scheme. God has called some people to wealth and some to poverty. It’s all about living the life that God has called you to. True prosperity is having that rich deep relationship with Christ where you are walking with Him daily.

  3. I think we are all rich & poor in different aspects of our lives. All born with different plans set for our lives. I think God gives us all different gifts and talents and expects us to cultivate them, whether or not that involves wealth is up to Him. You can be physically wealthy and bankrupt in every other area of your life. The very point of breathing everyday is to please Him, maybe the rich young ruler wouldn’t be able to fully focus on Jesus with his wealth.

    Anyways, I’m babbling.

    …You’re such a good writer. I think you should drop starbucks and become a 24/7 blogger. πŸ™‚ haha.


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